More often than not, if you really want to maximize your space(s) for storage, you’ll have to implement/install some custom solutions that aren’t standard or included. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate smart solutions to work with the shelving/racks/etc. you already have. You totally can and as a matter of fact, even though I’m on a constant home organization journey, I probably still have more spaces that haven’t been customized than those that have. Incorporating custom solutions takes time, planning, patience, and money and to do it all at once is just about impossible (at least if you’re like me 😉 ). But, with every improved space and for every challenge addressed and every problem solved, I feel such a sense of accomplishment. And after using this specific customizable organization solution for over a decade now — in multiple homes and in more spaces than I have fingers — I’m going to share the specifics of why Elfa shelving and organizers continue to be my go-to.
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Why Elfa Shelving & Organizers are the BEST
Well, at least they are in my opinion. And, there’s not just one thing that makes them the best. It’s a combination of lots of factors but any combination of even a few of these is enough to keep me coming back tie and again every time I’m ready to tackle a closet or storage space.
Sources: Ventilated Shelf | Shelf Bracket | Bracket Cover | Closet Rod | Closet Rod Holder | Shelf Liner | Water Hyacinth Storage Basket | Tall POP Canister | Narrow POP Canister | Clear Scoop | CBlack Velvet Hangers | Kids’ Velvet Hangers | Handled Storage Basket | Hermetic Bottle | Wipe Dispenser (used here for dryer sheets)
1. Ease of Installation
Whenever I see a custom storage solution, even looking at it can seem overwhelming. The idea of replicating it seems impossible because you’re looking at the full finished area, as a whole, and can’t necessarily determine how they went from point A to Z or how you could imitate the space. The idea of measuring, all those shelves/drawers, and what seemingly would be holes all in the wall could only come from someone super skilled… right? Nope!
If you aren’t already familiar with Elfa shelving, the element that probably makes this system the most special is the unique design of how it’s installed and hung. Instead of hanging rods and shelves, you hang and anchor a single top track along the top of the top of the wall, add poles that slide onto the track, and then everything else just consists of adding brackets where needed for shelves, drawers, or hanging poles. The only drilling you have to do is the top track. You can still anchor the poles in at set widths for extra support, but depending on what space you’re working on, that may not even be necessary. This is totally different from standard shelf solutions (think Rubbermaid) you may see at standard big box stores where you have to anchor brackets to support the shelves just so. Here’s an idea of how the basic components work together.
Dave easily installed this entry closet several years ago…
2. They Can Set You Up with An Elfa Installer
You get instructions with all your components with a blueprint of the design but if it’s your first time, if it’s a larger space, or if you just want to leave it to the professionals, they can set you up with an Elfa installer. They are able to expertly adapt or pivot if something comes up unexpected in the design and sometimes, they even have extra parts on hand in their vehicle. Dave has done several smaller closets but when it comes to some of the larger spaces or projects, we’ve sprung for an installer to save time and energy. The install charge is a percentage based on the value of the space you’re installing.
We asked our builder to not install their standard wire shelving in our master bedroom and instead, had an Elfa installer out the day after we moved in to create our bedroom closet.
These pics are eight years old and I need to do an entire updated post on our closet — hopefully, that will be something we can chat more about in 2023 as we work on minimizing and decluttering.
And here’s what it looked like after our bathroom flooded and it had to be cleared out…
If you do have an Elfa installer install the system for you, they will remove your old shelving and even patch holes before hanging the new Elfa shelving.
3. The Annual Elfa Sale
All my organization overhauls with Elfa happen little by little, one project at a time, year after year. Whenever I implement an Elfa organization solution, I always try to design and order it during the annual Elfa sale — each year around the January/February timeframe. (It’s going on now!) Once upon a time, they offered 30% off Elfa — even the hardware and accessories are included — with awesome install deals. But, a couple years ago, they changed it to 20% off (25% off if you spend a certain amount). I talked to some Container Store Elfa designers and they indicated that with a change in company leadership, they didn’t anticipate it ever going back to the 30% off, but… this year, it did! You can browse all the Elfa shelving, custom solutions, components, and pre-designed wall and door spaces HERE.
Speaking of costs, customizing any space with strategic shelving, drawers, racks, and storage is an expense, but the cost of the Elfa system vs. larger closet companies is substantially less.
Our laundry room is a tight pass-through and installing Elfa shelving in here was a substantial improvement.
Sources: Extra Large Woven Laundry Basket | Ventilated Shelf | Shelf Bracket | Bracket Cover | Closet Rod | Closet Rod Holder | Shelf Liner | Water Hyacinth Storage Basket | Tall POP Canister | Narrow POP Canister | Clear Scoop | Collapsible Laundry Basket (similar) | Black Velvet Hangers | Kids’ Velvet Hangers
Sources: Easy Hang Standards | Easy Hang Tracks | Wire Shelf | | Shelf Brackets | Shelf Liner | Peg Board | Bracket Hooks (similar) | Utility Board Boxes | Label Holders | Labels | Handled Storage Basket | Hermetic Bottle | Iron
Sources: Ventilated Shelf | Shelf Bracket | Bracket Cover | Closet Rod | Closet Rod Holder | Shelf Liner | Water Hyacinth Storage Basket | Tall POP Canister | Narrow POP Canister | Clear Scoop | Collapsible Laundry Basket (similar) | Black Velvet Hangers | Kids’ Velvet Hangers | Handled Storage Basket | Hermetic Bottle | Wipe Dispenser (used here for dryer sheets)
4. The Elfa Shelving & Organization Accessories
From different components to a wide range of accessories, Elfa goes way beyond just hanging some shelves. There’s ledges and valet hooks and bins and compartment inserts and hooks and etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on and it makes customizing storage solutions even more fun.
