News & Politics

Storage: Fun Products

Cool ways to keep household stuff in its place.

Home storage doesn't have to be a chore.

Home storage doesn't have to be a bore.

Stash stuff away with specialty products galore.

Okay, start by boxing up the old Dr. Seuss books. In today's storage-minded market, you'll discover a wealth of space-saving solutions to add rhyme and reason to household clutter.

Retailers such as Ikea, Hold Everything, and the Container Store offer plenty of clutter-busters. One of my favorites: Ikea's PS Fangst, a $9.99 hanging tube. It comes in blue, black, green, orange, red, and white. The polyester-nylon mesh makes everything inside the six compartments visible at a glance. And it has a safety fastener at the top.

While it works well in children's rooms, for socks or action figures, why let kids have all the fun? Imagine the hanging sorter in the bathroom holding soaps and shampoo, in a grownup closet separating scarves and belts, or in a mudroom keeping tennis balls at the ready.

Cabinet, appliance, and furniture manufacturers are also onto the fact that homeowners these days have either too many things or too little space. More products are being introduced to help homeowners store belongings in style.

What follows are dozens of products that reflect trends in storage throughout the house, from kitchens to garages.

Kitchen Aids

No matter how big the kitchen, most homeowners long for more space: an extra cabinet, more pantry room, additional counter space.

Cabinet manufacturers are making more with less–space, that is. Tall skinny pullouts make ideal pantries. Divided drawers keep cutlery in order. Slim cabinets hold cookie sheets and pizza pans.

High-end European makers have a corner on the specialized-cabinet market. You'll find drawer inserts designed to hold rolling pins, even cabinets that open to reveal a bread slicer and canvas bags to keep your baguettes fresh.

Appliance manufacturers have joined the space race. Many have introduced shrunk-down versions of dishwashers, ranges, and refrigerators designed to fit tight spots. You can find televisions, CD players, coffee centers, microwaves, and flip-down computers to mount under cabinets–clearing the counter.

If you're planning a major kitchen redo, you'll have your pick of drawers, pullouts, and other space-savers that you can build into the plans.

What if you want to basically keep the kitchen you have and just need more ways to stash supplies? You can often buy drawer and cabinet inserts that make room for pot lids, canned goods, and cookie sheets.

Here is a handful of ideas on how to make the most of kitchen space.

Perfect pantry. A room-size larder does not fit into many existing homes. But a pantry cabinet, available through many cabinetmakers, can be the next best thing. For example, you can store everything from soup to nuts, bottled water to bulk goods in Plain & Fancy's Island Airs Swing-Out Pantry. Click on "destination: inspiration" at to have a look or to find a showroom. Harvey's Kitchen & Baths in Sterling (22560 Glen Dr.; 703-444-0871) sells Plain & Fancy cabinetry, although it does not have the new Swing-Out Pantry on display yet.

Maximum capacity. SieMatic is determined to get the most out of its cabinets. The German manufacturer's MultiMatic system adds 22 functional options to its S-series cabinetry: Choose from racks for wineglasses, holders for coffee filters, dispensers for plastic wrap, and other custom elements. SieMatic has a showroom at the Washington Design Center (300 D St., SW, Suite C-16; 202-479-7220). You can find other dealers on its Web site, (Full disclosure: My husband, a local remodeler, sells and installs SieMatic cabinets; we both like the brand's quality and storage options.)

Chef's table. Making dinner and out of counter space to chop? Wood-Mode makes an unusual Pullout Table–a work surface that extends 54 or 60 inches from what looks like an ordinary drawer when closed. Price varies with cabinet style and finish. It's also a good solution in home offices and sewing rooms. See it at Creative Kitchens, 1776 E. Jefferson St., Rockville; 301-984-4477. For other local Wood-Mode dealers, see

Go cart. How about a rolling prep center that moves as you do? Bulthaup's stainless cart is part of its mobile System 20 line. With sturdy legs and two locking casters, the unit comes with shelves or drawers and a worktop of stainless steel, white ceramic, or beech. The price ranges from $2,200 to $2,400. It's available at Bulthaup's Georgetown showroom, 3324 Cadys Alley, NW; 202-338-2220. Or see

Small fry. Fivestar's 24-inch stainless range cooks like a pro, but the four-burner gas stove with convection oven takes up no more space than a standard base cabinet. Available with open or sealed burners, the unit sells for $3,740 to $3,900. It's available through Bray & Scarff (ten area locations; see See for other local dealers.

