How to organize under the bed — put that dead space to use

Make the most of your bedroom's untapped storage potential

An image of a ratten under bed storage caddy peaking out from under a wooden bed frame
(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Figuring out how to organize under the bed can feel like a job you want to keep on the back-burner forever. Whilst it might be a space that's out of sight, keep it firmly in mind to avoid hap-hazard misuse of this potential-filled area.

Easily forgotten, it's a magnet for clutter and mess. Think odd socks, crumpled tissues, and mounds of dust. Although challenging to keep tidy, our panel of expert organizers say it's entirely possible, and a great space for storage solutions.

Our six expert-approved tips for making best use of the space under the bed will make sure you have an organized bedroom

How to organize under the bed

According to professional organizer, Leslie Kilgour, the underbed area are prone to clutter. She explains, “It can become really messy if not organized."

Whether you install built-in under bed storage solutions or get creative with a DIY approach, our experts know it’s possible to maximize this space and get on top of the mess once and for all with the right bedroom storage solutions

1. Start by decluttering

An image of a neutral bedroom showing a beige bed with a scalloped edge headboard

(Image credit: @tokyotolagirl)

Before you can organize things, it’s worth dedicating time to decide what to get rid of. Having a good purge will help reclaim vital space.

Leslie says, “The first step in organizing under the bed is to take everything out from underneath it.”

Cleaning expert, Karina Toner agrees, explaining that it pays to assess each item’s necessity. She says, “Discard or donate items that are no longer needed or used.”

By sorting through the items under your bed, you’ll make the process of decluttering your small bedroom a far easier affair. To make the process a little faster, set up two large crates to toss items into, one for things you want to kee, and the other for the bits you’re happy to get rid of. 

2. Clean and assess

Under the bed is one of those areas in your bedroom that you’re probably forgetting to clean, so it’s worth giving it a once over before you start organizing. 

Leslie says, “When everything is out from under the bed, sweep or vacuum, and then start assessing how much space you actually have.” 

It’s important to consider factors like how wide and how high your bed frame is and determine how much room there is to work with before committing to any placement or storage solutions.

To ensure you map out the area correctly, grab a tape measure (this 16 foot self-locking tape measure from Amazon should do the trick) and get the exact sizes. 

3. Categorize items

An image of a bed with a wooden storage drawer sticking out from underneath it

(Image credit: Bed, Bath and Beyond)

Before storing items, group them together sensibly to maintain order going forward. them. 

Leslie advises, “Categorize items based on how much you use them, and how often you will have to pull them out from under the bed. 

"Put frequently used items towards the front of the space to ensure easy access, while seasonal or infrequently used items can be stored towards the back.”

4. Use the best storage solutions

Leslie says, “Investing in storage solutions such as under-bed bins (such as this rattan-style under bed storage caddy from Pottery barn), drawers, or vacuum-sealed bags (these Amazon Basics vacuum storage bags come with an easy-to-use hand pump) is the next step. 

"These containers help make best use of space under the bed and keep items neatly organized and protected from dust or damage. Make sure to clearly label all containers, which will make it effortless to locate specific items when needed.”

Containers with wheels (such as this wooden under bed wheeled storage container from Bed, Bath and Beyond) make for easy access and manoeuvrability. Use shoe organizers (like these under bed shoe organizers from Walmart) with compartments to store shoes neatly under the bed. This prevents shoes from cluttering the floor and keeps them easily accessible.

Vacuum-sealed bags are perfect for storing bulky items like bedding or seasonal clothing, reduce space requirements and protect items from dust and moisture.

For storing smaller items and accessories, Karina recommends using under-bed drawer organizers to set designated spaces, and keep items ordered. 

When choosing organizing tools, Leslie adds that a key factor to consider when choosing them is whether they will be seen or not. She says, “If they are not able to be seen, I recommend using plastic bins with tight covers; you can use storage bins (such as this lidded plastic storage bin from Target) of all sizes, depending on what you are storing.

“If the storage will be seen, use some baskets, and store items in vacuum sealed bags in the baskets. I've seen people use cardboard boxes too, but those can wear out and rip over time, so I wouldn't use them.”

Any items that are not visible don't need aesthetic appeal and you can easily repurpose a cardboard box you already have at home. Cut it down to size for customizable free storage.

5. Take advantage of every inch of space

An image of a bed with a an open plastic storage crate with a rug in it underneath the bed

(Image credit: Target)

Karina says, “Maximize any vertical space under the bed by using stackable storage bins or drawers. Create a custom bed skirt with built-in pockets (we like this clear 16-pocket bed skirt organizer from Amazon as an easy alternative to a custom-made one) for additional under-bed storage."

Leslie adds, “Using bed risers (such as these easy-to-fit bed risers from Amazon) is a great hack for storage. I love to use these in dorm rooms or small studio apartments."

You can store everyday essentials here for easy access, and store less used items under the bed. 

Leslie says, “The best way to keep a space organized is to really think about the best use of it, choosing carefully what items it would be most beneficial to store there.”

Now you've nailed how to organize under the bed, do a thorough check for small bedroom mistakes to free up floor space and conceal away the messy things you'd love to hide from view.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.