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Easy Storage Solutions for Open Shelves

Updated on November 14, 2014
Does your open storage look more like cluttered chaos than you'd like?  Organization is great, but it can only go so far.  Some things just aren't meant to be on display.
Does your open storage look more like cluttered chaos than you'd like? Organization is great, but it can only go so far. Some things just aren't meant to be on display.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to add storage to almost any room is adding open shelving: built-ins, bookcases, floating and wall-to-wall shelves, While affordable and easy to install, open shelving definitely is not always the most attractive solution. No matter how well organized, opening shelving often makes the room looked cluttered and busy. Honestly, aside from books and photos, most of what we store in open shelving is not actually meant to be on display. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions that allow you to keep your open shelving and create an inviting, peaceful space you can breathe in without blowing your budget.

Use Pretty Bins and Boxes to Corral Items

Pretty fabric boxes, baskets or bins in material that match the décor in your room make great storage containers for DVDs. video game and television accessories, and whatever else you can fit. For the best results, use baskets or boxes that fill the space in cubby or shelf.


Hang Gathered Curtains

If you want to hide larger items or longer shelves in a bookcase or built in, gathered curtains from a spring rod is a good option. Measure the length and height of the shelf you want to cover. Often, a window valance will work well and is an easy, no-sew option, but finding the right material can be challenging. Making the curtains yourself is a fairly easy process and requires only basic sewing skills.

This window valance, hung by a tension rod fits perfectly in this low shelf and provides instant hidden storage in this built in entertainment center.  Coordinating fabric bins fill each cubby and hide DVDs, games, and remotes
This window valance, hung by a tension rod fits perfectly in this low shelf and provides instant hidden storage in this built in entertainment center. Coordinating fabric bins fill each cubby and hide DVDs, games, and remotes

Before: Laundry Room Open Shelves

These shelves hold all of my laundry supplies and important as it is, it also makes the room look cluttered.
These shelves hold all of my laundry supplies and important as it is, it also makes the room look cluttered.
These shelves hold all of out home-canned goods.  Again, I love the convenience and frugality of the open shelves, but I don't want everything on display all of the time.
These shelves hold all of out home-canned goods. Again, I love the convenience and frugality of the open shelves, but I don't want everything on display all of the time.

Make Your Own Gathered Curtains

  • Pick out your fabric. If you aren't sure, get small strips of your favorite material to bring home and see how it will look in your room. When choosing material, look for heavy, sturdy fabric. Bear in mind that stretchy material will need to be pull very taunt as you sew perpendicular to the weave to keep the material from bunching.
  • Measure the length and height of the shelf you want to cover. For gathered curtains, double the length and add 3 inches to the height for the width of the fabric.
  • Iron and cut the material. Hem the sides and bottom using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Turn the top hem down 1/2 inch and press. Turn down again 2 inches. Press and hem along top edge 1 inch from the top and 2 inches from the top to create a pocket for the curtain rod.
  • Hang the curtain and you're done.

I used Sticky back VELCRO coins to attach curtains to the floating shelves

After: Laundry Room Hidden Storage

These pleated curtains were easy to make and create instant hidden storage.  Velcro tabs glued onto the shelf and sewn into the curtain holds the curtain firmly in place.
These pleated curtains were easy to make and create instant hidden storage. Velcro tabs glued onto the shelf and sewn into the curtain holds the curtain firmly in place.
One longer pleated curtain covers all three shelves on this floating shelving unit and instantly makes this room feel less cluttered and more pleasing to be in.
One longer pleated curtain covers all three shelves on this floating shelving unit and instantly makes this room feel less cluttered and more pleasing to be in.

© 2014 Sarah

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    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 3 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      My middle name is clutter! Love the idea of using a curtain to hide it. I'm voting this up and sharing!

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