clever use of tension rods to organize spools of coloful ribbon

Clever Ways to Use Inexpensive Tension Rods to Organize Small Spaces

A tension rod is one of the world’s most underrated tools. Used well, they can perform a variety of functions to corral clutter keeping one’s household spaces beautifully organized. Typically used to hang curtains, there are so many clever ways to put tension rods to good use. They’re easy to install and won’t leave marks on walls or in drawers, cupboards, and closets. And best of all? They’re surprisingly inexpensive—cheap!

clever use of tension rods to organize spools of coloful ribbon

What is a tension rod?

Typically used to hang a shower curtain, a tension rod is a metal or plastic rod that uses a spring mechanism to hold itself in place, as long as it’s positioned between two smooth, level surfaces. This type of rod does not require any hardware to install or specific know-how. It’s easy for almost anyone to install and use.

Tension rods work best on narrow windows and spaces, typically up to 48-inches. In wider spaces, a rod with a smaller diameter tends to sag in the center. Using a rod with a larger diameter (think, shower curtain rod), can help you span wider areas without sagging.

What size tension rod do I need?

You should use a rod that’s longer than what you need when fully expanded. For example, if you need to fill a 24-inch space, get a rod that can expand up to say 28-inches. Tension rods always indicate on the label or package the minimum and maximum length. Make sure you measure the space you’re planning to install the tension rod before you head for the store or website. Don’t guess.

Create Sections in Drawers

Installing simple tension rods inside a drawer can keep things like spices or other food storage containers, clothes items, or desk supplies in place within a drawer.

Once you set tension rods in place, you can change your mind no problem. They are easily rearranged until you get it just right.





Make a Shelf

tension rod hack in cupboard

Image: Joe Lingman

By adding a tension rod inside a cupboard you can make good use of its vertical space.

To instantly double your spice cupboard’s capacity, all you have to do is put a tension rod at the back above the very back top row of spices. That makes the perfect space for your smaller spice jars, and you’ll be able to see your entire collection at once. Worried about balancing? Install two or more tension rods close together to make that back top row more stable. So easy!

Organize Accessories

Image: Pinterest

Install a tension rod in any nook or cranny where you have two secure parallel solid surfaces. Make sure the tension rod is secure.

Next, add simple S-hooks and let the organization begin!

You can hang all kinds of accessories such as purses, jewelry, scarves, belts, bags, hats, and more!



Double Undersink Space

Image: Pinterest

Is that mess under the sink driving you nuts? It’s so hard to see what’s in there, right? Here’s a very easy way to fix that. Get a sturdy tension rod.

Position the rod high enough so that when you hang spray bottles by their sprayer arms, they don’t interfere with other supplies and equipment you place on the floor of the cabinet. Now, organize everything to see how that works. If the rod is too low or perhaps too high to make this work well, adjust its location until it is perfect.



Make a Paper Towel Holder

paper towel holder tension rod

Image: Pinterest

Can’t find a decent paper towel holder that’s the perfect size, will tuck away out of sight but not fall off every time you dare to use it? Here’s your solution.

Install a tension rod in the cabinet, vanity, or other location of choice where you have those sturdy side walls. Now slip on the paper towel roll as you change the toilet paper in the bathroom. So easy.

To change the roll, loosen the rod tension, slip off the old roll, and replace it with a new roll. Reinstall the rod and you’re good to go.





Tension rods are available in many places such as dollar stores, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. They come in many sizes from as small as 12-inches up to 12 feet! As you shop, make sure you are matching quality with need.

Here are a few online options:




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2 replies
  1. Paulette Braga says:

    What a great idea about the tension rods. I sew so I always need more space. Not that I’m a fabric or stash person, But you have given me a wonderful idea.

    Thank you


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