Organizing a small space can encourage creativity, as it can be hard to function in a messy environment, forcing the crowded to figure out unique storage solutions. When your home is very small, you quickly realize everything has to have a place, and every square foot must be utilized to the maximum potential.
Recently, the tiny house trend has been making the news, as people tired of struggling to pay mortgages on full-sized homes decide to downsize in a big way. By building miniature homes with minimal supplies, homeowners pay as they build, ending construction with no monthly mortgage hanging over their heads.
The trade-off for the financial freedom of the small house movement, of course, is loss of space, but by creatively using every storage option available, owners of tiny homes have proven that humans can live comfortably in a much smaller area than previously imagined. Studio apartment occupants have used storage tricks for small spaces for years, but mini-homes have taken it to the extreme, inspiring many to live simpler lives.
Whether you live in a studio apartment or a large, spacious home, organization is always important. Clutter is the enemy of productivity, and nobody wants to live in a chaotic setting where they can’t find the things they want when necessary.
To spark your organizational creativity, listed below are 8 of the most efficient and original ideas being used today for keeping small places feeling roomier and well-ordered.
1. Unclutter to Organize—
The first step to creating more space in any home is to eliminate anything not often used or needed.
This can be difficult, forcing people to make tough choices when it seems safe to keep things “just in case,” but will be worth it when the organization job is automatically easier. Because guess what? When you have less of everything to organize, organizing everything is less work.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small by clearing out the garage, or even only a closet at a time: You don’t have to take on the whole house at once.
If you haven’t used it in a year or don’t absolutely need it, consider donating your pointlessly stored goods to a local thrift store or charity. This will make you feel good inside, knowing your unused belongings may help another, and take away the feeling that you’re throwing your belongings away.
2. Find the Right Furniture—
If you have large, overstuffed furniture, or more than you need for your family, consider selling or donating what you don’t use to automatically open up your home.
Consider sleek, compact designs for chairs and couches, and don’t buy a large kitchen table if you don’t need it. Pay attention to arrangement and allow rooms to flow when placing furniture, rather than blocking walkways and sightlines.
When buying furniture, always find pieces that combine function with fashion, especially if this involves hidden storage.
For example, buy a coffee table with multiple levels to add additional places for books or magazines, or substitute it with a trunk or ottoman that opens to offer storage inside.
Find an entertainment center with cabinets built in, rather than settling for a one-purpose television stand.
Consider side tables that combine light and shelving, benches with seats that lift to reveal storage, and rolling carts for extra kitchen counter space.
3. Sleep Sleekly—
Murphy beds are built into the wall to be pulled down for sleep and pushed back up during daytime, and have long been a staple of the bedroom size-impaired.
Bunk beds are commonly used to sleep multiple kids in one room, and a loft bed (i.e. bunk beds minus the bottom bed) can open up an extra play zone or a desk/computer area for anyone.
Also consider downsizing full, queen and king-sized beds to twin-sized for single sleepers whenever possible. A large bed is a luxury, but when space is an issue, sometimes a smaller bed can create extra room you’ll appreciate more.
4. Repurposed Spaces—
Sometimes when a home is built, there may be “dead” or closed-off areas not being utilized that can be opened up and given new life.
An example of this might be the area underneath a staircase, which can often be opened up or rebuilt to create a closet, mudroom with coat hangers, an office area, or even a place for a pet to hang out.
Closets can also be converted into secret work stations by removing the hanging bar and installing a shelf to serve as a laptop desk and office, allowing one to simply close the door to hide the paper clutter when desired. These converted closets also make great crafting or utility rooms.
5. Look Upward—
Installing wall-mounted shelving and cabinets in closets, bedrooms, above toilets, and onto garage walls are all examples of using the non-floor parts of a home to keep things neat.
Mounting a flat screen on a wall can completely eliminate a bulky entertainment center or television stand, and tall, narrow bookshelves can create vertical storage floor-to-ceiling without taking up too much valuable ground.
Pots and pans can be hung from walls or the ceiling in kitchens, rather than filling up limited cabinet capacity, microwaves can be mounted to save counter space, and door-hanging organizers can open up a crowded pantry.
In the garage, multi-levels of shelving can be pushed to the sides to create places for storage totes to sit neatly, and bikes can be hung for floor space.
6. Table Tricks—
One of the largest space-eaters in any kitchen is the table—if you have room for one. Because of this, many small home-dwellers will opt to extend a counter or build a slender shelf into the wall to pull bar stools up to for meals, rather than dine at a traditional table.
A table that folds up can be mounted to the wall to be lowered for use and raised back up to clear the way when not needed.
A small table with wheels can also be rolled out and then pushed to the side for extra counter space when not in use.
7. Below the Bed—
The area under most beds is a dusty, disorganized mess, which wastes what could be an excellent place to keep not-often-used items, such as out-of-season clothing, extra blankets, or exercise equipment stored close to the edges for easy reach.
Long, clear plastic storage totes with rollers underneath are available specifically for this purpose, and bags sold using vacuumed air removal to flatten them will store clothes beautifully in tight, flat spots such as this.
Buying a bed frame with pull-out drawers built in underneath the mattress is also an excellent way to make use of the square footage the bed was already going to take up.
8. Get Creative—
Just because something was made for a certain purpose doesn’t mean you can’t use it in a new way.
If you have a lot of make-up, hair products, jewelry or other bathroom or bedroom small item clutter, it’s okay to hang a shoe rack to contain it all. Feel free to buy one to use for shoe organization, while you’re at it.
Some have solved the small item clutter issue by installing a narrow shelf all the way around a room to give little knickknacks, candles and other decorative items a place to shine without eating up counter and table space.
The areas on top of kitchen and bathroom cabinets that often go unused can also be utilized with attractive baskets or bins filled with whatever you’d like.
You can also screw hooks underneath kitchen cabinets to create useful coffee mug hanging areas for more storage, and use robe or jacket hangers on walls and door backs whenever possible.
Remember, the sky’s the limit when it comes to figuring out how to make more room in your life and create order. Hopefully some of the interesting and innovative ideas listed above for increasing storage in small spaces has inspired you to find new ways to organize and clear the clutter from your home, no matter what the size of your living space.