Storage Solutions: Find Your Hidden Space

Storage space sells when it comes to residential real estate. No matter what the age or style of a property, prospective buyers are checking into every closet, scoping out the garage and generally looking for the bonus spaces that hold the stuff of everyday living.

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, make a plan to expand your home’s available storage spaces. You’ll want to show off existing organization systems to their best advantage, and could be pleasantly surprised by the many storage opportunities hidden throughout your home.

How do you find them? “You really need to take a look around your house at the places where there is nothing, in terms of storage,” says Lisa Lennard, Vice President of Technology for California Closets. “If you have an alcove in a bedroom or a corner of a dining room that’s not being used, or anything along those lines, you can make the most out of those spaces by just adding a little bit of cabinetry to them.”

Here are the top five finds in home storage spaces, hiding in plain sight and just waiting for transformation.

Under and Along Stairs.  The space around a staircase is the first place you should check for storage opportunities. Whether the staircase is an open or closed style, the space underneath can become a new home for cabinetry, open shelving or even a built-in desk serving as a mini-office or homework station. The vast wall space adjacent to the treads and risers of a staircase can also be fitted with stylish cubbies and shelves to hold books, display collections, and more.

Another great staircase storage idea comes from Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, cofounders of online organizing resource convert the bottom step into a storage drawer, an especially handy place to collect family footwear in a home with a no-shoes rule.

In the Attic.  Another top spot for storage solutions is right overhead in your attic. If the structural style and details allow, an attic can be finished and transformed into a valuable bonus space with buyer appeal, and building in great cabinetry or shelving will have those shoppers doing a double-take. An open closet for clothing and other hanging storage can make the most of otherwise dead space in an attic’s nooks and corners, and a generous counter provides a work surface for hobbies with storage space underneath.

In the Garage.  “The other place that people tend to overlook quite a bit, believe it or not, is the garage,” says Lennard. “I know a lot of people don’t have very roomy garages, but even if you have a tight fit with your car, there are cabinets that can be put up on the wall so that the front of your car slips right under them.”

Smart wall systems, hooks and hangers can also create smart storage for tools and gear, making use of any available garage space. Other special storage features that pack buyer appeal can become a reality, too: fit a wide, shallow drawer or narrow cupboard to hold rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon and trims, and–voila!–you have a gift wrapping station to show off during the realtor’s open house.

Basement Spaces.  Whether finished or unfinished, a moisture-proofed basement space can be a storage bonanza. If your basement is unfinished, install generously proportioned open shelving that keeps stored items up off the floor, and fit it with attractive snap-lidded plastic bins. A finished basement living area is open to any storage design interpretation, from attractive built-ins to shelves meant to showcase your favorite things.

Alcoves and Corners.  Get creative with the empty spaces found in living areas throughout your home. A clever cabinet or enclosed cocktail cart can add style to the corner of a dining area while keeping linens and serving pieces close at hand. Storage baskets can find a home under bench seating. And an alcove almost anywhere can become a sleek workstation or project zone with a few simple storage additions.

When it’s time to list your home, be sure to mention all of the valuable storage features you’ve created. Brand-name closet and organization systems are definite draws for buyers, and a super-organized garage will inspire oohs and aahs both in photos and on the home tour. And speaking of the home tour, make sure all storage areas are decluttered, clean and pristine, expressing the care you’ve taken with your home while making space for the next owner’s storage needs.

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