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Do It Yourself: Make More Space by Hanging Stuff #30DaysofGOOD

Combat clutter by organizing it with hangers. Going vertical lets you tap unused space and makes your stuff more accessible.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for July? Do It Yourself.

A cruel fact of life: You'll never have enough storage space. Closets become packed with clothes. Attics and basements fill up with boxes full of memories. Garages turn into storehouses for supplies.

One way to combat the clutter is to organize it with hangers. Going vertical lets you tap unused space and makes your stuff more accessible. Here are a few tips on starting your hanger home makeover:

Most garages serve double duty—car parking and storage shed. And like most sheds, many people keep a tangled stack of rakes, shovels, and brooms tucked into the corner.

Fortunately, a huge array of wall-mountable hooks and racks let you sort these tools and help minimize the bruises from stepping on the wrong side of a garden hoe. Most hardware stores sell various forms of rubber-coated hooks that are designed for holding yard tools, hoses, ladders, and even bicycles. Usually, the end opposite of the hook has a thick screw, designed so the entire piece gets screwed directly and securely into a stud, beam or joist—although it's recommended to drill a slightly smaller pilot hole.

This style often comes in a variety pack like this one, but more advanced rack-mount systems will let you switch the hanger type and placement a lot easier, without making swiss cheese of your garage. Craftsman's Versatrack and Rubbermaid's FastTrack are a couple good options.

If you have a sheetrock-finished garage, make sure to use a stud finder so you can mount the hooks into solid wood. No one wants to discover their car's hood dented because a rack full of tools dropped on it.

Kitchen racks for knives, cookware and utensils
The kitchen, more than any other room in the house, is usually the most in need of extra space. Countertops quickly fill up with microwaves, toasters, and coffee makers. When it comes time to cook, you're left balancing a cutting board on the counter's tiny leftover edge.

The solution is to do what restaurants do: Use a wall-mounted magnetic knife strip and a hanging pot rack (wall mount is easier to mount, but a ceiling pot rack gives you more options if you have the space). Moving the pots frees up the cabinets and creates room to tuck away your less-used appliances. Do you really need your bread machine on permanent display?

As above, be extra certain that you've mounted your racks into studs and not just the sheetrock. Heavy pots and pans will require strong mounting to keep the rack from breaking loose.

Closet door racks for purses, coats, shoes, and more
Struggling to find a place for your Converse collection? An over-the-door hanger can work wonders for you. These include simple coat hooks, small shelves, and storage for up to 36 pairs of shoes. An added convenience, they're simple to mount. Clip in place over the edge of the door, no tools or drilling necessary.

You can find similar systems that hang on the pole inside your closet. However, most closets tend to already be full, and the usual sideways placement of this style doesn't make for easy access to anything stored in them. The back of the door lets you open the door to get to your stuff quickly, and close the door to hide everything neatly.

Pegboard for tools
Shop dwellers can usually be separated into two groups: those who like pegboard, and those who don't. The argument against pegboard is that it makes it difficult to work on projects away from the tool bench, as your tools are affixed to a semi-permanent location. The upside of pegboard is that it solves the problem of constantly needing to dig through a box of loose tools to find the right wrench for your project. And like the other hanging solutions, it puts your supplies at hand-level, perfect for immediate access.

Pegboard supplies are available at any hardware store. You can either build your own pegboard frame or buy a pre-made one, and cheap bags of hooks are available for almost every type of tool. Here's a handy tip: Once you've determined the placement of your tools, trace or paint an outline around them so you'll know where things go and if anything is missing.

Read more of Mike Senese's DIY tips and projects at DO IT.

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