Okay, this may seem obvious, but I really don’t think people use shelves to their full potential when they’re storing things. Sure, if people have cellars or cold rooms, there are shelves in there for jars and cans and stuff, but think about the junk room in your parents’ basement. If it’s anything like my parents’ (and don’t tell them that I said this), the space isn’t really used to its full potential, it’s kind of just … full of stuff. There are a few bookshelves in there with a whole bunch or crap on them, but I am talking about using some seriously effective shelving here, like really effective, like how residential plumbers use their tools.
I’m talking shelving along three of the walls, separated by partitions, organised by type of crap. Just think about how beautiful it could be. All the stuff on the floor or shoved under some desk could be on the wall, up out of the way, and visible. You could actually walk around to get to things you need, instead of taking one look inside the room and deciding whatever it is that I’m trying to get at simply isn’t worth crawling through the mess of stuff in there. Which is, admittedly, what sometimes happens. Again, don’t tell my parents I’m sharing this with you. And it is just one room, after all.
I think that the key would be actually attaching wall-length shelves along all the walls, as opposed to bookshelves, because then you can set your own height and there’s no barriers stopping you from putting as many things in a row as you want, or putting something particularly long on the shelves. I don’t know, maybe you collect katana or something. If so, though, you should have those hanging on a wall somewhere, on display, because that’s really cool.
Nice thing about making your own shelves is, first of all, as I said above, that you can choose how much space you have in between them. And you can vary that space from shelf to shelf! You can get all creative with it! And you don’t have to stick to wood, either. You can get an industrial look with some good old metal wire shelves, like you might find in a warehouse. Or, if you want to have a seriously classy storage room, I guess you could do glass? But I feel that maybe I would stay away from glass shelves for storage, not because you’re the only who’ll be seeing them (that would be a silly reason, because you deserve the room to be beautiful just for you!), but because I’d suggest going with something a little more solid and sturdy.
And last but not least, remember to make them your own! Yes, the material and spacing and sturdiness is important, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t make them fun! Paint them nice colours, stagger the shelves from wall to wall to make it a little funky, arrange your stored things in a fun order. The nice thing about a storage room is that you can go a little crazy with the decorating, and rest assured that it’s a room for your eyes only.