Perhaps you’re feeling the squeeze of the Austin real estate market and opted for less square footage than you would prefer, or maybe you’re loving the tiny house trend. Either way, living in a small space can be challenging: how can you make everything you own fit in the space you have without feeling completely claustrophobic? Here we give some of the top tips for organizing your small spaces:
Keep Only the Necessities
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the best parts of moving is that it forces you to re-examine everything that’s been stuffed in closets, drawers, in the attic, and under beds for years. Especially if you’re downsizing, make sure you use your move as an opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need. Consider whether you’ve used items or worn clothes within the past year – if you’ve made it a whole year without needing them, chances are you’re probably safe to donate them or take them to the dumpster. If you’re not eager to part with belongings because of how much you spent acquiring them, remember that it’s a sunk cost; the money is already gone regardless of whether you hang onto the item or not. You can, however, donate your household goods and clothes to a number of local thrift shops and help others while also getting a tax refund.
To create even more usable space, you can make the most of all your furniture:
- Use decorative baskets and bins on otherwise empty shelves to create extra storage while keeping things pleasing to the eye. In the living room, baskets might help you keep toys, blankets, or DVDs organized, and in the bathroom you can use them for toiletries or towels.
- If you have kids, consider swapping out a traditional bed for a bunk bed with a desk underneath. This better utilizes the vertical space in rooms with a smaller footprint.
- Buy ottomans or other pieces that double as storage.
Utilize Space Under the Bed
The area under your bed can become the landing ground for a random hodge-podge of items that you need to stash somewhere – out of sight, out of mind, right? But why not fully maximize the storage space the area under your bed provides? Once your beds are set up, take the time to measure the height, width, and length of the empty space. Armed with measurements, find storage containers from your favorite retailer. Container Store, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Ikea are great places to look for affordable storage options. Once you’ve made your selections, you can start filling them. Think of things that are relatively short and that you won’t need on a daily basis. Here are some ideas of how to use your under the bed storage:
- Gift wrapping items: Keep gift bags, tissues paper, ribbon, etc. in one of your boxes. Its always nice to have these items on hand for last minute gift-wrapping, but they can easily get lost or wrinkled in a closet and don’t need to be readily accessible on a daily basis.
- Christmas ornaments: This is the perfect place to keep ornaments for the 11 months out of the year that you aren’t using them.
- Electronics: Take all your unused electronics and put them in one bin. Neatly coil up Ethernet cords, cables, and power strips, cinching them together with twisty ties or rubber bands and stacking them neatly alongside keyboards, modems, and other electronic components you aren’t currently using, but may have a future need for.
- Spare sheets: Sheets usually fold up flat and would fit nicely in the shallow storage this space provides. Added bonus – keeping your spare sheets so close to the bed may even encourage you to change them more frequently.
- Out-of-Season clothes: see below.
Put Away Out-of-Season Clothes
A great way to maximize your closet space is by putting clothes elsewhere when they are out of season. You won’t be needing your parka in the blazing Austin summer, so save some closet space and pack it in a plastic storage bin. Vacuum seal bags provide a great way to reduce the bulk of chunky winter clothes like jackets and sweaters, making them compact enough to store in the bins under your bed. Here in Austin, you can probably get away with swapping out clothes twice a year as we tend to not get four distinct seasons.
Use the Backs of Doors
You can create extra storage space by hanging items on the back of your closet doors. You can hang a shoe organizer bag on the inside of your closet to door to keep your shoes off the floor and increase the available space in the rest of your closet. You can use these shoe organizer bags throughout the house for a multitude of other things including holding cleaning supplies, craft supplies, make-up, office supplies and snacks.
Use Vertical Space
People often forget to utilize overhead space. For example, we’ve seen the creative use of pulleys to store and display bikes in the living room. Even if you’d rather not have bikes gracing your living room, consider storing similar items from the ceiling or high on the wall in your garage. Use shelving or built-ins elsewhere in the house to maximize the home’s storage capacity.
Once the dust settles from your move, consider further maximizing your small space with the following tips:
- Use of monochromatic, neutral tones on your walls: Painting your home is a relatively easy way to freshen it up. Using a neutral color palette can help make the space feel larger.
- Lighting: Use lots of light to brighten the room and make it welcoming. Track lighting is perfect in small spaces because it helps avoid using floor lamps that take up room and clutter the space.
- Mirrors: Designers often strategically place mirrors in rooms to make it appear as if the room is larger. Mirrors are also great to enhance the room’s lighting.
Don’t forget, no matter how big or small your move, Apple Moving is here to help!
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