Easy Storage Solutions From HGTV's Unsellable Houses

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Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" are masters at flipping tight, crowded, unusable spaces into practical and functioning rooms. In their show, they go from house to house, solving various problems that make the houses difficult to sell. And while things like dated kitchens and bathrooms are always a mark against a seller, so is a house with limited storage space. People love to have expansive closets and plenty of cabinets for all of their belongings, but what happens if you just don't have the square footage? Luckily, Lamb and Davis have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves and are able to carve out more storage time and time again. They do so by utilizing clever storage tricks that don't require much, if any, renovation.

If you're facing the same issues, you can get plenty of tips from the sisters. For instance, if you're struggling with organizing all of your shoes, Lamb loves using a vertical shoe spinner to capture numerous shoes without taking up an entire wall in a closet. Or, if having enough space in your kitchen cabinets is the issue, the sisters recommend moving your bulky pots and pans onto a pot rack to free up those units. They have all sorts of ingenious tips you can implement, all without breaking the bank or having to hire a construction crew. Below are some of their best ideas.

Use a rotating shoe storage unit

Shoes can take up a lot of space in a closet, but it's important to have them well organized. If you don't have a good storage system, they can quickly end up in a cluttered pile on your floor if you're not careful. Luckily, Lyndsay Lamb has a compact solution you can utilize: a rotating unit. During a home tour on HGTV, Lamb took fans into her wardrobe and showed where she stored her shoe collection. "My shoe spinner," she said while pointing to a floor to ceiling shelving unit that spun to reveal more compartments. "Just so I can keep all my shoes up and I know where everything is." The front of the spinner had a large mirror, but as you turned it, shelving was revealed on all sides. 

A rotating shelf can come in handy no matter your situation, whether you have a small closet or an expansive shoe collection. Lamb's shoe storage system can help you make the most of your closet, but how can you recreate it in your own home? Well, you have two options. The first is to hire a closet professional to custom make one to fit the exact dimensions of your space. For example, Lamb included another shoe spinner in a custom-made closet on "Rock the Block," and used Closet Creations INC. to make it. However, if that's out of your budget at the moment, you can invest in a prefabricated one, such as the Rotating Shoe Rack Tower on Amazon.

Install a pot rack to free up space in kitchen cupboards

Do you have limited cabinet space in your kitchen? If you're struggling to find enough room to house everything from your dishware to your groceries, create more room by storing your bulkiest pieces elsewhere. Pots and pans can take up multiple cupboards, so you can free that space by storing them out in the open in your kitchen. For instance, you can turn them into a decorative statement by hanging them on pot racks. "These are LIFEsavers. Get those pans out of the unorganized stack in your cupboards and hanging above your center island," Lyndsay Lamb shares on her blog, Lamb & Co. "This frees up a lot of your cupboard and cabinet space for other goods."

Since pot racks can get very heavy, you will need to install them directly into ceiling joists to ensure they stay up. You can find these joists using a stud finder. There is also an art to where they should hang. It's best to secure them over an island, sink, or an empty kitchen wall near a prep area. You want to avoid putting them directly over the stove or oven, as this will eventually coat them in a sticky layer of grease. As for how low they should be hung, you want the bottom of the rack to be about 42 inches from the top of the counter. This gives you enough clearance for your head.

Create more storage with dish drawers

Just like how pots and pans can take up a lot of space in cupboards, so can dishes. Free up space in your upper cabinets  — which can be better utilized for things you would need to see at eye level, such as groceries — and instead allocate them to lower cabinet drawers. There are all sorts of kitchen cabinet organizers that will make storage a breeze, but Lyndsay Lamb recommends one in particular. "Make great use of your base drawers and add pegs around surrounding your dishes. This makes for easier lifting and frees up more space in your cabinets," she explained on her blog. This will most likely mean you have to buy a sliding drawer insert, but you want to pay special attention to its weight limit before buying. "Make sure to use sturdy slides that will hold up to 250 pounds. The weight of all those dishes can add up quick," Lamb warned.

