Modern living increasingly means doing more with a small space. Housing is at a premium in many metro areas, and even if it isn’t in yours, you might still prefer to live in a small apartment or home in order to save money.
You’ll need some creativity in order to keep your household organized, neat, tidy, and attractive while living in a small space. You can create a lot of storage space by utilizing vertical areas and closet space. Opaque storage options make your living area look tidier, and self-storage is often an affordable option for items that can’t be stored in your home.
1) Use the Walls
When you live in a small space, you need to go vertical when installing more storage space. Hang shelves and cabinets, peg boards, and pot rails. There are all kinds of vertical shelving options, including shelving systems, floating shelves, wall cupboards, and bookcases.
Look for other opportunities to use vertical space effectively in your living space. Mount your TV on the wall to open up floor space. Install a hanging pot rack in the kitchen area or put in an over-the-sink dish drainer. Hang your bike on the wall or from the ceiling to get it out of the way.
2) Hide Your Ugly Stuff
Opaque storage is where it’s at for stashing the stuff no one wants to see, like phone chargers, fingernail clippers, little bags of catnip — all the miscellaneous stuff that makes up clutter. Don’t be swayed by the pretty, clear storage solutions available in so many home stores — unless you love looking at all your most boring and unattractive stuff. Choose attractive storage solutions that hide your clutter while allowing you to display your prettier stuff.
3) Put It in Storage
Don’t get us wrong — there’s a lot to be said for decluttering once in a while, and it’s also not a bad idea to be judicious about bringing home new things if your space is limited. But living in a small space doesn’t mean you don’t want to put up Christmas decorations every year — it just means you might be better off putting them in a storage unit.
Renting a storage unit isn’t that expensive, and it effectively adds to the square footage of your apartment by freeing up space in your living area. In many places, renting a storage unit is much cheaper than renting a bigger place. For example, in Los Angeles, the average rent per square foot is $34, but self-storage is significantly cheaper. Los Angeles self-storage would be a reasonable and economic solution to storing items you don’t have room for at home, but want to keep and maybe occasionally use.
4) Maximize Your Closet Space
In a small apartment or home, you might not have that many closets to begin with, and the ones you do have might be small. You want to make the most of the closet space available to you. If you own your home or apartment, permanent closet systems might be a great solution to maximize vertical space in the closet and create storage.
If you can’t or don’t want to install a permanent closet system, you can still maximize storage space in your closets with modular shelving or cube storage. In the bedroom, put your dresser in the closet to clear up floor space. If you need more storage space for clothes, try a corner clothes rod or a freestanding clothes rack. In the pantry, add shelving or racks to the inside of the door, and use lazy susans and other hacks to make the most of shelf space.
5) Establish Zones in Multi-Use Spaces
When you live in a small space, you often don’t have separate rooms for separate activities. Maybe you’re living the single life in a studio apartment, or raising a couple of kids in a two-bedroom cottage. You need to make your living space do double (or triple, or quadruple) duty. The easiest way to do that is to create designated areas within the space for different activities — your studio apartment should have a sleeping area, for example, as well as an area for cooking and eating and an area for hanging out.
Often, you can get away with setting aside a different corner of the room for each activity — the kids get one side of the living room for a play area, while Mom and Dad have the couch and TV on the other side. Keeping activities in their designated areas cuts down on clutter, and helps you make better use of your living space.
Living in a small aparatment can be worth it, as long as you stay on top of clutter. With a little creativity, you can find a place for everything in even the humblest home.