making the most of overhead storage: 5 tips and tricks

Unless you’re 7 feet tall, stepladders in an NYC apartment are a must. They’re so essential in fact that I have 3 in my 2-bedroom apartment: a 3-step, a 2-step and a 1-step. What I primarily use them for is overhead storage, which I am lucky enough to have both in my kitchen and elsewhere. Having overhead storage in your home is wonderful if – and that’s a big if – you use it well. See below for 5 tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your overhead storage:


1. Categorize – like items go together to help you remember what you own. I have 4 overhead storage cupboards in my apartment outside of my kitchen (yes, I do know how lucky I am). The one closest to the kitchen houses party supplies and baking. The next is for extra paper products like toilet paper and paper towels. The third is for suitcases and travel and the fourth is for the rest.


2. Contain – What I often see in my client’s home are unmarked bags in storage spaces. While it helps to keep the dust out, it does not help in the process of identifying what’s what. And if you don’t know what you have, you won’t use it. What I suggest is that my clients grab a series of different size clear storage containers to store their less often used items. The brand of container is less important than choosing one line and sticking with it. Containers from the same line will stack nicely and fit well together.


3. Label (large and specific) – you know how some items fit better in the back of the cupboard but then you forget they exist? Do yourself a favor and label the door, even including ‘in back’ next to the item so that when you read the door, you automatically know what’s inside. Label each individual container and if you’re really feeling ambitious, make a map for what is where in your storage space. Finally, when you label, remember that bigger is better; if the storage is overhead make it so that you can see the label from the ground.


4. Stepladders – I grew up reaching for overhead storage on a swivel barstool in my parent’s kitchen. In my own home I use Cosco stepladders, which are not as death defying, and do the trick quite well. Unlike other brands, which take two hands and magic to open and close, I can open my Cosco stepladders with one hand. They fold up easily and I end up carrying them to different places in my home depending on how high up I need to go.


5. Annual Evaluation – Most overhead storage is rarely used, that’s why it’s up there in the first place. I suggest that my clients go through their storage spaces once a year to evaluate whether or not all items deserve to stay. Overhead storage either in a kitchen or elsewhere in your home is valuable, don’t waste it by keeping items you know you’re never going to use. The annual evaluation is also an opportunity to remind yourself what you have so you can use it.


Storage in your home or apartment is a wonderful thing if you use it well. Do yourself a favor and organize it in order to make your life easier. Do you have a party coming up? Head on over to your party area to remember how much plastic cutlery and paper plates you have without having to search the entire house. The more you front end the work on your storage spaces, the less work you’ll have to do every time you need to grab something and put it back.

Try my tips above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at tori@toritheorganizer.com and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.