You can easily buy peg systems from places like Amazon. For example, you can get an organizer that can be cut down to your drawer's size on Amazon for $54. It comes with 48 pegs, allowing you to play around with the layout configuration as you see fit. If you prefer a more heavy-duty system, you can invest a little more and buy a higher-quality organizer from a specialty store like Rev-A-Shelf. It uses thicker pieces of plywood as the base, ensuring the pegs don't fall out as easily. 

Add dividers to make the most of your drawer storage

Drawers can easily become messy, making it difficult to locate exactly what you're looking for. But you can corral the mayhem by utilizing dividers to create a designated spot for each item. "There are so many great customizable pieces you can add to your drawers to organize silverware, baking tools, and any other kitchen gadgets you may have," Lyndsay Lamb shared on her blog. This will help you make more sense out of your drawers since things will always be where you last left them. And this organizational trick isn't just for the kitchen; you can also extend it to your bedroom dresser drawers, bathroom vanity drawers, and office desk drawers. 

To recreate this tip at home, invest in customizable dividers. In the kitchen, this can look like a tray insert with expandable sides. This allows you to make the tray bigger or smaller, filling up the exact dimensions of your drawer. An example of this is the Expandable Bamboo Kitchen Drawer Organizer on Amazon for under $25. For deeper drawers, like those in dressers or closets, consider getting retractable dividers that help separate your clothes. These can be expanded or contracted depending on how deep your drawer is, allowing you to custom-fit it for your particular unit. Check out the Vtopmart Drawer Dividers, which cost $30 on Amazon. For your desk, utilize a desk drawer tray to capture small odds-and-ends, like the Amazon Basics Desk Drawer Organizer for $13.

Use a blanket ladder to organize your blankets

Almost everyone has heard of using an aesthetic ladder to display their collection of blankets. It's a much neater way to store textiles than having them messily strewn across the couch. However, Lyndsay Lamb has some pointers on how to better utilize this tip so it doesn't begin to look messy. "I think one of the biggest problems people face with their current blanket ladder is they are using it to hold every blanket they own rather than using it to enhance the space with colors, patterns, and textures," Lamb explained in a blog post. "If the ladder is too full it can make the space feel disorganized and cluttered. A good rule of thumb is to have half as many blankets on the ladder as it has rungs." That means if your ladder has six rungs, display only three blankets. This will create enough breathing room.

There are a ton of different ways to style a blanket ladder. To make it appear tidier, consider folding the ends of the blankets behind the rungs rather than in front of them. This will give them a more "tucked" appearance, making it appear less messy. You also want to be picky about which blankets you display. Choose ones that best fit your room's color scheme and aesthetic, and try to coordinate them. For example, if you have a lot of fleece ones, swap some out for a thicker knit or fur texture. This will help break it up visually. 

Use aesthetic bins to display items out in the open

If you don't have enough cabinet space to store all of your staples, stop fighting against the situation and instead embrace it. One way to do that is to store the items that can't fit out in the open. But to make it feel more like decor and less like clutter, Lyndsay Lamb recommends storing those items in aesthetic containers.  "Use bins, baskets, and canisters to store small things like cue tips [sic], soaps, brushes, and more. Some may even make great displays," she shared in a blog post. "I store all my essential oils on an open tray on a shelf in my bathroom, they look cute on display and are easily accessible for me!" You can turn your organization issue into an opportunity to create eye-catching vignettes in places like your bathroom counter, open shelving, or bedroom dressers. (This is also how Joanna Gaines dresses up her bathroom storage!)

To recreate this look in your own home, source attractive containers that best fit your surplus items. For example, if you have too much skincare, select your more aesthetic bottles and display them on a tray on your counter, such as the Sedona Honey Vanity Tray from Crate & Barrel. If you need to store small odds-and-ends like cotton balls and dental picks, consider putting them in jars, such as the KIBAGA Jar Holder on Amazon. This set comes with seven minimalist labels, allowing you to label what's inside for easier access.

Utilize vertical storage on walls to create more storage space

If you're working with a small bathroom, you might be racking your brain on how to carve out just a little more storage space. It can be difficult to bring in more cabinets, since their bulky frames can make the small room feel cramped, but Lamb has a workaround for that. "Use tall and skinny items when bringing additional pieces into a small bathroom. A tall, skinny rack that fits in a corner, makes for perfect storage space. Open shelving is another great option and easy to add above the toilet or on any blank walls in the room," Lyndsay Lamb shares in a blog post. By utilizing items that have a small footprint and stretch vertically, rather than horizontally, you're still keeping the room visually light.

