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Homeowners, especially those with young kids, know the stress of trying to keep a house organized. From piles of papers on desks (or worse, on kitchen counters or the dining room table) to toys or clothes (or both) covering the floor, many families are in desperate need of more, better storage solutions. One of the most dangerous places for clutter to pile up is on and around the stairs, where you run into the risk of tripping over the piles and potentially falling and injuring yourself. But as the only transitional space between the downstairs and upstairs, it’s exactly the place where clutter would collect. So what do you do?

Well, the secret to finding more storage and reducing the clutter around the stairs is to actually incorporate storage solutions in and around your stairs. Not only will this leave you with a central location to keep items in, but it’ll also make storing toys, books, or paper fun and creative (rather than creating more piles to be carried to other locations for storage. Check out these ideas to get you started:

Stair Drawers

Most staircases, while necessary, also create and take up unused space below the steps. Instead, why don’t you install drawers below the stairs? Each step provides a new space for a pull out drawer, which you can adorn with stylish hardware to add some extra interest to the staircase. Just remember to close the drawers when you’re done (or else it sort of defeats the purpose of added safety)!

Cupboard Under the Stairs
If the side of your stairs is just a blank wall, there’s a good chance there’s at least a few feet of empty space behind that wall. Leave the wall but find a place to install a door and clean out the space for an extra cupboard underneath the staircase. The subtle, out-of-sight storage is perfect for extra sports equipment and boxes of papers and files alike.

Shelving Under the Stairs
If you’ve found that extra space behind the wall but you don’t want to keep the blank wall, consider taking it down (talk to a contractor about maintaining the stability of the stairs, of course), finishing the space underneath, and adding some open shelving or a low bookcase. The additional storage, while helpful on its own, can also contribute to some stylish interest around the stairs. If you’re really handy, you can also opt to build some built-in shelving for books or keepsakes; not only will the entire area look streamlined and thought out, but you have more control over the number, shape, and size of the shelves you add (go for a tiered look at the top to mirror the ascent of the stairs).

(As a side note, this option also works if you decide not to take down the wall. Rather, the shelves would be built into the wall so as to be flush with the outside railing of the staircase, which is also a stylish option to think about, particularly if taking down the wall would result in a small, dark corner far from other sources of light.)



Ok, ‘cubbies’ sound a little childish, but they can be mature and stylish too! These cubbies are ones that you install in the wall below the stairs or, if you want to get really creative, on the underside of exposed staircases, so that they appear to hang from the ceiling area under the staircase and provide some open storage areas a little different than simple open shelving.

Get Creative!
No matter which option you choose, there’s always room for innovation and creativity! Maybe your staircase is the perfect spot for a built-in bookcase that ascends with the stairs, or maybe you have a custom-made set of free-standing shelves in mind. Either way, focusing on finding storage solutions around the stairs can keep your stairway from becoming a cluttered mess…and it may just save your life (or at least your wallet from a ton of medical bills)!


Written by Ty Leisey, also writer for towncontractors, a company that helps homeowners connect with reliable contractors for their home improvement projects.