This post by our organizing expert, Monica Ricci, had been a reader favorite since 2014.
As a certified professional organizer, I’ve been in thousands of homes and apartments helping my clients take back control of their lives. One theme that always shows up in my work is my advice to look for as many ways as possible to use wall and door space. Your walls and doors can help you get organized, and also make any room cozier and more personalized. Trouble is, when you live in an apartment, you want to avoid putting holes in the walls, moldings and doors. Here are ten ways to use your vertical spaces for storage and decor with nary a hammer or nail in the mix.
1. We Montage
I’m listing this resource first because it’s my new favorite thing! Forget about nail holes, you don’t even need framed or actual photos to turn an entire wall into a gallery! Just upload your high quality digital photos to We Montage and they’ll make you a gorgeous self-adhesive collage that won’t damage walls and can be removed and re-used when you find a new place to live!
2. Brick Clips
If you live in one of those cool old loft spaces with exposed brick good for you! Such character! Don’t let your brick walls go unused though just because your landlord says “No holes!” Try a few brick clips to hang your favorite piece of art right on the face of the brick without drilling into it.
These handy dandy hooks are available in clear or white plastic as well as metal finishes and are one of my go-to products to use with clients. You can use them to hang towels, fashion accessories, dog leashes, baseball hats, mops, brooms and nearly anything else without a single nail hole. When it’s time to move out, the 3M adhesive removes cleanly from most surfaces, including drywall.
4. Poster Putty
Used to be poster putty was just for sticking your favorite teen heartthrob posters to your bedroom walls. These days, it’s a different story. Poster putty has come a long way baby and you can use it to display lightweight picture frames or small canvas artwork on your walls. Just pull a few pieces off the block, stick it to a clean surface on the back of your artwork, then press it onto the wall. It’s not designed to hold much weight, so use it only to hang lightweight items. It’s also handy for tacking up temporary items such as party decorations.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an old converted house like I and many of my friends did in our Philadelphia years, you may be lucky enough to have picture molding running around the top edge of your walls. Nab yourself some picture wire andpretty molding hooks, snap them onto the top of your picture molding and you’re all set to hang (and change) art to your heart’s content.
6. Shoe Bags
Make the most of the vertical spaces we often ignore — the back of a door. A hanging vinyl or fabric shoe bag will store and organize everything from shoes to crafting items, hair doodads, small hand tools, individually packaged snacks, baby items, makeup, and toiletries. If you don’t have a door, try hanging the bag on a section of wall. If it won’t fit, just slice it vertically or horizontally and hang it that way.
7. Straight Pins
Straight pins? Yep. Believe it or not, a simple stainless steel straight pin will hold wall art. Push one into your drywall at a 45-degree angle, leaving as little of the pin sticking out as possible and you can hang framed items as heavy as a few pounds. When you move out, just remove the art, pull the pin out of the wall and the hole that’s left is so small nobody will ever know it’s there.
Who says the wall is the only way to display your favorite painting, drawing or lithograph? Why not use the floor instead with a lovely display easel in a corner? The upside (besides the lack of nail holes to repair) is that you can move your art to a new spot any time you feel the urge, or swap out the item you’re displaying in a heartbeat. It offers so much flexibility and when it’s time to move, you’re sure to get your deposit back!
If you like 3M Command Hooks, you’ll love the Command Sticky Nail Wireback Hangers too! Specially designed to hang frames with stretched wire across the back, these hangers attach to the wall with the patented 3M Command adhesive to hold strong and remove cleanly. In fact, they’re rated to hold up to eight pounds!
10. ELFA Shelving
Talk about a tried-and-true “go-to” product, the ELFA line has been one of my favorites since I started my business. The Container Store launched a new line of ELFA shelving that stands alone without being attached the a wall, which is perfect for apartment living! Another cool ELFA product line are their door racks. You attach a single standard to your door then snap on various size baskets and you’re golden. ELFA door racks are perfect for storing pantry food, sodas, bottled water, art and craft supplies and much more. Design your own using their online design tool and have it shipped right to your door!
Monica Ricci is an organization expert and founder of Catalyst Organizing Solutions and has been helping people change their lives since 1998. She is the author of Organize Your Office In No Time and was named one of the nation’s “Organizing Elite” by Forbes Magazine. Monica is a Certified Professional Organizer and she sits on the committee that created her industry’s only professional certification program. She is a winner of her industry’s highest honor, the National Association of Professional Organizers Founders Award. You can also follow Monica on Twitter.