Cleaning up. KitchenAid's Briva in-sink dishwasher can tackle up to five place settings or a load of large pots and pans. As its name implies, the appliance fits inside one half of its two-sided sink. Ideal for lofts, condos, or assisted-living residences, the mini unit saves time and water, too. Get the dish at area Expo Design Centers, where the unit retails for $1,752. Or see

Spice to taste. More cabinetmakers are organizing those jumbled spice jars. Wellborn Cabinet makes a Spice Drawer that holds jars at an angle for easy view and access. Or, if you have spices and oils of all shapes and sizes, slip the company's Base Spice Rack in between two cabinets for convenient pullout storage. Prices vary with style, size, and finish. See the pullout at

Wallflowers. Out of cabinet space? Consider hanging items on the backsplash. Ikea's Grundtal Wall Shelf can hold a stack of pots and pans. Add on accessories such as a magnetic knife rack, paper-towel holder, cutlery stand, spice rack, dish drainer, and S-hooks so no space goes to waste. The stainless-steel shelf starts at $19.99, and you'll need the mounting bracket (starting at $6.99). Hangers-on start at $5.99 and can cost as much as $19.99. Available at Ikea stores in College Park (10100 Baltimore Ave.; 301-345-6552) and Woodbridge (2901 Potomac Mills Cir.; 703-494-4532), or visit

Block island. A small kitchen doesn't have to miss out on island life. Instead of a big built-in, look for a stand-alone. Crate & Barrel's Cucina Cart features drop-down extension leaves, three chrome-plated baskets, and a solid birch top with a drawer. The rolling island, complete with locking casters, retails for $259. See it at local stores or at

Bench kiss. Love modern style as much as old-fashioned storage? The Nyhammar bench from Ikea gives both. The casual birch-and-white lacquered seating offers three open bins below for stashing anything from cookbooks to crayons. It's $99.

Sleep Easy

The master bedroom has evolved into a sanctuary, making a spare, clutter-free environment all the more attractive. Manufacturers of beds and other furniture are creating space-conscious designs that conceal belongings.

Bedtime stories. Keep nighttime reading, an alarm clock, night cream, or eyeglasses within easy reach. Restoration Hardware's Marston Bookcase Bed holds all this and more within its hefty headboard, designed with three convenient cubicles and a cedar-lined compartment for bulky blankets. Available through catalog and Web only (, the American cherry bed sells for $2,395 in queen and $2,595 in king.

Heady headboards. The Thai and Tao beds from California-based Design Centro Italia almost look as though they're floating on air. Stainless legs seem to disappear underneath. Cantilevered nightstands extend from the frame. But minimalist design doe not make them shy on storage. The headboards–two panels of Italian walnut (Thai Bed) or lacquered glass (Tao)–can be raised at the touch of a button to reveal generous shelving inside. Queen, king, and California king models retail at $8,000. Order the Thai (EBD 10) or Tao (EBD 9) beds at

Two-faced friend. One side stands tall and narrow as a full-length mirror. But spin the Swivel Wardrobe & Mirror around to find five deep shelves in back. With a weight capacity of 20 pounds, each shelf can hide linens, toiletries, and books. Made from solid ash with a dark-brown stain, the mirror is $650 at Design Within Reach, which was scheduled to open a 2,000-square-foot Bethesda showroom, at 4828 Norfolk Ave., in mid-April. A Georgetown showroom is also in the works. Or order online at

Open-shut case. Under-bed drawers give little ones access to clothes, toys, and special belongings, right at their level. The Brekke Twin Bed frame from Ikea comes in white with three birch veneer drawers built in. The price–$149–makes it hard to beat, too.

