How to Utilise Awkward Spaces

By Amy Kennedy, Professional Organiser and Founder of The Organising Bee

We all have them in our home, those awkward spaces that you just don’t know what to do with. Unfortunately, they end up becoming a dumping ground.  But they needn’t be, with some clever storage solutions these awkward spaces can be just as easy to use.

Professional Organiser, Amy Kennedy from The Organising Bee explores clever ways to turn these awkward spaces into functional and practical storage spaces.


In many kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, the plumbing under the sink or basin prevents a fixed shelf from being installed. This leaves a large open space which is difficult to utilise effectively.  The installation of a non-permanent shelf or shelf helper will help. Couple that with some waterproof baskets above and below results in functionality and practicality. As an alternative, you could also look at an expandable under sink shelf.


An empty space under the stairs in the living area is also another one of those awkward spaces.  The angle of the stairs often makes it difficult to place furniture in the space. However, by adding some shelves or drawers that follow the line of the stairs, you can create a practical storage space.  If budget is a limiting factor, an easy and practical storage option is to install some cube storage units in the space under the stairs. These can be staggered in height to fit under the risers of the stairs. If you have enough height, combine the cube storage with a desk, notice board or wall mounted shelving. Therefore, you can create a command centre to store all the information that comes in and out of your home.

elfa Shelving is a flexible, fully customisable shelving system, that can be designed to fit any space. It comes with an amazing 10 year guarantee.

Nook Wine Storage can utilise your under stair space. Ask us for a free design, measure and quote.


Storage spaces or cupboards under stairs are often narrow, very long and dark which can make them difficult spaces to maintain order.  There are a number of ways to make this space less awkward.

 1. Adequate lighting

The first step is to ensure there is adequate lighting.  A simple solution is to install a wireless LED light. This can be attached with adhesive or screws.


2. Avoid storing items on the floor and look for vertical storage options

Once the lighting is in order, I advise using vertical storage solutions to make use of all the available wall space.  Once you place something on the floor, you immediately block access to the remainder of the space. However, by using the walls to store your belongings, it will ensure the entire length of the space remains functional and accessible.  The type of items that you wish to store in the space will dictate the type of organising solution.  An option like the elfa utility solution will enable you to efficiently hang items such as vacuums or brooms.

Installing wall mounted shelving toward the roofline to store items that you use less frequently in smaller tubs may also prove convenient.  Depending on the humidity of the space, it may also be a perfect place to store your wine.  A cradle wall mounted wine rack is an ideal space saving option for narrow spaces.


elfa Shelving, can be used to store almost anything.

 3. Use the back of the door

The back of the door is often an overlooked space.  Adding smaller hooks and utility baskets provides ample storage room for smaller items.

 4. Maximising under the stair storage space for long term storage

If you have wide straight stairs an option to maximise storage within the entire area under the stairs is to install some narrow shelves. These can match the treads and risers of the steps.  On each shelf you can place some underbed storage boxes on wheels.  Depending on the length of your stairs, attach a rope and pulley system to the storage boxes. This allows to make the most efficient use of the space by storing multiple boxes in front of each other.  This is a convenient option to store off-season clothing, Christmas decorations or other items.


If you have an older kitchen it is common that you may have a long narrow corner cabinet that is very low, difficult to access and even see what is in the back of the cabinet.  As a result, the cabinet often becomes dead space.  A practical solution to maximise the functionality of the space is to install a pull-out cabinet organiser, alternatively if your cabinet backs onto an open space or breakfast bar, installing a door at the back of the cabinet will allow you to reach the contents from both sides.

Quite often space or budget restricts these as viable options, in which case I always advise that my clients use several large clear flat-bottomed baskets (like the Howards Mimi Organiser Baskets) to group and store ‘like’ items together rather than placing items directly on the shelf.  This will not eliminate the problem that you can’t see what is in the back of the cabinet, but it will make it considerably easier to find and remove items without ending up with half your kitchen scattered on the floor. To help ensure you remember what you placed in each basket, you can add a small key on the inside of the cupboard door to remind you.

Amy Kennedy Professional Organiser

The Organising Bee– Canberra’s Professional Organiser & Declutterer for the family

We can assist you to become clutter free and create more time for you and your family.

Phone: 0477 233 800

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Article published June 2018. Updated February 2021.

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