If you feel like you’re running out of space in your home, you might be overlooking valuable real estate!
If you have a room or a space that feels like it’s bursting at the seams (and you’ve already done the process of pruning your belongings), utilize adjacent spaces to make more room! Adjacent spaces are those that are near (or connected to) the space with easy flow and access.
Some of the most non-maximized adjacent spaces in the home are the hallways. You can make more room in your home by turning your hallways into useful spaces.
Of course, this strategy depends on the layout of your home and the size of your hallways. Imagine you’re looking down on the contents of your home from above…this birds-eye view can reveal whether your hallway layouts would provide additional “overflow” space for nearby rooms that are bursting.
Taking this “aerial view“ of your home and planning for flow and for usability is a strategy I explain further in Reclaim Your Life and Get Organized for Good.
Here are some creative ways I utilize my own hallways in my home, along with some other ideas to put your hallways to work!
I have two wide hallways off my kitchen that I have transformed into useful spaces for my family.
The first way I make more room in my home is with my FAMILY CENTER
Because we homeschool, we needed to make more room for daily family systems:
- kids memory books
- photo albums
- Reading progress
- Extracurricular activities
By adding purposeful bulletin boards and a narrow storage cabinet, we were able to turn this under-utilized space into a family center.
Because we are using this space for kids’ systems, I put frequently-referenced items at their eye level. We use a metal magnet board to hold our progress reports and current projects so it can easily be changed out with each new focus in our curriculum.
If you’re considering commandeering a hallway in your home, here are some tips to make the most of the space:
Determine what you need to make more room for
In our case, my kitchen counters and table were overflowing with family paperwork related to homeschool, scheduling, and memorabilia. Progress charts, completed artwork, and kids’ workbooks were taking over my kitchen counter space and I wanted a clear, delineated zone (A Family Center) where all this stuff could be stored.
Use narrow shelving; consider customizing furniture or shelving to optimize the space
When setting up a storage system in a hallway, space matters! You don’t want to impede the flow of the space. Use narrow shelving and consider customizing furniture or shelving to the space.
In our Family Center, Trevor built a custom cabinet that perfectly fits the space at the base of our stairway to suit our unique storage needs.
Put things at eye level
Whenever you are utilizing wall space for a project, consider the people who will be using the space and put items at eye level. In our case, we hung our bulletin board and placed our curriculum at eye level for our boys. Instead of using a one-height-fits-all strategy, consider those who will be using the space!
Observe Above ground (grab and go, active stuff) and below ground (depositories) access
An important organizing principle when setting up systems is determining what belongs “above ground” and what should be stored “below ground”.
Above ground means items are in a grab and go location that is visible. This is for items that require ACTION. Placing active items “above ground” keeps them in view, serving as a reminder of what needs to happen.
Below ground means items that are stored out of sight. This is for items that are for reference that need to be retained, but that are completed. In our storage cabinet, this includes memorabilia, completed artwork, writing samples and more that we want to keep for reference, but that no longer need action taken on them.
Tip: Avoid putting active items below ground! We know that 85% of us are visual! So out of sight (aka below ground) means out of mind for many of us! In your quest for pristine surfaces, resist the urge to stash your active items in a drawer or tray. Keep active items in-view and above ground.
The other hallway I transformed to make more room is my KITCHEN HELPER NOOK
Our farmhouse kitchen is a main flow-through space in our home. It’s also a gathering place for family, friends, and close business partners. Leading into my kitchen is a wide hallway that holds our laundry room and butler’s pantry. I reclaimed space in this breezeway for items that didn’t fit into our kitchen, but that I needed easy access to.
In this adjacent hallway, I created a Kitchen Helper Nook that includes:
- Jars and vessels that I use on a daily basis
I love collecting vintage glass vessels and jars. While these items are often used in my kitchen, they didn’t need the valuable real estate within my kitchen cabinets. However, I didn’t want to hide them away in a closet, either! I believe in displaying and enjoying your collections (link to blog).
The solution I created is to display these gorgeous jars on a bookshelf in my kitchen helper nook. They are close enough to the kitchen for easy access and they are within view so they can be enjoyed and used!
- Recycling center
I also use my wide hallway for my recycling center. As I mentioned, we do a lot of hosting in our kitchen, and the idea of a line of recycling and garbage bins was not appealing. I wanted these items to be out of the space, so the adjacent hallway is perfect.
I have separate, clearly labeled receptacles with lids. The labels help ensure everyone (kids and guests included) knows what belongs in each bin. The lids keep the area looking nice!
Other Ideas for optimizing your hallways:
- Memory Lane – create a gallery wall of photos to create an artful and intentional display. Ingather all family photo albums to a narrow bookshelf in this hallway and everyone in your family will enjoy walking through “Memory Lane” several times a day!
- The VESTibule – Are your closets stuffed with coats, vests, and jackets? Create a mud room out of a wide hallway. Line the length of the wall with large hat hooks to expand storage and give each family member a dedicated number of hooks for the coats worn each season (the rest can be rotated through closets). On the floor below, use boot trays or shoe racks to capture errant shoes that get kicked off throughout the house and cause traffic hazards!
- Study Hall– In a well-lit and wide hallway, you could even gain additional workspace by installing a wall mounted desk (there are even versions that fold down when not in use) and wall-mounted shelving for extra workspace. This can make useful study space!
Create more space for living
Getting creative with the space you have prevents overstuffed rooms and backed-up counters. By putting adjacent spaces to work in your home, you can make more room for living!
Observe what kind of “overage” is piling up in your home and enlist hallways to expand your storage. In doing so, you’ll simplify your other rooms and create distinctive “zones” where the necessities of life can be managed more effectively.
I hope you’re inspired to optimize a hallway to make more room in your home and reclaim your space!
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- For further help understanding what’s behind your disorganization, read Reclaim Your Life and Get Organized for Good
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