How to Design Your Own Storage Shelves With Cubbies

Updated February 21, 2017

Cubbies will help you create great storage in record time. Putting together these open-faced boxes to build shelving for any room in the home can be an enjoyable project. Once a design is sketched and drawn to scale for a particular space, it's easy to buy or make products for quick assembly. Premade units come in a wide range of materials, ranging from mahogany to plastic. They work well in formal spaces to hold flowers, art objects or books, as well as providing effective clutter-control storage in utility rooms and garage spaces.

Design clothing-closet space for cubbies. Use graph paper to draw each closet interior. Draw space for cubbies to fit around defined space for hanging clothes on rods. Plan room for units of cubbies to hold stacks of sweaters, T-shirts and blouses, for example. Use cubbies in units of 12 to 25 sections to hold shoes. Get ideas from closet remodelling magazines and magazines devoted to organising home storage.

Measure bathroom space for storage shelves. Install three or four large cubbies, attached to the wall, to hold towels or art objects. Create a neat look in a bathroom with all-white walls by installing white vinyl cubbies, for example. Place a section of cubbies near the floor area to hold baskets or bins for soaps or supplies. Design cubbies to fit in a bathroom closet on the back wall facing the closet door. Install the shelving on the top half of the closet only, leaving the bottom section for a clothes hamper.

Organise the kitchen and pantry area with cubbies. Build a small system of cubbies on a kitchen wall to hold small indoor plants or vines. Use cubbies that match the finish of the kitchen cabinets. Install open shelving units of cubbies in a pantry room just off the kitchen for stackable canned goods or kitchen towels. Plan to add units of cubbies in a pantry room to organise pots and pans. Store individual pots, pans and large bowls in cubbyholes so they are easy to find during cooking.

Use cubbies to make the family room neat. Buy units resembling bookcases with defined sections for items such as books and media equipment. Stack DVDs or CDs in the shelving so that labels are easy to find. Create a shelf of cubbies to organise books and magazines, dedicating one cubbie to each family member to make it easy for everyone to locate personal reading materials. Use a deep basket tucked into a unit of cubbies to store small toys or playing cards.

Develop a storage system in the garage. Buy plastic cubbies and stackable bins to store clutter. Use a row of shelving with cubbies at floor level for garden boots and pet supplies, and another row on top of the first to store small cans of paint, car washing supplies and house cleaning products. Provide labels for each bin, so that family members can help maintain the neatness. Use a section of cubbies for storing newspapers to recycle or items to donate to charity.


Buy cubbies made of smooth materials, such as finished wood or fabric-covered particle board, for clothes closets. Make sure the surfaces will not snag clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Closet remodelling magazines
  • Organising-the-home magazines
  • Sketch pad
  • Graph paper
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.