It's an ongoing dilemma: What to do with all that stuff?
As consumers, we constantly add to our stash. We overwhelm our kitchen counters with small appliances. We pack closets with clothes and accessories. We overflow drawers with junk.
And when we've managed to jam every nook full, we go looking for more crannies.
"More storage; it's what everybody wants," said remodeling guru and author Steven Katkowsky. "In the kitchen, it's the No. 1 complaint."
Getting organized means is finding the right places to put stuff.
"It's definitely pretty busy for us," said Chris Upton of All Organized, roll-out-shelf specialists in North Highlands, Calif. "People want to get their homes organized."
All Organized installs roll-outs, Lazy Susans and other inventive storage solutions to modify existing cabinets.
"Most people only use the front third of their cabinets because they can't see what's back there," Upton said. "[Roll-outs] let you maximize that space."
Katkowsky routinely finds more storage in the same space. He's a big fan of Rev-a-Shelf, maker of cabinet organizers and storage systems.
During a recent home-and-garden show, Katkowsky demonstrated how to triple the usable space in a typical 5- by 7-foot bathroom. He works similar magic in kitchens.
"The space is there," he explained. "Look up, look down, left, right, in the walls. You can have five times the storage space in exactly the same size cabinets."
Helping make this transformation happen is a vast array of organizational and storage accessories.
"In the last five years, it's just exploded," Katkowsky said. "The options are endless. You can make almost anything hold more and be more convenient with some of these exciting solutions."
Our struggle to contain stuff is part of our continual crusade to be more organized.
Where to start? First, get rid of some stuff.
"Put your counters on a diet," Katkowsky said. "Do you really need all those appliances and gadgets?"
By clearing clutter, you've already created more space. Now, the challenge is to use what space you have to its fullest potential.
Where? Look up.
"Use vertical space," said HGTV designer Sabrina Soto, Target's home-style expert. "You can add valuable real estate and storage space by using the height of the room and the walls."
For example, hang a shelf above a door or window, suggest the experts from Family Handyman magazine. In a bathroom or laundry room, that space can hold towels, linens, paper goods, books, supplies — just about anything.
Wall-hung pegboards give everything a defined space in sight. Pot racks lift cookware off the counter.
Hooks can hang bicycles or garden gear, but be mindful not to overload; most storage systems have a 35-pound capacity.
Also, think of wall space as storage room.
When searching for more room, rethink the space inside closets and cabinets.
"Utilize every inch of closet space possible," Soto said. "If you can see the back wall of your closet, you're missing storage opportunities. Over-the-door shoe or belt racks are great space savers."
And when it comes to closets, divide and conquer.
"Fabric storage bins are the easiest way to make any closet look immaculately organized," Soto said. "They are easy to stack and slightly flexible and therefore more forgiving to oddly shaped closets."
Instead of a bookcase or cabinet, consider wall-hung shelves for added (and handy) display or storage space. Such shelves can "float" on a wall where needed.
"Floating shelves are one of my favorite shared-home solutions," Soto said. "Without sacrificing floor area, they give you extra space and let you get creative."
Katkowsky suggests another option: Look inside the wall.
"There's 4 inches or more of space inside every wall," he said. "You can carve out a recessed nook."
While using every inch, consider other "wasted" space. The gap between the washer and dryer might accommodate a rollaway storage cart.
Inside a kitchen or bathroom cabinet, suspend a dowel, suggests Family Handyman. Then, hang spray bottles from this simple rack.
It's another step to storage sanity.