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posted: 4/14/2013 1:00 AM

Illuminate storage spaces to make finding items easier

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  • The best way to make sure you use your storage most efficiently is to light it properly.

      The best way to make sure you use your storage most efficiently is to light it properly.
    courtesy of Pegasus Lighting

  • Mount this LED with motion sensor under cabinets or between shelves to shed light on dark areas and make full use of the space.

      Mount this LED with motion sensor under cabinets or between shelves to shed light on dark areas and make full use of the space.
    Courtesy of Pegasus Lighting

By Christine Bockelman
CTW Features

Even the most organized people can misplace things. That's because the places we put our stuff -- closets, drawers, cabinets -- usually are some of the darkest in the house.

"If we cannot see it, we forget it, and we do not use it," says Isabella Guarjardo, a professional organizer and owner of Bella Organizing in Oakland, Calif.

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However, recent advances in lighting technology make it easier to stay organized, by brightening up every nook and cranny of the house.

"Effective task lighting enables you to organize your things better," says Shelley Wald, president of WAC Lighting in Port Washington, N.Y.


End the agony of trying to figure out if that sweater is black or navy by adding more lighting to the closet.

Microfluorescent fixtures, named because the fixture itself is not much bigger than the light bulb, can be placed around the doorway to dramatically brighten the often-windowless closet space. The fixtures also can be linked to each other to provide homeowners a semi-custom level of brightness.

"In my home, you will see one of these on the top of the closet door, two on the left and two on the right," says Tom Farrin, president of Pegasus Lighting and Edison Lighting Fixtures in North Carolina. "It provides good floor-to-ceiling light for the closet."

Another option is a lighted closet rod, like the Kendo closet rod by Luminii. The aluminum rod -- which needs to be custom ordered and can fit lengths up to 72 inches -- has a line of LED lights on its underside that helps keep hanging items illuminated.


Anyone who has opened the refrigerator door in a pitch-black kitchen will appreciate the doorjamb light switch.

Just like the fridge, the switch is placed in the door jamb so a light will turn on when the door is opened and turn off when it's closed. This works best for pantries or walk-in storage closets.

The instant illumination has one caveat, though: It can be difficult to retrofit these into existing construction.

Shelving, small nooks

You will never misplace another book or knickknack with LED tape lights tucked underneath shelving in your home.

"LED tape is ideal for illuminating challenging spaces," Wald says. "It is energy efficient, flexible, versatile and has an extremely low profile."

The thin profile of LED tape -- some tapes are only 1/8-inch thick -- means it is almost invisible when installed.

Another bonus of LEDs is that they are incredibly long-lasting. "LEDs can last between 35,000 and 100,000 hours," Farrin says. Compare that to the 1,000 hours of a standard incandescent light bulb.

Vanities and cabinets

Blindly waving a hand around a cabinet to find a bar of soap or extra towel is much more productive now, thanks to motion-sensor LED lights, which are tiny enough to tuck into vanities under the bathroom sink.

"All you have to do is put your hand in there and the light will automatically go on," Farrin says.

Another plus: The lights are battery operated, so they are simple to install almost anywhere.

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