If the closets, cabinets, and drawers in your small apartment are maxed out, don’t stress — there are plenty of sneaky storage spots and solutions in even the smallest of spaces.
Follow these eight tips to learn how to create more storage space in your home, plus maximize the space you already have.
1. Pare Down Your Stuff
The most overrated storage solution out there? Decluttering. Professional Organizer and author Felice Cohen says it’s important to ask yourself whether you actually need the things you have, or whether they’re just collecting dust in your home.
“Make sure you keep only what you love and use,” Cohen says, and donate the rest.
2. Invest in Multipurpose Furniture
Professional organizer Jennifer Lava says you should look for furniture with multiple uses. For example, “a storage ottoman is a great place to keep things, plus it can be an extra seat or, with a tray on top, a coffee table,” she explains.
If you’re tight on floor space, Lava suggests mounting a table to the wall to serve as both a floating desk and eating area. You can also display stylish baskets and bins in the open space below for extra storage, Lava says.
3. Take Advantage of Vertical Space
Every home has a secret weapon when it comes to storage potential: vertical space.
“In the kitchen, hang a pot rack for frequently used items [or] mount hooks to the backsplash to keep cooking utensils handy,” says Lava.
Cohen recommends adding shelving to an entire wall; there, you can store books, framed art, file boxes, bins full of craft supplies, dishes, or even shoes. If an entire wall is too ambitious, try a couple floating shelves instead. Lava says these are great for maximizing your vertical space while keeping the room visually open.
Don’t forget about the insides of closet and bathroom doors, either.
4. Give Every Item a Home
“It is important when living in a small space that you consider your belongings carefully,” says Lava.
Give each item, no matter how small or temporary, a proper home.
“When you are done using an item it should be returned to the home as soon as possible. This will help keep the clutter down.”
5. Organize Your Stuff Into Hot Zones and Cold Zones
When you’re choosing where to store your things, Cohen says it’s smart to create Hot Zones and Cold Zones.
“Cold Zones are high shelves or cabinets that are hard to reach — they are good for storing seasonal items or holiday decorations — while Hot Zones are areas within reach that you keep items you use more often: coffee mugs, jeans, extra toilet paper,” she says.
This strategy keeps lesser-used items out of the way and ensures that your everyday necessities are easily accessible.
6. Limit Your Appliances
Paring down your appliances, especially bulky kitchen gadgets like popcorn makers and toaster ovens, can save you tons of space.
7. Maximize Your Closet Space
Most closets aren’t used to their full capacity. If you have a standard closet with a high bar and shelf above it, Cohen recommends adding another rod to double your hanging space.
8. Think Outside the Cabinets
Cohen recommends putting your bed on risers to expand the space for storage.
“Large plastic [bins] on wheels are great for winter boots, holiday decorations, or high heels you don’t wear often. [It] keeps items safe and dust-free,” she says.
Bookshelves are perfect for storing attractive baskets filled with office supplies or spare toiletries, Cohen adds, while the three-inch gap between your couch and the wall can accommodate fold-up ladders, mops, or brooms.
One word of caution: “Utilizing unseen spaces is great,” Cohen says, “but be sure it’s something you really need or use, or else it’s just going to gather dust.”
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