I often get asked for ideas for how to organize in a small space. I admit it can be more challenging and require more creativity, but it can definitely be done. Even if your home is spacious, it's always a good idea to maximize your space to use it most efficiently.
Here's my top 5 tips for small space organizing:
- Start by decluttering and purging. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you may think I'm starting to sound like a broken record. Let me assure you, there's a good reason for that. Decluttering really is the most important thing you can do to improve your home organization. It is absolutely essential if you have limited space that you not store anything that you don't need, use, or love. Therefore, start by getting rid of anything you don't need.
- Implement a strict “one in one out” policy. This means every time you bring something new into your home, you need to get rid of something to make space for it. So if you get a new clothing item, donate one that you don't wear anymore. This will help greatly in keeping your home tidy. It can get overrun by stuff quickly if you don't do this. When your space is small, even a little bit of extra “stuff” causes it to look very cluttered.
- Borrow, rent, or trade instead of purchasing. Whenever possible, borrow or rent items rather than purchasing them. That way you can use them while you need them and then return them instead of storing them. This is especially useful for bulky baby items like a bounce, swing, etc. If you can't do that, then consider buying used from Craigslist so you won't feel like you're losing money when you get rid of the item when you no longer need it. Also, I prefer a Netflix subscription over owning a lot of DVDs that take up space.
- Don't stock up too much. In my couponing days, I would stock up on toiletries and dry or canned foods when they were on sale. However, we didn't have a large house at the time, and they were a nightmare to find spaces to store. If you're really short on space, you may find it more efficient not to keep lots of extra products on hand. Although it does cost a little more sometimes, I think of it as paying for the storage.
- Avoid “unitaskers” (especially in the kitchen). I don't know if “unitasker” is a real word, but it means a device that is used for only one purpose. These are often unnecessary, gimmicky, and take up a lot of space. For example, if you have an oven, is a toaster oven and/or a bread machine really necessary?
- Maximize vertical space. One of the best ways to use space efficiently is to make sure you use all your vertical space. For example here in my linen closet, instead of just putting a basket on the shelf and leaving space above it, I used these stacking bins all the way to the top:I did a similar thing here in my kitchen cabinet:
- Use your doors. Use the back of your bathroom, bedroom, and closet doors. Command hooks for hanging coats, scarves, etc are great on the back of the door. Something like this that I have on our bathroom door can store quite a bit:
- Use wall space. Instead of using your wall space merely for decoration, you can use it for storage. I've done this in my kitchen with my hanging spice rack:
I've also done this with my magnetic memo board in my office:
- Go paperless. Consider going paperless (or partially paperless) to save space storing lots of files. One small scanner will take up much less space than lots of paper files. Here's a great guide to going paperless if you're not sure where to start.
- Label everything. Labels take up no space, but go a long way to help the space look neat and organized. They are also very useful to help you find what you need, especially when you store a variety of items in one container.