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Stolen Spaces

by Nichol Nelson

You’ll find unexpected storage—and even a little bliss—in the most unexpected places

It’s a universal complaint: not enough storage. Space is finite even if our appetite for additional acquisitions isn’t. But you don’t have to cleanse your home of everything that doesn’t bring you joy, despite what organizational guru Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which ranked number one on the New York Times best-sellers list), suggests.

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You probably have overlooked and underutilized space. Maybe it’s a bare corner in the living room or an awkward hallway closet. With some ingenuity, you can take back these underachieving spaces and turn them into dynamic, functional areas that give a home a renewed energy.

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Most homes have the potential for transformation. Stairs are notorious for dead space beneath. Why not use it as storage drawers? Or consider repurposing the open air under the entire staircase as a child’s study area. Likewise, bedrooms are ripe for reconsideration, particularly around the stubborn square of a bed. Think about useful design that eliminates clutter, whether it’s a built-in nightstand that stores surplus shoes or sweaters, or a sculptural wall element that organizes necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry. You can maximize that narrow space underneath by storing linens or out-of-season clothes in zippered bags. Add baskets under a bench or build shelves beneath a window seat. Go beyond Kondo’s directive; after all, she lives in Tokyo where the per capita space for every person is only 750 square feet. Once underutilized, the following four spaces have transformed from nooks and crannies to functional storage. Because, when it comes to organization, if the item itself doesn’t spark joy, maybe the newly found storage solution will.

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