Most basements, attics, and garages could echo comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s famous double-negative lament, “I don’t get no respect.” They’re often casual catch-ails instead of orderly storage areas. Stuff piles up too quickly. But once you dig to the bottom of it, you’ll be amazed at the space available. The trick is to use it thoughtfully. Look at the examples below, then study the opportunities in this section to reshape your catch-all areas, respectfully.

They may not look like luxuries, but attics, basements, and garages hide a wealth of storage potential. And don’t forget the great outdoors; a shed can stash loads of gear, taking pressure off other areas.

Unfinished attics or basements are logical places to store seasonal items— holiday decorations, clothes, and other things you use only occasionally—or items you’ve put into long-term storage, such as a wedding gown or baby items. These areas, along with the garage, usually become the collecting places for bulky items: bicycles and other sports equipment, patio furniture, grills, camping gear, lawn tools... The list goes on, and the space fills up.

Organization will make the space more comfortable and efficient. The major goals are to increase storage capacity and to improve access to stored possessions.

Out-of-the-way places in attics, basements, and garages often are unfinished and thus can house storage systems built of inexpensive, unfinished materials. These are ideal areas in which to experiment with woodworking projects and to perfect do-it-yourself skills. Many projects on the following pages are simple enough for the beginner or can inspire more complex projects for those with advanced carpentry skills. Lumber, plywood, and fasteners are the usual construction materials. If you have a circular saw, radial-arm saw, or table saw, you can cut the pieces yourself. If not, many home centers or lumberyards will do the heavy-duty cutting for you.

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