Every year, around this time, people all over the world resolve to do something better. Get in shape. Save more money. Spend more time with family. Organize the home. In our house, it is all of the above. While we try to get and stay organized every year, it seems to be getting harder and harder as our kids get older and acquire more things. We are at that magical sweet spot in time: Our daughter has outgrown many of her baby things, but we cannot get rid of them because our son will use them soon.

Space is limited in our house, so we have to create storage wherever we can. Our closets, garage and underthebed spaces are maxed out. Now is the time to add even more storage. The good news is that it does not have to be so obvious, even if the storage is out in the open. Consider some of these tricks for creating secret storage:

Tilt it out


You have probably seen false drawer fronts converted to tilt out underneath sinks in the kitchen or bathroom vanities. Apply this same strategy to tilt out other home essentials as well, like hampers, trash bins and baskets in the garage. Use them to store big, odd-shaped items like stuffed animals, beach toys and sports equipment.

Hang artwork

Several manufacturers offer hidden storage that lies behind paintings or frames that you can fill with your own choice of photos. Simply open up the artwork to reveal the storage inside. These can tuck into open spaces in the wall for more depth, similar to a safe, or they can lie on top of the wall for shallower storage reminiscent of a medicine cabinet.

Stick ‘em up

Magnetic tape can work wonders inside cabinet doors. Apply a strip to the inside of the doors, and then cut and stick smaller strips to things like spice jars to keep them up and out of the way. Keep it neat and uniform by transferring your spices to identical jars and labeling them appropriately.

Add baskets


Built-ins are wonderful, but simply placing several items on a shelf does not always equal organization. Not all items stack neatly, and it takes effort to put things away nicely every time. Baskets allow you to easily toss items in and tuck them away when you’re done. However, sometimes the price of baskets can add up. If you want to save some money and go for a quick fix instead, consider using plastic bins and covering them up with a room divider. The bins will keep things in place, and the room divider will keep them hidden.

Use what you have

Store seasonal items inside suitcases, and switch them out when needed. If your suitcases are stylish, stack them and create a makeshift nightstand that pulls double duty by providing storage inside.

Go down under

While most of us already use the space under the bed for storage, a friend of mine taught me to use the space under the mattress as well. Fold extra linens into neat, wide stacks. Then, tuck them under the mattress at the foot of the bed.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefi xisinhawaii@gmail.com.