Whether it’s a condo, apartment, dorm room, or cottage—space is a hot commodity! Learning how to maximize the space you have is key to enjoying a small space. Organizing small spaces isn’t hard, but it does take a little effort. You don’t have the luxury of lots of storage or the room for tons of furniture. Organizing small spaces is an art, but if done strategically, it will change your life (and your space).
Once you’ve mastered organizing small spaces, your home will feel so different. It doesn’t matter how much space you have; if you organize and declutter properly, you’ll feel like you live in a palace. And if you need help with cleaning your small space, read Small Spaces: Weekly Cleaning Routine and Cleaning Kit & Storage Solutions for Small Spaces.
1. Use All Your Nooks and Crannies
In any space, no matter the size, you’ll find “dead space.” What I mean is little nooks and crannies that generally fall between walls and pieces of furniture or appliances. While these dead spaces often go overlooked, they can be a great alternative to normal storage space you might find in a larger home.
Get inspired by visiting a big box store and asking an associate for some creative solutions (you can even take pictures of your “dead space” to show the person helping you). There are so many options out there like command hooks, hanging systems, storage boxes, storage carts, and a whole slew of custom shelving solutions of all shapes and sizes. Once you discover the miracle of storage solutions, your biggest problem will be how to choose your favorite.
2. Find Multi-Functional Furniture
Make the most out of your furniture by finding pieces that are dual or multi-function, specifically, pieces that include storage space. There are ottomans and benches that flip open, and many beds these days come with drawers and other useful storage spaces built-in. Or, if your current bed has space underneath, pick up some inexpensive storage bins you can fit under the bed.
Whatever you find to give yourself that extra storage space is worth the investment, especially when you’re living in a small space. And the right piece should be a great aesthetic addition to your space too.
3. Choose Tall and Skinny Furniture
When dealing with a small space, it’s important to evaluate the footprint of each piece of furniture in a room. The space you have to work with is limited, so ensuring that you think tall and skinny vs. short and wide will really open up a room and ultimately maximize your space.
Think bookcases and shelving units that grow up, not out. I love showing off nice glassware and ceramics strategically on an open shelf. Plus, this saves kitchen storage space if you don’t have a lot of cupboards.
4. Use Existing Storage Space Efficiently.
Take a good look at your existing storage spaces—closets, drawers, storage units, desks, and dressers—and really evaluate if you’re using these spaces to the best of their ability. If you find that you’re not getting the most out of these spaces, recreate them to fit your organizational needs. That might mean finding an organizational tool to help or tossing unnecessary items.
If your current storage spaces are cluttered, it’s time for an afternoon spent going throw your drawers, shelves, cupboards, etc. I have a whole series of articles on how to declutter, starting with 10 Things to Toss Today! These are super helpful for everyone living in small spaces.
5. Double Down on Products and Tools
Slimming down your arsenal of products and tools can also save a lot of space. Take cleaning products; you don’t need a whole bunch of items for specific jobs, instead, store pantry items like vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap and then make your own cleaning products as you need them.
This theory works with products and tools in the kitchen, bathroom, and self-care. Many products can do double duty, ultimately saving you valuable storage space. Take some time to go through your products and tools and evaluate if you have any doubles. Donate unopened items, or give them away to friends and family.
6. Go Right to the Ceiling
If you have a bookcase, closet shelving, or cupboards, make sure that you’re popping a basket or a storage solution on top to fill that space between the top of the unit and the ceiling. Clearly, you don’t want to be accessing it all the time, so use this primarily for deep storage.
For example, put off-season wear in a basket and then bring it down to a more prominent location when the weather changes. You can then replace it with the opposite seasons’ items—after you’ve washed them.
7. Evaluate Need Vs. Want
In order to master loving your small space, the simplest trick before bringing anything new into your space is to ask yourself, “Do I need it? Do I love it?”. If the answer to both is yes, then bring it home, but if it’s no, then leave it behind.
In addition, when you do bring something new into your home, try to get rid of something existing that you don’t need or love anymore. This one-in-one-out rule really helps to reduce clutter.
Organizing Small Spaces
This might seem like a lot of information, and it is. But it’s nothing more than a few afternoons decluttering and an hour in a store or browsing online can’t accomplish. And once you start evaluating items and storage before things get cluttered, you won’t have to do a big declutter.
When you use your small space efficiently, you’ll have so much more room! Go from a home you like to a home you love by maximizing the way you use your space.
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