Small space living certainly has its perks. For one, less square footage typically means a lower mortgage or rent. Plus, there's less to clean, you're always close to the kitchen and you can probably hear your iPod from every room, which saves you from having to invest in a fancy sound system. But, with small spaces comes less storage, and that can be problematic -- even if you don't have a lot of stuff.
The first rule for an uncluttered home is to have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. If you lack storage, then that task becomes even harder to accomplish. But there are some pretty clever workarounds for your small space. Here are 10 that you may have never considered.
10: Edit Your Possessions
Like we mentioned on the previous page, "A place for everything and everything in its place" is the ultimate mantra for small space storage. This means having a well-edited household, only full of things that you need and use. Kitchen gadgets are fun to buy and nice to have on hand for the rare instance you need to core an apple or juice a lemon, but the reality is they take up valuable space that could be better used to store your more frequently used can opener and whisk. Take a walk through your home and start gathering things that are collecting dust. Once you round up a carload, head over to the nearest donation center.
9: Add Shelves to Existing Fixtures
Oftentimes, cabinets provide too much headroom for what actually goes in them. In order to take advantage of this extra space, you simply need to add some more shelving.
Vertical dividers in kitchen cabinets are great for neatly organizing cookie sheets and pot lids. You can attach wire organizers to the inside of the cabinet doors to store small packaged items like garbage bags and plastic sandwich bags. And make sure that all clothing rods in closets have shelves above them for extra shoebox storage.
8: Do Double Duty
If you're a small space dweller, you can't really afford to have much furniture that doesn't serve a dual purpose. For example, a bench by the entryway is much more useful if it also offers storage for umbrellas and boots. The comfy ottoman in front of your favorite overstuffed chair would be a perfect place to store extra blankets and linens. And coffee tables are nice, but an old trunk with a flip-up lid would be a stylish alternative and the ideal spot to store board games and DVDs.
7: Hang It Up
Empty walls are valuable real estate in dwellings with a small footprint, and they can be used for much more than a place to display framed art.
Hanging pots and pans in your kitchen is a no-brainer, but you can also hang pegboard and organize all of your display-worthy kitchen gadgets. And don't just stop in the kitchen. Make your jewelry a work of art in your tiny bedroom by arranging your prettiest pieces in shadowboxes and hanging them on the wall. Or, install some patterned metal or tin in an old frame and use that as a drop station for your necklaces.
6: Find Dead Space
Even though you may feel crammed to the max in your small space, you'd be surprised how much dead space is going unused. You know the corner where your kitchen cabinets meet? Empty. You can most likely squeeze a narrow drawer into that space that will add to your dry goods storage. Odd spaces, like small recessed areas, or the space under a bank of windows, are great places to add shelves and cubbies. And when you're out of eye-level wall space, look up. Shelving up by the ceiling hung around the perimeter of the room is a great way to squeeze in extra storage while keeping items out of view.
5: Use Baskets and Boxes
Rustic baskets and colorful, fabric-covered boxes not only make lovely display pieces, but they also create ample storage for smaller items. They always look great on top of dressers to hold jewelry and boudoir items, and if they fit into your décor, you can display them on open bookshelves.
Look at the tops of other pieces of furniture, too. Find sizes that slide perfectly on to bookcases, kitchen cabinets and armoires to tuck little pieces and parts of out sight.
4: Add More Shelves
You may think you couldn't possibly squeeze more shelves into your small space, but you'd be surprised. For example, you can lose your bed's headboard and create one out of a couple of shallow shelves that will easily hold books, magazines and your alarm clock. No floor space for a bedside table? Hang a single shelf next to your bed instead. Have shelves with empty space above them? Take them up to the ceiling. Going vertical will create so much more space than you ever thought you'd have. Add some crown molding for a built-in look giving it a decorative touch.
3: Think Outside the (Storage) Box
In order to make the most of a small space, you have to find clever ways to use whatever space you can find. This may mean some untraditional storage solutions, so learn to embrace the unexpected. For example, just because it's used in the kitchen, doesn't mean it has to live in the kitchen. Holiday dishes and muffin tins from your once-a-year baking extravaganza can just as easily be stored in closets or under the bed. Lacking an attic? Armoires and kitchen or bathroom cabinets make great storage for bulky, out of season items like sweaters and winter boots. And if you're not much of a chef, your oven is a huge empty space just waiting to be filled. Just be sure to empty it out before you turn it on.
2: Stack It
Clear plastic storage bins are great for closed storage so you can easily identify their contents, and stackable bins are where it's at for small space storage. They're durable, inexpensive and guarantee maximum space conservation. To free up pantry space, use these plastic containers to store dry goods like pasta and rice, and stack them in a cabinet. This goes for fridge contents, too. Stacking clear plastic containers with leftovers will make plenty of room for the milk and OJ.
1: Raise the Bed
Can you think of any other place in your small space that offers the square footage of empty space that lies under your mattress? Probably not, so it's time to get rid of that low platform bed and exchange it for one with some serious storage capabilities. Invest in some under the bed storage bins and stow away your gift wrapping supplies, record collection and seasonal clothes. Or better yet, have some suitcases that are taking up precious space? Store items in those and slide them out of sight. You could even take it a step further and buy a bed frame with drawers built into it.
Lots More Information
- 10 Fixes for Small Closets
- How to Furnish a Small Space
- How to Make a Small Room Seem Big
- 5 Ways to Maximize Bathroom Storage Space
- Home Downsizing 101
- "Home Organization for Small Spaces." Homemadesimple.com, 2010.http://www.homemadesimple.com/en-us/homeorganization/pages/home-organization-for-small-spaces.aspx?TID=56a0ce55-807f-4c71-b49d-be62135ccb9c#
- Toney, Veronica. "Savvy Storage Solutions for Small Spaces." Bhg.com, 2010.http://www.bhg.com/decorating/small-spaces/strategies/savvy-storage-solutions-for-small-spaces/
- Wittrup, Debra. "Storage Solutions for Small Bedrooms." Bhg.com, 2010.http://www.bhg.com/decorating/small-spaces/strategies/storage-solutions-for-small-bedrooms/