In the Family Room

Storage in shared living spaces such as family rooms can be hard. More people, more stuff. And a family room is for kicking off your shoes and relaxing, so storage has to be laid-back, too. Organization is the last thing on the agenda–until the remote goes missing.

Look for furniture that does double duty, delivering extra storage in addition to its intended purpose.

Form and function. More manufacturers are designing drawers and cubby holes into furniture. The honey-brown Bridges 2.0 collection from Thomasville includes the Storage Cocktail Table ($599) and the Sofa Table ($599) with drawers and shelves. Visit a Thomasville store (8461 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, 703-714-0500; 12995 FairLake Shopping Center, Fairfax, 703-222-1500; and 3915 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Alexandria, 703-706-0966) or Gallahans (9400 Market St., Fredericksburg; 540-898-2123). Or see

Top Zen. Storage can't be only practical. Madsen Expandable Shelves from Hold Everything appeal to the emotional side, too. The deep-brown stackable modules combine to make an airy room divider, display case, or console for cherished possessions. Each two-part cherry veneer unit (one large L-shaped component, one small) costs $379 at Hold Everything, 5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-363-7840;

Open wide. Ottomans and footstools can give you a leg up on storage. Inside the lush leather Padova Ottoman at Crate & Barrel is convenient space to stash those New Yorkers you haven't had time to read. Three of its area stores (1800 W. International Dr., Tysons Corner, 703-891-0090; 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, 703-890-2300; and 4820 Massachusetts Ave., NW, 202-364-6100) stock it in mocha but can order other colors; the price is $799. See

Color wheels. The Container Store's Calypso Toy Trolley makes ideal storage–and transport–for anything from toy trucks to craft projects. Made from durable recycled fiberboard and featuring casters, the bin comes in raspberry, blueberry, white, and aqua. It sells for $19.99 at Container Stores in Tysons Corner, Arlington, Rockville, and Northwest DC; see

Trunk show. Once a staple of seafaring travelers, trunks have long since given way to suitcases on wheels. Nowadays, homeowners pine after trunks as nostalgic storage. Can't find an old one? Design one to exact specifications, choosing the hardware, finish, leather, interior fabric, and tray insert you want. California designer Ruth Arras makes custom trunks, in three sizes, to hold heirloom silverware, hanging files, pet paraphernalia, and more. Prices vary. See

Bath Time

No other room of the house holds space at such a premium. Here's how to make even more of it.

Turn the other cheek. No need to blush with the discrete Turning Storage Mirror. Swivel the chrome-trimmed mirror to tuck away cosmetics, toiletries, or other bath essentials. Hang two units side-by-side for a contemporary turn on the old medicine cabinet. It sells for $119, or $199 for two, through the Pottery Barn's Web site ( or bed and bath catalog. (It's not sold in stores.)

Tidy tuffet. Keep shower or manicure essentials stowed in Waterworks's delicate round bath stool. Available in natural or black water-resistant cotton twill, the Plaza Stool retails for $350. Order online, at, or at its Georgetown store, 3314 M St.; 202-333-7180.

Highbrow hamper. Good-looking enough to live outside the bathroom, the Pullout-Drawer Hamper from Chambers seems too nice for dirty clothes. The wooden trunk can also hold clean towels and linens. In mahogany or white, the hamper features a cushioned seat. It sells through the catalog for $295 (small) and $355 (large). Call 800-840-2870 or see

Push me, pull me. Ikea's lacquered-steel Anordna Pullout Shelving unit makes under-vanity storage a pleasure. Simple mounting, adjustable basket compartments, and a low price, $15, make it even more tempting.

Speed read. A slim magazine rack mounted on a bathroom wall keeps reading material neat and nearby–despite the disapproval of the Fab Five from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The Onda Four-Tier Wall Organizer from the Container Store holds oversize magazines and newspapers with ease. The steel, space-age-looking shelving is $29.99.

Storage That Works

Whether you're in a room to yourself or a corner of the kitchen, making the most of home-office space can determine your work-at-home success.

