After weeks of searching for the perfect new place, you finally find your dream rental. It’s on the smaller side, with limited storage space, but you decide to go for it because the amenities (stainless steel appliances! pet-friendly! downtown location!) outweigh the negatives. Then moving day comes, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by piles of stuff you can’t put away.
If you’re lacking storage, don’t worry. There are ways to make everything fit. Here are five storage hacks to help you thrive in your small space.
Purge some stuff
As a New Yorker, 32-year-old Sophie is no stranger to small apartments with limited storage space. She suggests going through everything you have and getting rid of what you don’t use.
“Consider what you have and then really think about if you need it or not,” she says. “You’d be surprised to find what you don’t actually need.”
While it can be challenging to let go of some personal belongings, there are often many items that you can get rid of without a second thought. Make a point to regularly sort through your belongings and either donate or throw away what you won’t miss.
Once your load is a little lighter, organization is key because organized items take up less space. What’s the best way to organize your chaos?
“Make sure that everything has a home, no matter how big or small,” Sophie says. Make a trip to your local container store—or at least the container aisle—and invest in some space-saving solutions, such as storage bins and baskets.
You’ll find containers designed for nearly everything, from clutter in the entryway to the kitchen pantry. Stackable containers, organizers, and decorative baskets and bins are great for storing items like cleaning supplies, mail and paperwork, makeup, office supplies, and pantry items. Drawer, closet, and shoe organizers are also excellent tools that maximize (and not sacrifice) space.
James, who rents in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently downsized from a three-story townhome to a much smaller unit on one floor. He advises thinking about the storage potential of your walls. “Any bare walls in your home can store stuff,” he says. “Instead of investing in artwork or other wall décor, you can use shelving as a way to store items and decorate your space at the same time.”
Shelves are cheap, easy to install, and they make smart use of vertical space. Pegboard is easy to install and it’s versatile: you can use it to hang almost anything—pots and pans, office supplies, and jewelry.
Also, bike owners know how challenging bike storage can be—especially in a small space. Consider getting special hooks to hang bikes on the wall or from the ceiling.
Choose multifunctional furniture
Consider investing in multifunctional furniture, furniture with built-in storage options, such as ottomans and TV stands. Instead of getting a regular coffee table, opt for a vintage trunk. Some bed frames come with drawers, so you can make use of that dead space.
Or find furniture that can be converted to save space when it’s not in use. For example, if you need an office, but don’t have the space for it, invest in a fold-down desk that stores against the wall when not in use. You can also get a small but extendable dining room table. Avoid large pieces that take up lots of room. Instead, opt for sleek, minimalist designs that work well in small spaces.
Make the most of unused space
There are lots of unused spaces you could use for storage. Stash pots and pans in your oven when you’re not using it. Shoe organizers on the backs of doors can help you organize everything from shoes and jewelry to cleaning supplies and toiletries. Hooks are an affordable and convenient option for hanging just about anything.
Even if you don’t have drawers under your bed, you can still use the space for storing out-of-season clothing, extra linens, and other items. Double, or even triple, the amount of storage space under your bed with bed risers. By lifting your bed a few inches off the ground, you gain extra space.
Whether you make a few small changes or do a big overhaul, these storage hacks will help you find some much-needed space.