5. Online Inspiration & Ideas
If you have a space you want to tackle but you don’t even know where to start or even what kinds of specific possibilities there may be, the Elfa galleries are so fun to browse and they give great ideas. You can find galleries of ideas from kitchens and closets to laundry and kids spaces HERE.
6. Free Design
Theres a lot of ways to design & purchase Elfa systems. You can order individual components, you can order a pre-packaged semi-custom solution, you can design your own space, or, you can set an appointment and go in-store for a free design and they place the order and pull everything you need. They’ll let you know the measurements and details to be prepared with but here’s a few general guidelines I make sure I’m prepared with.
- height* (floor to ceiling)
- height of baseboards or moldings*
- height of door(s)* — especially important if the inside of the space is much higher than the door frame so you can accommodate with taller, more shallow shelves on top)
- width of door(s)*
- ideas of anything special/specific you want to make sure you can accommodate (ex. number of shoes — heels and flats –, idea of short hang vs. long hang items; length/width of largest items to accommodate, etc.)
- photos of what you want to store (if you need ideas to share with the Elfa designer)
*absolute minimum information to have on hand
When I was working to design the laundry room (see full laundry room makeover HERE), I even measured my big Costco-sized bottles of detergent I was using at that time to make sure my shelf heights would accommodate them.
You’ll get to see a virtual design as it comes together and is adjusted — here’s an idea, with my own notes on top of Eliza’s playroom closet design mock-up.
And here’s how it ultimately looked after it was installed.
Sources: Elfa Door Racks | Elfa Closet Components | Cup Inserts | Drawer Dividers | Closet Rod | Closet Rod Holder | Bins | Black Clip Labels | Pencil Box | Abacus | Gingham Sleeping Bag | Shopping Cart
7. Adjustable/Able to Evolve
Even though I design my storage spaces pretty specific to my current needs, it’s pretty cool that all the Elfa shelving and storage solutions are so easily changeable. You can adapt to changes in sizes by popping brackets out, moving them up or down, and popping them back in (no tools necessary). or even nix certain components (like a shelf) for a totally different component (like a drawer).
If you need specifics of what you have, what you need, or want to reconfigure (or move and want to replicate your system), all your old designs and orders are saved in your account!
For Eliza’s closet, I initially designed it for an infant but she’s now three and a half years old. While the configuration still works for her little clothes, it won’t be too long before I’ll be reconfiguring part of the layout. Her triple hang on the left will likely become a double hang with an extra narrow shelf and some of her drawers will be converted to shoe pull-outs. I’ll also probably come up with ways to better utilize the top of her closet 😉 Heres her closet when it was first brought to life, before we even knew Eliza would be a she.
Sources (Closet Interior): Mounted Standard | Ventilated Shelf | Shelf Bracket | Bracket Cover | Closet Rod | Closet Rod Holder | Shelf Liner | Bracket Hooks | Valet Rod | Rattan Storage Bins | Kids’ Velvet Hangers
I found a quick shot of what it looked like shortly after she arrived here…
8. It’s Simple to Get Started/Test Out without Committing
To get your hands on Elfa organizers and actually test it out to see how it works, you don’t even have to commit to a room/closet/wall space. This will be familiar to most of you since I’ve sung its praises for years in lots of spaces, but the easiest place to start is to order a simple system for the back of a door. You don’t have to screw anything (it clamps above and below the door!) and comes with a single pole that you can easily customize by the types of baskets or accessories you want to hook to it. You can order components individually, but if you’ve never built out a door system, I really like the option of grabbing one of their pre-packaged solutions that already come with everything you need. You can browse those HERE. Again, they’re all 30% off right now.
Here’s an old snap of our bathroom linen closet — even though this photo is old, we are still using the same door system today, even after the bathroom flood. (Find the big bathroom makeover reveal HERE).
The first (and priority) door I “Elfa-ed” in my home was our small wire shelf food pantry. Due to its small size, it’s especially important to maximize space (even the doors!) I actually brought this Elfa door solution from our old house 😉 You can find this basic solution with door baskets HERE.
Sources: Over the Door Storage System | Shelf Liner | Tall Water Hyacinth Cubes | Small Water Hyacinth Baskets | POP Container Storage Set (10 pcs) | Round POP Cookie Jar | Turntable | Chalkboard Hang Tags | White Chalk Marker
Organized Elfa Spaces
Several of these posts are older since I implement these organization solutions space by space, one at a time. But, you can find some of my Elfa spaces in their original posts and reveals below…
Elfa Shelving, Organization, & Storage Spaces Still On My WishList
I still have a lot of organization makeovers on my wishlist where I’d love to incorporate Elfa shelving. Here are a few…
- hallway linen closet
- full pantry
- guest bedroom closet (with entertaining overflow)
- full primary bathroom linen closet
Again, all Elfa component and organization solutions are 30% off right now! You can check out their full range of solutions HERE.
If you’re in organization mode, you can find my full organization gallery with lots of ideas, covering a ton of spaces HERE. As I work my way through my house (and the year), focusing on living more minimally, intentionally, and in peace, I’m excited to hopefully share more of what I tackle along the way. You can subscribe to emails at the bottom of the post to stay updated and to get all the exclusive weekly stuff.