By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
Got a family of dust bunnies and wayward socks freeloading beneath the spot where you sleep? You can eliminate all that mess and debris and put that under-bed area to better use by organizing and storing the right stuff there.
“The area under your bed is often overlooked because it’s out of sight and can seem like an inconvenient space to access,” says Laura Avila with Sparkling Cleaning Services in New York City. “However, it’s actually a valuable storage zone that can help declutter your home. By efficiently utilizing this area, you can free up space in your closet and surrounding areas, making your bedroom feel more spacious and organized.”
Lisa Alemi, owner of Move Mama Move in Los Angeles, cautions that the real estate under your bed is often a “dead zone” because it’s easy to shove things down there without giving it a second thought, and it’s challenging to access items once they are under the bed.
“Rarely do most people get down on their hands and knees to search for items there because it’s uncomfortable, difficult, and messy. But the under-bed space is crucial for storage,” she adds.
Before attempting to place designated items down there, take time to sort through your belongings and declutter so that you know what to keep and stow versus throw away or donate.
“This is also the perfect opportunity to measure the space beneath your bed to determine how much room you have and what kinds of storage products to buy and use,” says Lauren Saltman, a professional organizer in Newfields, New Hampshire.
If your bed is particularly low to the ground, “adding a set of bed risers can be a great option to raise it up and increase your storage space,” Saltman explains.
As for what’s suitable to stash underneath, Saltman recommends the following:
- Out-of-season clothes and shoes, such as bulky winter outerwear, jackets, boots, hats and scarves
- Infrequently used items, including flannel bedding, winter sweaters and beach towels
- Seasonal décor items, such as holiday decorations
- Toys that your children have outgrown but you want to save or pass on to the next child.
“It’s also a good place to store items that are too large for your closet or dresser,” adds Avila.
Think twice about stashing anything beneath the bed that is sensitive to dust – such as delicate fabrics or electronics – items that emit strong odors, like shoes, and objects or clothes that you need to access daily or weekly.
“I would also avoid putting items down there that are very heavy, as you could get injured trying to maneuver a heavy container out from under your bed, as well as anything fragile, which could be damaged if your bed shifts or collapses,” advises Alemi.
Per Saltman, among the best types of storage containers are plastic bins with covers and wheels (to prevent scratching your floors and to aid in quick bin retrieval), cloth bins with firm sides that have a zippered cover, bins that have sections to hold your shoes, and vacuum-sealed bags that enable you to store bulky items while taking up less space.
“I recommend using containers that are big enough to access easily. For example, four larger containers are easier to get to than 10 smaller containers,” adds Alemi. “A bin should be wide enough that it extends from the edge of your bed to the middle of the bed. This way, you only have one row of bins on each side of the bed. You don’t want to have to dig through layers of bins to get the one that is in the middle of the bed.”
Still lack sufficient storage space, even after maximizing your under-bed square footage? Consider adding a dresser to your closet, employing hanging systems on the back of your closet door, using a storage ottoman or placing a storage chest at the end of your bed.