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When aiming to increase the storage areas in your home, keep three things in mind; organize, prioritize, and maximize space. There are many places in your house that you probably haven't considered for storage. At the same time, there are probably storage spaces that you haven't taken full advantage of. Use these simple steps, suggestions, and creative ways of thinking to get your home organized, create new storage, and efficiently use the storage spaces that you already have.

1) The first step is always to get rid of the things that you really don't need or use. We all accumulate things over time that we don't necessarily need to keep forever. Be picky about what you allow to "rent" your valuable storage space. If you have a lot of magazines, books, and other usable media, think about donating it. If you want to keep certain articles, use a 3-ring binder. Pull the page out, punch the holes and save the article. Don't keep the whole magazine. You can donate office supplies to schools or churches. Clothing, shoes, purses and formal wear can be sold on consignment or donated to various organizations.

2) When you organize, get rid of what you can and categorize the rest by how long you will store it. If it is something irreplaceable, like an heirloom, your high school yearbook, or your grandmother's china, pack it carefully and store it somewhere high and out of reach. If you won't be accessing it very often, it's okay if you have to use a step ladder to get to it. Label the box or container clearly so that you won't have to get it down to see what is inside. Things that need to be stored, but not forever, can go a little lower. This includes things like out of season clothing, sports equipment, and craft supplies. Store the things that you will use the most often within reach. Again, label everything. It's better to use a lot of small, clearly labeled containers instead of huge boxes that are hard to move and find things in.

3) Maximize your space by installing organization systems in your closets. The top shelf should be very high so that you can use the space right near the ceiling. Many people neglect to use this space and it goes wasted. Consider putting the top shelf really high and extend it all the way around the closet. There should still be room for another shelf and one to two rows of hanging space. Smaller shelves can be installed around the corners of the closet and in columns between hanging clothes.

4) When everything has a place, it is easier to maintain the organization. You can also make space by using space saving clothes hangers. Cascading hangers and coordinate hangers can help you to create even more space. You should still use a wood hanger for coats and suits so that they don't lose their shape.

About the Author: Joe Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for wholesale clothing hangers.