There are several ways you can incorporate vertical storage into your home. The most common way is to invest in an over-the-toilet storage cabinet, such as this cabinet on Amazon. It has doors, so the clutter can be hidden from view, and it even has smaller compartments inside to help you separate things like skincare from makeup. This lets you make the most of the space above your toilet. However, if you would like to keep that space clear, you can also invest in a skinny standalone cabinet, such as the Tangkula Tall Slim Bathroom Storage Cabinet from Target. It's only 8 inches wide and 8 inches deep — creating a small footprint — while still being nearly 6 feet tall.

Employ a blanket ladder to store jeans

If you have a robust denim collection, you might be searching for a clever way to organize it. Lyndsay Lamb has a great hack involving a blanket ladder you can use to do just that. "For years I was filling my closet up with jeans but was never able to see what I had, so I often had jeans in my closet that no longer fit or were not in style anymore," Lamb explained in a blog post. "So, a few years ago I decided to put them all out on a blanket ladder, and I have not turned back!" The ladder works as a tiered hanger system. Simply drape a pair of jeans over each rung, allowing you to see exactly what you own. And since the rack is out in the open, the pieces are much easier to spot.

To recreate this same look in your own closet, invest in one to two blanket ladders that you can lean against an open wall in your closet. If you don't have a large enough walk-in wardrobe to accommodate that, you can also lean the ladders in an open corner of your bedroom. Then, store two to four pairs of pants on each rung. You can also get a thicker ladder with more weight to it, such as the Rose Home Fashion Show Ladder on Amazon, so it doesn't tip over every time you try to take a pair off.

Implement open shelving to stay tidy

If you struggle with keeping things organized behind cupboards and cabinets, then you might be able to break that bad habit by turning some of those storage units into open shelving. "Keep your shelving open and organized so that you can easily see the pieces you need and put them back. When the shelving is left open, you are more inclined to keep it tidy and organized than closed cabinet storage," Lyndsay Lamb shared in a blog post. It might sound counterintuitive at first, but if you like to keep your home aesthetic, you will make a concentrated effort to put those items back in a tidy way. It will also force you to invest in some storage solutions, such as bins and baskets, which will help you create "homes" for the items, prompting you to put them back where they belong.

However, there is an art to styling open shelving. You want to avoid cramming any and every object that comes to mind in these spaces. Instead, select your nicest items. For example, if it's in your kitchen, display your favorite mug collection or your most aesthetic baking supplies on the shelving. If it's in your bathroom, consider your favorite beauty items, as well as necessities like cotton balls in attractive storage jars. On the other hand, if it's in your office, try corralling items such as pens, office supplies, and computer paper in stylish baskets, bins, and boxes that look like they're part of the decor.

Extend kitchen cabinets into the dining room to increase storage

Small kitchens might be cozy, but they're a regular Rubix cube when it comes to figuring out storage. It can be very challenging to try to find a way to store all of your pots and pans, small appliances, serveware, and pantry items into a kitchen with a small footprint. However, if you have an open floor plan, Lyndsay Lamb has an ingenious solution to double your kitchen's cabinet space, and that is extending it into the dining room. "[We] integrated the kitchen and dining rooms to create a long, multi-use space for entertaining," Lamb shared in a blog post about Season 2, Episode 13. Prior to the remodel, the kitchen was closed off with a peninsula island with cabinets right above it, creating a visual separator between it and the dining room. The sisters connected the space by running a line of lower cabinets across the entire wall.

If you want to do the same in your own home, Lamb and Davis recommend skipping any uppers and only focusing on lowers. This will make it feel like one continuous space since you won't have to switch from having uppers in the kitchen to no uppers in the dining room. "Now that we've included this in one room, we just take the cabinets for the entire run down there with one big, long service top," Jeff Laurence, their contractor, said in the episode. The end result is an attractive service bar that is as functional as it is beautiful.