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Never Enough Shelves — The Importance of Shelving Solutions

Shelving Solutions are an Important Part of Every Home Organization Strategy — Try these ideas to maximize your own home storage

Good shelving is the backbone of every type of home organization and storage. Whether you are looking for help organizing a bedroom closet, kitchen pantry, home office, laundry or other room in the home, your solution will, no doubt, involve some sort of shelving. Shelves make use of vertical as well as horizontal space, thereby maximizing your storage potential. It is a great way to get organized and create storage space for the home. Without shelves, most things would be consigned to forever remain scattered across the floor. My dog loves the scattered across the floor system for storing her toys and resents any of my efforts to organize them differently. For the rest of us who are not dogs, however, some way to put things away is necessary, and that most likely means shelves.

Your dog could probably do without organized shelving, preferring to keep his/her toys in a big heap, but for everyone else, shelves are one of the best ways to get organized and stay that way.

There are as many different kinds of shelves as there are different places to put them. Styles range from strictly utilitarian to elaborate organization systems with convenient pull-outs. Some of the most common places to include storage shelves are the family room, kitchen, laundry room, office and even the bedroom closet — but shelves can be added to almost any room of the home to increase overall space and organization. Bookshelves are one typical application for shelving, and a storage solution that your many places, including your public library, couldn't do without. Applications for shelving are nearly limitless, however. The best application will depend on the kinds of items being stored and the person who needs to access them. For example, shelving for children will be different than that for adults. Shelves designed to organize a kitchen pantry will not be the same as those used in a bedroom closet.

Important Shelving Applications and Storage Ideas:

  1. Family/Living Room Shelving with or without a Fireplace:
    home storage shelving solution around fireplace for family room
    Family room media center and fireplace surround is designed with shelving to accommodate the needs of family members of all ages.

    Whether you like to use this room to read, watch television, play games, or just sit and relax, shelving in the main lounge area of the home offers big benefits. It can store everything from audio/video media components, to books, toys, and favorite memorabilia in a discreet and organized manner. For households with children, be sure to make the shelving and storage accessible for little ones. Include lower level shelves in your design specifically for toy storage. That way, the kids can access the shelves themselves and put their own things away. These shelves can be either open or covered by cabinet doors. If budget allows, it makes sense to splurge on lower level cabinets with doors for your toy shelving in order to be able to shut the door on the clutter. If the shelves are open, you can achieve a similar clean look by using decorative baskets or bins sized to fit perfectly on the shelf to corral all the mess.

    Many family rooms include a fireplace. A fireplace surround is an ideal application for shelving. Whenever a room includes a hearth, it becomes the automatic focal point of the space. Your eye will be drawn to items stored on shelves that surround the fireplace, making it an ideal way to display favorite books, photos and other memorabilia.

  2. Kitchen Pantries:
    home storage shelving solutions for the kitchen pantry
    Every kitchen needs some type of shelving to stay organized. Home buyers like an organized kitchen and elaborate pantry shelving systems can pay for themselves when it comes time to sell.
    Every kitchen needs some sort of shelving. Families often start with simple, utilitarian shelving. However, kitchens are one of the few places in the home where you can splurge and recoup all or most of the investment at resale. This leads many households to upgrade the kitchen with more specialized kitchen storage. A pantry closet is an ideal location for pull-out pantry shelves. These types of shelves pull out like a drawer and include low sides. They are used to store small bottles and cans in the kitchen. The sides prevent the small items from falling or rolling off the shelf, and the pull-out slides enable everything to be easily viewed, ensuring that nothing expires due to getting lost on the back of the shelf. They differ from drawers in that the sides are only a couple of inches high, much shorter than the items stored on them. The contents of the shelf remain visible, enabling the cook to see what he/she has at a glance. Specialized shelves for storing serving trays, cookie sheets, broiler pans and other oversize items are also a popular part of pantry shelving solutions that make the entire food preparation process easier for the cook in the family.
  3. Closets:
    home storage shelving solutions for the bedroom closet
    Shelves in the bedroom closet are a good way to organize a collection of shoes — slanted shelves with shoe fences are a convenient way to view and store all the footwear.
    Say the word "closet" and the mind immediately conjures up images of clothing suspended by hangers from clothing rods. Shelves, however, are equally important to closet organization. Whether used for shoes, purses, folded sweaters or something else, every closet needs some sort of shelving system to organize all the accessories and attire that can't or shouldn't hang from a rod. In a child's closet, the proportion of shelving to hanging should favor shelves over rods. Children (and some adults) simply have more possessions suitable for placing on shelves than the typical dress clothes that need to the hung up to prevent wrinkling. Shoes and purses are best kept on shelves, along with delicate knits that could stretch out if left on a hanger. Closet shelves designed specifically for shoes are often slanted slightly towards the front with a small "shoe fence" situated along the top to keep them from sliding off. The slant of the shelves keeps the shoes more visible than they would be on straight shelves. Most shelves, however, are installed straight. Many accessories can be successfully stored on a shelf, especially if decorative baskets or boxes are used to contain the smaller items.
  4. Laundry Rooms:
    shelves storage for laundry room
    Laundry rooms need shelving for soap and other sundries to help keep the home clean.
    The laundry room is another area of the home that can never have enough shelving. Standard laundry detergent, special laundry detergent for wool and delicates, fabric softener, stain remover, dryer sheets, washing machine cleaner, bleach, dryer balls, clothes pins, laundry baskets and sorters — the number of laundry aides stocked in a modern home seems to keep growing. And that's just the items used to wash clothes. The laundry room often ends up as a catch-all space for many other household cleaning supplies and sundries like paper towels, mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners — all end up being stored in the laundry.
  5. Office:
    shelves for walls in home office are essentail to good home storage
    The home office usually has a great need for some type of shelving system to organize papers, books, printer paper, ink, tape and other office supplies.
    The home office is another space where shelves are essentail to a successful home storage strategy. Even in this digital age of reduced paper, most of us continue to have reference materials, doctor's reports, car maintenance receipts and other paper items that need to be stored somewhere. Scanners, printers and their inherent supplies also need someplace to go. Whether inside a cabinet or along a wall, that place will usually be a shelf.

Whoever coined the term "less is more" did not intend to apply the phrase to storage shelves. Most families, and even some singles, can usually find a need for more storage shelves. Shelving is the key to having a place for everything and everything in its place. It is the cornerstone of all organization systems, whether for family room, pantry, closet, laundry room, home office or some other space. Whenever we need to find someplace to put something we want to save for future use, the first place most people will turn to is a shelf.

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IMPORTANT SHELVING IDEAS & EXAMPLES:

shelves storage for pantry
Home storage solutions for a small ranch in the suburbs include a large pantry shelving system in the finished basement of the home.
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home storage shelves for walls hold football gearFloor to ceiling shelving for a football fanatic
This rec room for a football fanatic includes floor to ceiling shelving on two sides of the room to hold the owner's collection of football gear and trophies.
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kids closet organizing ideas for a playroomkids closet organizing ideas for a playroom
Shelving has always been the backbone of every library. This school resource center purchased custom shelves to surround the children's work stations.
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This closet organization for kids includes shelves, baskets and triple hanging areas
Simple shelving can be elevated to a sculptural level under the guidance of an experienced designer.
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Storage ideas for kids include a dedicated craft room
Closet shelves should include space for folded items such as sweaters and knits as well as abundant shoe shelves.
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Storage ideas for kids include a dedicated craft room
Bookshelves for home office. Note the use of a decorative basket to store small items, maintaining a neat appearance for the whole storage unit and home office.
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