The storage under the stairs...
August 18, 2018 7:40 AM   Subscribe

How can I maximize the functionality of storage space under stairs? All of the options I see online are to access from the side, but our under-stair storage is via a door that opens into the underbelly of the stairs, if that makes sense. So, you open the door (that's about five feet high) and see a downward-sloping ceiling. The walls and ceiling are finished, and we rent so can't build in any sort of drawers/shelves/etc. Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by stillmoving to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you! I should add we would like to use this for not long-term storage, but stuff we need more regularly, but not every day. So, kitchen-y things like food processor/waffle maker, extra soda cans, paper towels, etc. So large covered bins would not be as user-friendly.
posted by stillmoving at 7:53 AM on August 18, 2018

Make a list of what is in each bin and a map of how you’ve stacked them.

I have the same opening! Take a photo of the contents of each container and store them on/in an easily accessible drive/document. (I have long term at the back, regular usage at the front.)
posted by humph at 8:00 AM on August 18, 2018

We had a space like this at my old workplace. Being a library, we stored everything in there on old library carts. It was really helpful to be able to pull the cart out of the dark, low closet so that we could find what we needed. So if you need stuff out of there regularly, wheels will be your friend.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:09 AM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

What about getting a couple of RÅSKOG utility carts? You could make a "kitchen" cart with extra appliances and an "extras" cart for smaller, less bulky items.
posted by Mouse Army at 8:10 AM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

And: put foam on low overhangs where you will hit your head. Cut apart some of those pool noodles and fit them to the underside of the stairs if you have to.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:10 AM on August 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

You say you're renting and can't install shelves, but what about stacking a set of brick/cinderblock & board shelves? You could use boards of varying depths so that the bottom shelves are deeper and then use narrower shelves as the sloping ceiling encroaches.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:12 AM on August 18, 2018

My previous apartment had this situation, and I purchased several sets of modular cube wire storage (representative link), and assembled the cubes into stairstep shaped unit that ran along one wall, leaving the other side as an aisle. I purchased clear plastic bins that fit in the cubes, some full height, and some half-height, so that I could stack two in a section. Larger items just went in a cube directly. That allowed me to use the height, but not have to unstack much to get at a bin on the bottom. Since they were translucent, I could roughly identify the contents by eye, and so long as I was good about grouping the items into bins sensibly, I could lay hands on whatever I needed quite quickly. Towards the back was seasonal stuff, and I had some large tubs in the 'aisle', since I didn't mind dragging the tubs out of the way to get to the seasonal stuff.
posted by yuwtze at 8:14 AM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

To really maximize the storage I'd build a custom triangular-shaped cabinet that fills the entire space, but is mounted on casters or wheels so you can pull the whole thing straight out and access whatever shelving or drawers you build into it.
posted by beagle at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Check out Elfa's freestanding storage - here's a search that includes "kitchen." It might give you ideas about how to utilize that with other systems or approaches.
posted by amanda at 12:57 PM on August 18, 2018

Our house has one of these, which makes a U-turn under the lowest flight of stairs. That part of the space is very inconvenient to access, so it's strictly long-term storage. To save your head, consider hanging a bump cap inside the door. It's lightweight hardhat; you can buy one for a few bucks.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:53 AM on August 19, 2018

Thanks for all of the suggestions. Marked as best the one that may, well, work best for us.
posted by stillmoving at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2018

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