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September 30, 2019

Landlords and real estate investors alike aim to attract more tenants while increasing their property's value. One way to do this is through installing extra storage options, especially when your units run on the small side.

Renters love knowing a small apartment can allow them ample space for their belongings without offering outdated or impractical storage solutions. And as the owner, you want to ensure all your property upgrades are valuable and useful.

The key to any rental update is ensuring it has a long-lasting value for residents and will remain practical long after fads cycle out. Luckily, storage is unlikely to fall out of favor any time soon. Here are six functional storage updates to add to your property:

1. Closet Organization

Closets are one of the first places to consider upgrading since this is where many tenants try to squeeze in extra space. Install small pantry shelves for added storage — long shelving can take up more space than it saves.

Integrate them into a track system where tenants can easily slide shelves in and out. The closet door also serves as an optimal space for landlords to create more room. Attach pantry baskets to it or use pegboards for vertical storage.

2. Above-Doorway Shelf

Install a shelf above the bedroom, bathroom or closet doorways for an out-of-the-way space to place decor and store supplies. These shelves can also serve as valances for tenants who'd like to dress up their entryways.

If you can spring for it, recessed shelving can create a streamlined look that fits into the wall. When installing recessed shelving, take into account the size the shelves need to be to accommodate books. Match the shelving to the wall color or choose another hue — such as the cabinetry — for an eye-catching accent.

3. Clever Cabinetry

Let tenants store wastebaskets and kitchen tools by using pull-out containers and drawers in the kitchen. Pull-out containers hide unsightly trash cans while freeing up floor space. Use a center mount system for the drawer slider for easy accessibility. For a fun aesthetic choice, attach the cabinet door to the sliding mechanism so it pulls out along with the trash receptacle.

Cabinet doors can double as storage solutions if you attach towel racks to them — tenants can store pot lids and hanging utensils here. Installing expandable shelving inside your cabinets is slightly more intricate, but provides more space than a towel rack. You could also combine the two styles to offer multiple options.

4. Built-In Bookcase

Build a bookcase into a wall or corner by using a recessed base and a face frame. Book-loving tenants will love the idea of a unit ready-made with a bookcase. Alternately, renters can use the shelving for any purpose — storing picture frames, small decor or miniature plants. Built-in shelving looks best in a living room or even a bedroom, although you can add to it virtually any space.

5. Medicine Cabinet

Install medicine cabinets so tenants have a space for personal goods without leaving them on the counter. This solution frees up counter space, allowing renters to have a clean look in their bathroom while keeping their toiletries tucked away.

You may think of the clunky medicine cabinets of the past, but many now come in modern designs to seamlessly fit into any bathroom. Go with a single mirror version or install a bi- or tri-view type for added storage.

6. Laundry Room Shelf

If your units have laundry rooms, you can increase storage space in them by installing a shelf with a closet rod. Renters can have a place to put their detergent and other laundry supplies as well as hang their clothes to dry or iron. This storage project requires few materials — a shelf, a closet rod and some brackets — which makes it quick and easy to install in multiple rentals.

You can try this trick even if your units don't have laundry rooms — tenants can use it as a coathanger and storage for other goods.

Practical Storage Solutions for Landlords and Tenants

These ideas provide some insight into the kind of space savers people look for when renting. Follow what you know will appeal to your renters, and use your judgment with any update to ensure its monetary worth.

About the Author: Holly Welles covers real estate topics for the up-and-coming renter or homeowner. She runs her own blog, The Estate Update, and can also be found dishing up advice over on Twitter @HollyAWelles.