Adding shelves to some of your most used storage spaces will transform your life. This is not an exaggeration.
This is a tip in three parts. First up, your clothes closet.
It’s a shame that the default clothes closet comes with a single bar for hanging clothes and a single shelf above that. That top shelf is too high for me to use without a step stool and I have more clothes that should be folded than hung. It’s a much better use of space if your clothes closet also contains a vertical column of shelves for all of your folded clothes – jeans, sweaters, more sweaters, etc.
For a quick and cheap solution (good for rentals) try a set of hanging shelves, which attach to that single high bar in your closet. This has been my solution for the past several years. Another good option is a tall, skinny set of shelves. A single Billy bookcase or a skinny Expedit (hurry before they disappear from your Ikea!) might work, depending on the size of your closet. Try these vertical or horizontal – if you’re okay with having your clothes close to the ground.
Another option is to install some shelves. There are (obviously) expensive solutions, custom designed closets and whatnot, but I’ve also seen some more affordable options at home improvement stores – Closet Maid is one such an example. Here and here are some examples.
Our kitchen is small. (I mean, our apartment is small, so of course the kitchen is small). We also have a large number of mugs (they are all necessary, I swear) and a second set of “fancy” plates. How do I fit all of these into the one and a half cabinets we have for dishes? Additional wire shelves. Bam. Doubled the shelf space in no time. Even if our kitchen wasn’t limited in space, I find kitchen shelves to be much higher than is necessary. The wire shelves are inexpensive and come in a couple of different colors and sizes. I bought mine at Target and The Container Store.
Medicine cabinets are small. Period. First of all, do yourself a favor and store only your most important items in here – tools and products used daily or weekly. Anything used less frequently should not earn a spot in this cabinet. Under the sink (in a bin, of course) or in the linen closet is a better place for those occasional items. Secondly, help your self out by picking up a couple of tiny shelves for the medicine cabinet. I have a number of short items that I wanted to store in the medicine cabinet. These acrylic shelves (from the Container Store) create additional surface area for these types of items. Now everything has its place in the cabinet and things don’t look overly crowded in there, either.