8 Ingenious Ways to Organize Your Home With Tension Rods

Photo (cc) by antoniseb

Homeowners across the U.S. are drowning in their stuff — and desperately looking for ways to organize it.

Home organization products constitute an $9.7 billion industry in the U.S., according to the Freedonia Group market research firm.

But for every newfangled organizational contraption, there is often a simpler — and cheaper — solution.

The tension rod is one such solution. It lacks the novelty of the latest organizational product, but makes up for it with multi-functionality.

You can find these little wonders for less than $5 or $10 at retailers such as:

Here are eight ways to convert tension rods into anything from a filing cabinet to a spice rack.

1. Filing ‘cabinet’

Photo: The House on Hillbrook / thehouseonhillbrook.com
Photo: The House on Hillbrook / thehouseonhillbrook.com

After Stephanie Adams of the blog The House on Hillbrook found that even file cabinets at thrift stores were too expensive, she got creative with a chest she already owned.

She used tension rods to create a built-in filing system that still left plenty of storage space in the chest — all for $13, including the hanging file folders.

2. Vertical kitchen storage

Photo: Martha Stewart Living / marthastewart.com
Photo: Martha Stewart Living / marthastewart.com

Tension rods can be installed vertically between cupboard and pantry shelves for storage of large flat kitchen items like cutting boards, baking sheets and platters, as demonstrated here by Martha Stewart Living.

This helps free up space and make the items easier to retrieve than if they were stacked on top of each other horizontally.

3. Cleaning bottles holder

Photo: A Real-Life Housewife / areal-lifehousewife.com
Photo: A Real-Life Housewife / areal-lifehousewife.com

No more than a tension rod is needed to free up cabinet space while making bottles of cleaning solutions more accessible.

Kim Christensen of A Real-Life Housewife recommends spending a few extra bucks for a higher-quality rod for this project, though:

I bought the cheapest one I saw at Walmart and it is kind of flimsy. It will do the job, but it would be better if it was a little stronger.

4. Trash-bags holder

Photo: Simply Organized / simplyorganized.me
Photo: Simply Organized / simplyorganized.me

These garbage bag holders free up cabinet space and serve as a dispenser that makes it “beyond easy to grab a trash bag right from the roll,” according to Simply Organized.

The professional organizer behind the blog, Samantha Pregenzer, made these two with a dowel rod and brackets for less than $15.

5. Pot rack

Photo: Home For 4 Sweet Home / homefor4sweethome.com
Photo: Home For 4 Sweet Home / homefor4sweethome.com

Adding hooks to a tension rod adds to the types of items the rod can hold.

In this example from Home for 4 Sweet Home, S-shaped shower curtain hooks hold frying pans and other handled kitchen tools.

For more pot-rack inspiration, check out “How to Make a Small Kitchen Feel Big.”

6. Lid containment

Photo: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking / imperfecthomemaking.com
Photo: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking / imperfecthomemaking.com

For lids, try using a tension rod as a divider that keeps them upright to save space.

While this example from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking involves pot and pan lids, this organizing trick also works for lids to plastic food storage containers, according to Better Homes and Gardens.

7. Spice rack

Screenshot: Family Handyman / familyhandyman.com
Screenshot: The Family Handyman / familyhandyman.com

The Family Handyman magazine is known for its step-by-step tutorials, but this project is so simple that it could be explained in a 28-second video.

Here, the tension rod is placed high in a cabinet, about 2 inches from the top, to hold short spice jars, preventing them from getting lost among taller jars and therefore making them easier to find.

8. Spice drawer

Photo: de Jong Dream House / dejongdreamhouse.com
Photo: de Jong Dream House / dejongdreamhouse.com

If you prefer to store spices in a drawer, tension rods can be used as dividers that keep the jars neat, as shown in this example from the blog de Jong Dream House. (If you like the glass spice jars pictured here, you can find them on Amazon.)

Have you ever used a tension rod for anything besides drapes or shower curtains? Tell us about your project in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50
9 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less Than $50

These products will instantly improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Making even one of these mistakes can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age
15 Purchases That Make Life Easier As You Age

There are many products that can make getting older — or any time of life — a little easier.

Marooned at Home? Earn Some Cash Playing on Your Computer
Marooned at Home? Earn Some Cash Playing on Your Computer

Earn cash by reading emails, taking surveys, playing games, shopping and signing up for offers through this website.

10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

Sometimes it’s simply safer to keep the plastic tucked away.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.