Desk duty. Home-office desktops rank right up there with kitchen countertops in terms of sought-after real estate. So make every square inch count. There are lots of desktop organizers on the market; one of the sleekest we've seen is the Offi Desk Organizer. Its open, aluminum-composite shelves keep supplies close at hand but out of the way. It's available at Design Within Reach in Bethesda ( for $180.

Storsky & Hutch. Keep your home office behind closed doors in Scan Furniture's Computer Center. The handsome hutch–attractive enough to hold its own in the dining or family room–has spacious spots for monitor, hard drive, and printer and comes with a pullout keyboard tray. Extra cubbies hold supplies. Available in cherry, espresso, or maple (special order) veneer, the cabinet measures 42 inches wide, 25 inches deep, and 53 inches high. It sells for $1,389 at Scan's six area locations, in Bethesda, Rockville, Towson, Columbia, Falls Church, and Sterling. See

Hot pockets. Whatever gets stuffed in the Container Store's Multi-Pocket Wall Organizer finds a tidy home–off your desk. Pens and pushpins, mail and markers, receipts and restaurant menus: There's a size and shape for everything. The translucent storage system comes in small and large and retails for $14.99 and $19.99.

Table hop. If a slice of your kitchen or dining room serves as your workspace, finding a table to function as a desk without screaming "home office" is not easy. The Helsinki Table has clean lines, a steely finish, and a frosted top that obscures drawer storage. Helten Best of Design ( sells the versatile table for $1,280.

Office share. Is your home office squeezed into your guest bedroom? Get more space by stowing away the bed, with a Murphy bed. Check out to see an array of ideas–including a Library Bed hidden behind sliding bookshelves.

Climb the wall. StoreWall's tongue-and-groove panel system, mounted above a desk, makes order out of desktop chaos. Wire baskets, paper trays, CD holders, hanging file racks, and shelves all insert easily into the slats. Available in several colors, the 15-inch-high panels (four- or eight-foot lengths) sell for $5 a square foot. See

Utility-Room Players

The biggest storage messes typically show up in laundry rooms, mudrooms, and garages. Before washing your hands of the clutter, consider these solutions.

Chubby cubbies. A bin for each family member to stow shoes, backpacks, and other stuff is a must in a mudroom. If built-ins won't work, consider stackable stand-alones. Organized Living offers its Basic Solutions cubicles in four shapes and sizes to accommodate just about anything you throw in them. Available in maple, cherry, or white laminate, the units range from $24.99 to $69.99 at Organized Living, 11888 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax Corner; 703-818-1801. Or see

Back relief. The ergonomic design of Whirlpool's Duet washer and dryer makes them easier to load and unload with less bending. An optional pedestal raises the units 13 inches off the floor and makes good use of that space with deep drawers for laundry supplies. Available at major appliance retailers, including Bray & Scarff and Bettar Appliances (10503 Wheatley St., Kensington; 301-949-2500), the washer retails for $1,299; the dryer, $799 (electric) and $849 (gas); and the drawers are $149 each. See

Chrome cart. The three-tiered Rolling Storage Cart is meant to slip in between your washer and dryer. But if you don't have the space, just wheel this skinny stainless unit, each basket loaded with laundry supplies, right where you need it. Hold Everything sells the slim storage solution for $89.

White-glove affair. You'll have room to pull the car into the garage after a HighTek makeover. But you may not want to. Providing what's billed as the world's cleanest garage, GarageTek takes organization to the max. Its wipe-down wall panels support a selection of cabinets, shelving, and racks. The whole shebang, including custom design and installation, typically costs $2,500 to $9,000. Contact GarageTek at 301-987-9722 or 703-425-0900 or see

Need a lift? Let the Hyloft USA give you, and bulky belongings in the garage, a boost. The overhead storage system uses adjustable metal grid shelves, suspended by four connecting rods mounted to a ceiling joist. The standard 45-inch-square unit holds up to 250 pounds. It sells for $85 at participating Lowe's, Home Depot, Target, Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart stores. (Other sizes and accessories available.) See