Double Your Space with Helper Shelves

One of my favorite organizing products is the helper shelf. You may not be familiar with the term, but I bet you have seen helper shelves in action.

Do you have different size dishes piled on top of each other in the cabinet but you’re tired of moving the smaller dishes every time you want to get to the larger ones? Then you need a helper shelf. It provides a higher surface for the smaller dishes but still gives you access to the larger ones. Here’s an example of a helper shelf:

Helper shelves work in spaces that are much taller than the items you want to store. In addition to dishes, they are helpful for cups, glasses, cans, and spices. Once you become aware of them, you’ll start noticing places in your home where they would be useful.

I was using helper shelves in my refrigerator to provide extra storage for shorter items. However, when I got a new refrigerator recently as part of my still-ongoing renovation, I found that I no longer needed them. I didn’t know where I would use them, but I knew that they would come in handy somewhere, so I put them aside and stayed alert to an opportunity to redeploy them.

The opportunity came when I was reorganizing the cabinet next to my computer desk. Long-time readers may remember that in 2020, I redid my home office, including donating my childhood desk and replacing it with a cabinet that doubled as a printer table. (See Transforming My Home Office.) That cabinet is full of office supplies and was starting to get a little unwieldy. Every time I took something out, everything shifted and needed to be straightened up again.

When I sat down on the floor to reorganize it recently, I remembered my helper shelves. Now I can pull out items out of the right side of the cabinet without disturbing everything else.

Helper shelves come in many different heights and widths, so be sure to measure your space and your items before shopping for them. Some of them have adjustable widths, which might work best for your cabinet. If you have a really tall cabinet, you can get helper shelves that are designed to stack on each other. You’ll find plenty of options at retailers like The Container Store, Amazon, and Wayfair.