Tips for Organizing Storage Rooms

Every storage room has its different problems to consider.  Some have very low ceilings.  Some may be hard to get into. The walls and corners might be angled. There are a number of questions to ask yourself before you purchase shelving for your storage room.

Show or Stow?

1. Do you like things displayed on open shelves or stowed behind closed doors?  This will help you determine if you want a cupboard or shelving.

White shelves with books and home decor items.

Measure Carefully

2. Next measure the space.  You need to get storage that uses all the area and not buy storage that leaves some of the area unusable. This happens when one storage unit is too large and another storage unit can’t fit into the remaining space.

Lids or no lids?

3. Next ask yourself, will you open a lid to put things into a container, will you reclose the top of a box?  If the answer is no, cut the flaps off the box or purchase containers without lids.  You want to make it as easy as possible to get the items into the correct box.

and orange box with a lid

Make it easy to get to the bottom container

4. Lastly ask yourself, if your bins are stacked will you unstack them to put something in the bottom container?  Will you restack the containers on the storage unit?  If your answer is no then buy large containers that fill the vertical space between the shelves so you can maximize your storage.  It is usually good to have two or three containers on each shelf so they are easy to move and not too heavy.

How to place items on the shelves

Now you have your storage units and bins.

  • Store items you use frequently at eye level.
  • Store heavy items on the bottom shelf
  • Store items close to where you use them
  • Store infrequently used items up high or in less accessible areas.

Hockey bags?

Trying to store hockey bags?  Try placing two shelving units that are 4 or 5 shelves high, with 24” or 36” deep shelves, one in front of the other and securely attach them together.   This will hold one bag per shelf with room to leave it open to air out and place some items beside the bag to dry.

With the right shelves and bins, it is easy to sort your items into categories, place them in a labelled container and locate them in your storage room.  Remember to keep only what you need and love.

Book a complimentary 30-minute virtual chat with me to get started planning your storage area.  

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually using Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. She guides and supports you to be accountable for your time, to complete projects and reach your goals. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

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  1. Janet Barclay on February 23, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Those open shelving units are great if you may need to move them, because they’re much lighter than the other type and can easily be taken apart and reassembled if necessary. On the other hand, they don’t offer as much protection if it’s a damp or dusty area.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 23, 2015 at 8:14 am

      I agree with you that they are easy to move especially if you put sliders under the feet, you can push them to a new location very easily. Just make sure nothing falls off the shelves.

      • Janet Barclay on February 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm

        Even better! I assumed you’d have to clear them off before moving.

        • Julie Stobbe on February 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm

          When the shelves are on sliders you can move the shelf without completely emptying it. If you have fragile items or items that are not in a container it is best to remove those types of items before pushing the shelf to a new location

  2. Johnny Shi on May 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I like what you said about measuring the space. I wouldn’t want to purchase a unit that is a lot bigger than I need. There are lots of ways to organize it to make things fit into a smaller space. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie Stobbe on May 21, 2015 at 7:01 am

      It is important to buy the shelving unit that works best for you and is not too big. When it is too big the unit may become another area to gather clutter. Make sure to buy a shelf that is a little bigger than your current needs so if you find more items to store you will have some flexibility for storing everything.

  3. Kelvin Hunter on May 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Open shelves are a great place for sports equipment storage in the garage or basement. Because of their open design you have easy access at all angles to take items off the shelves!

    • Julie Stobbe on May 21, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I agree open shelves for sports equipment do make it easy to access equipment. Open shelves also have more ventilation allowing sport equipment to dry thoroughly.

  4. Angela on July 11, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Great post. Your ides are very inspiring.

    • Julie Stobbe on July 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Angela I hope they inspire you to look at your storage room in a new way.

  5. Brendan Bordin on July 20, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Wow! Great Share!

    The things you people covered through the post are awesome. Great tips! Absolutely, worth to share! Keep sharing..:)

    • Julie Stobbe on July 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Storage rooms can be a big challenge. I am glad you enjoyed some of the tips

  6. Abélia on August 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I take storage very seriously because it helps me deal with my anxiety issues. If everything is clean and organized, I’m better able to deal with life. Thanks for sharing these tips for storage rooms. I like your idea to use crates in a storage room so that you more easily access its contents.

    • Julie Stobbe on August 6, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Being organized helps to reduce the feelings of stress, overwhelm and anxiety. It is great that you have figured out the best ways to stay organized and feel great. Thanks for sharing about how being organized is helping you.

  7. Linda Samuels on October 23, 2023 at 10:12 am

    These are excellent points to consider when deciding about your storage needs. I’ve had open and closed shelving. And while it’s nice to see things (open shelving) from a visual standpoint, I much prefer to have the storage covered. We recently added some closed closet units to a storage space, and I LOVE it! I can still find what I need when I open the doors, but when I walk into the space, I’m not assaulted by all the stuff. It’s a calmer approach to the space.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 29, 2023 at 4:58 pm

      I like a storage area with door too. I know it doesn’t work for everyone.

  8. Seana Turner on October 23, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Loving your tip for the hockey bags. Those things are GIANT to store. I never played hockey, so it has been hard to help clients. Not only are they large, but they can be smelly. I’m thinking those shelving units should ideally be in a garage LOL!

    If the bins are on a shelf, I generally prefer not to have the lids. Lids are handy when stacking is required, but they can be a hindrance to access.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 29, 2023 at 5:01 pm

      Yes lids do seem to hinder people from getting things back into bins. The problem with leaving hockey gear in the garage in a cold climate is it doesn’t dry and mold forms that can affect the hockey players breathing. It is good to dry everything and wash shirts, socks, undergarments after each use to help make the dressing room a safe place for everyone’s health.

  9. Sabrina Quairoli on October 23, 2023 at 12:38 pm

    I had a client whose four sons played hockey. We used the 36″ deep shelves, and it worked great! Each son had their own shelving unit label so nothing would get mixed with other people. It worked well.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 29, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      I really like that you have room for the bag and to take items ( shin pads, pants gloves)out of the bag to dry.

  10. John Trosko on October 23, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    The hockey storage idea is brilliant. Nice suggestion.


  11. Janet Schiesl on October 24, 2023 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your ideas. Nowadays there are so many shelving units, different sizes and shapes, the same for bins, which makes storing your items in any area of the house look nice and not cluttered.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 29, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      You have a good point that there is something for every space. i think that is what makes it difficult for people to know what to buy, too many choices.

  12. Julie Bestry on October 25, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    Excellent points. Lids on boxes or bins can create such friction; it takes two seconds to remove a lid, but it halts people in their tracks! Similarly, people will do so much to avoid restacking or getting to the bottom container in a stack! I particularly appreciation you noting that heavy stuff goes down, rarely-used stuff goes up, and what you often need is most accessible. It’s shocking how often people will stack things with the most-often needed items the hardest to get to!

    And it’s been 3 1/2 decades since I lived somewhere with hockey bags. You’ve reminded me of the joys of winter and kids playing ice hocking in rinks and even on the street.

    • Julie Stobbe on October 29, 2023 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks for your comments. At one time in my house my husband, son, daughter and I played hockey.

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