Organizing a Utility Closet

A utility closet has no other purpose than utility—and what makes such a closet useful can vary by household. This article notes some of the ways people make use of a utility space: many of the typical contents are listed along with some suggestions for optimal ways to store them. Since not all homes have an actual utility closet for this purpose, you may find that creative use of extra space at the top and along the way down the basement stairs combined with space under the kitchen sink may work to store many of these items.

Utility Closet Contents

These are the kinds of items often found in utility closets and ideas for ways to store them.

  • Extra plastic and paper grocery bags awaiting further use

    Plastic bags can all be placed in one large bag or stored in a commercially available plastic bag storage container. Paper bags can be folded and tucked in a narrow space or slotted into a rack with dividers.

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  • Kitchen wastebasket liners, bathroom wastebasket liners, and trash can liners

    Trash liners can be stored all together in central location or separated and stored near the room where they are used. These are probably best placed on a shelf in the purchase container.

  • Cleaning implements such as:

    • Paper towels – a paper towel holder can make them easily accessible
    • Rags – can be stored in a rag bag hung from a peg
    • Bucket – easy to hang from a peg or hook
    • Mop, broom, and dust mop – hang the long handled tools from hooks
    • Dustpan – some dustpans attach to the broom handle so they travel together; others can hang by a hole in their necks
    • Whisk broom – usually has a ring for hanging
    • Scrub brush – usually has a hole for hanging
    • Sponge – candidate for bucket storage, so any remaining moisture stays contained
    • Feather duster – best hung so it doesn’t get crushed
    • Vacuum cleaner and attachments –the vacuum cleaner itself is usually well-placed on the floor; hoses and attachments (which often come in a bag) can be hung
    • Protective gloves for cleaning –can hang over the bucket edge
    • Scouring pads – on a shelf in their purchase box
    • Old toothbrush – another candidate for the bucket

  • Cleaning products, such as:

    • Glass cleaner
    • Counter cleaner
    • Oven cleaner
    • Floor cleaner
    • Floor coating (for example, acrylic or wax, depending on flooring)
    • Scouring powder
    • Metal polish
    • Furniture polish
    • Polishing cloths

    The cleaning products can be neatly arrayed on a lined shelf, or collected in a container, for example, a plastic dishpan. The liner or dishpan will keep any drips from damaging the shelving.

  • Car cleaning products and implements

    These are often most handily kept by storing them in their own separate hanging bucket which doubles as container and cleaning implement

  • Step ladder/step stool

    In order to have easy access to this, hang it on high hooks on the back of the utility closet door.

  • Grocery/laundry cart

    Depending on frequency of use and the size of the closet, a cart can hang on the door, or be stored open and hold double as a holder for other items in the closet.

  • Iron and ironing board, starch, and spray bottle for water

    While some people keep these materials in the laundry room, others, whose laundry may be in a distant corner of the basement, may prefer to have them here.

  • Laundry bags

    Candidates for storage in or around the laundry cart:

    • Aprons: Depending on number and frequency of use, these can be hung or folded and stacked on a shelf.

  • Flashlights and batteries in case of a blackout or other emergency

    Flashlights should be readily accessible and able to be found by touch if there’s a blackout.

    If the household does not have a workshop area, this may be an ideal place to store a toolbox with a basic toolkit.

    If there are children in the household, make sure that the utility closet is secured so that they cannot enter.

  • Written by Mary Elizabeth

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