15+ genius ways to use tension rods around the home

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A tension rod is a quick way to hang up a shower curtain, but there are more uses for it than privacy protection. Plastic rods are easy to wipe down with a disinfecting cloth or a simple water-and-vinegar spray.
You usually can find tension rods for purchase at big-box stores and home improvement centers. They come in a few colors, so if you don't want dirt to show on the exposed parts, avoid white.
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1. Store shoes
Place two or three tension rods a foot above the floor in a closet. They should be parallel to one another and go from front to back against the closet sides. Leave a couple of inches between rods. If you need more than one shoe rack, make a second level at least 1 foot higher than the first rack. For heels and boots, measure the shoes' heights and raise the second rack level accordingly.
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2. Store pot and pan lids
Use a short tension rod to keep lids from making a noisy escape from cupboards. Measure the depth of the lid (not including the handle) and place the rod a little farther out from a cupboard wall than that measurement. Slide the lids into the slot you created.
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3. Under-the-cupboard paper towel holder
Whether it's under a cupboard or in a cupboard, this is an inexpensive way to get a paper towel holder. In home improvement stores, holders can be pricey, even if you just want a utilitarian one. A tension rod fits the bill.
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4. Tension rod inside cupboard to elevate small bottles
If you have a bunch of small, travel-sized bottles, place a tension rod in the bathroom cupboard 1/2 inch from the back. You need a little gap between the rod and the wall so the bottles will tilt inward and not slide off the rounded rod.
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5. Tension rod curtains for closet doors
Using a tension rod is perfect if a space lacks doors, if you want to personalize the area or if you worry that closet doors might pinch a child's fingers. If you're handy with sewing, choose any fabric and design to make a drape. For those who draw blood every time they sew, purchase a ready-made curtain. If it's too long, carefully trim the bottom.
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6. Tension rod jewelry holder
Necklaces and bracelets get plenty of space to remain untangled on a tension rod. Small rods fit in a bathroom cabinet, while larger ones hold more jewelry in a closet.
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7. Tension rod curtains under desk to hide clutter
If you've taken to stashing extra cords, outdated CDs and broken headphones under the desk, give everyone's eyes a break from the clutter. Use a tension rod to hang a small curtain to hide things, then slide the curtain aside when you want to stick your legs under the desk.
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8. Tension rods to hold wrapping paper
No more crushed paper ends from being stuck upright in a box or closet. Spaced a few inches apart, each rod holds a roll of wrapping paper. This allows you to unroll the paper without having to wrangle the curled paper on the floor while you try to cut it.
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9. Tension rod ribbon rack
Like the use for wrapping paper, a rod that you add to a craft cabinet makes it easier to organize and trim things. The rod's circumference should be small so it can hold ribbon spools. Slide on the spools before attaching the rod to the walls.
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10. Tension rods to organize plastic containers
This works like the shoe rack, but instead, it's for all those extra containers that seem to magically appear after a potluck. Place two rods parallel to each other, going front to back, in a cabinet or the refrigerator. Space the rods 2 inches apart.
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11. Tension rod for hanging herb garden
Go into a dollar store during the summer, and you're likely to find small buckets with handles. These work nicely as pots for growing herbs indoors. After potting the plant or planting the seeds, gently slide the handle over a thick tension rod. Place the rod in front of a window so the herb gets plenty of sunlight.
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12. Hanging cleaning bottles
Spray bottles come with natural hooks on the nozzles. Run a tension rod under the bathroom or kitchen sink, or in a linen closet. If the bottles are full, be aware of how much weight will be on the rod. The rod needs to be thin enough to hold the spray nozzles but strong enough to carry the weight.
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13. Curtains for a bookshelf
Do you want to keep your precious Stephen King collection free from dust or children's fingerprints? Your visiting parents aren't as enamored of your romance novels as you are? Either way, a tension rod holds a curtain that can cover up your tomes. Slide it inside the bookcase sides.
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14. Dividers for cutting boards
Tension rods also work vertically. Place them from top to bottom in a cabinet or from a countertop to the underside of a cabinet. In this position, they act as handy dividers for things such as cutting boards and baking sheets.
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15. Dividers in drawer for spice jars
Thin tension rods placed width-wise in a drawer keep spice jars tidy. When you use this method, the jars in a row should be equal in height. Leave enough slack between the rods so you don't have to fight to remove a jar.
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16. Scarf rack
Keep fashion and winter scarves organized in a coat closet or mudroom cabinet. Fold and drape the scarves over a tension rod, and you'll never have to worry about wrinkles.
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