Fix-It-Fred: Under-Stairs Storage

If there are two common items found in most homes, they are likely stairs and a lack of storage. There are numerous ways to combine the two items to alleviate the later issue. Everyone’s house is unique, and so the solutions should be as well. While I was can not claim full credit on the following storage idea, I did optimize it for our family.

When we moved into our house there was a bit of under-stairs storage already in place. One of the previous owners had built some shelves that would swing open. They were enclosed with some pegboard so things could be hung on the outside as well.

pegboard

This layout offered some nice shelving to store the seldom used things, like canning jars, but it required a large portion of the floor to be kept clear in order to open the unit. And, since our cat claims the laundry room as his domain, hanging items on the pegboard would not be feasible. Everything would become a cat toy. For the storage to be more useful to us, some changes were needed.

naughty in cat's clothing
naughty disguised as a cat

Another thing that was sorely lacking in our laundry room was a flat work surface. Between laundry and sewing, there is always a need for some place to spread out and work. And when it is not being used for something productive, a large, flat surface is a good place to store laundry baskets and for the cat to nap.

In order to incorporate some more useful storage and a work surface, I needed to be creative. And resourceful. I brought some secondhand cupboards and a large chunk of countertop from our previous house. I used them in the garage at our old place, but I did not need them in the garage at this house. Instead, they were sitting empty in another storage area of our current house. With some creativity I was able to work the cabinets and countertop into the existing storage solution to create one that fits our needs.

under stairs storage cabinet

I mounted the cabinets onto the existing shelving structure in the space that was previously needed to be kept clear for the opening of the shelves. I installed casters under the cabinets so they would easily roll open. I also wanted the weight of the cabinets and their contents to be supported by something other than the peg b0ard wall of the old shelves. I placed the cabinets in an l-shape to have a space to put the cat’s food and water dish. I left a space behind the cabinets to hid the cat’s litter box. Who really wants to look at that?

under stairs storage caster

The countertop was cut to cover the cabinets and have enough overhang to provide a good size working surface, while not interfering with the wall when the storage space is swung fully open. The countertop was originally from a kitchen island, so it had large rounded corners that work perfectly in our laundry room. The large corners are much more gentle on the hips when you run into them while carrying a full basket of laundry.

open under stairs storage

Now we have some closed cabinets to keep all the daily laundry room items in. Out of reach of the dastardly cat. We still have all the storage under the stairs. When the storage area is opened now, it swings open just short of the washer and dryer. The space it swings into is used for access to the cabinets, and the litter box. It is space that is normally clear of objects, so there is very little to move to get under the stairs.

How about you. What creative storage solutions have you utilized?