When I wrote my post on how to finally get organised I ended up emailing with Julie from Off to the Park as she was struggling with a lack of storage since losing their “spare room” to their youngest child. This is a common situation, along with small homes or homes with a lack of built in storage.
The first thing is always to declutter as much as humanly possible before adding more storage or renting a storage unit. Many times when we ask ourselves the hard questions and start to let go of things we don’t need we find we actually do have ample storage, we just had an over-abundance of “stuff”. If you have got down to what you really need and love then it is time to get creative.
Use often neglected spaces and use every available bit:
- If you have a corner cabinet you can ensure you use it fully by having a lazy susan or specially designed corner system put in place to make full use of hard-to-reach areas.
- Use all available wall space and height
- go up to the ceiling if possible with bookcases or cabinetry
- add shelves to a free space above furniture and use for storage or display
- use book slings or rain gutter shelves above/alongside a child’s bed instead of a traditional bookcase along an otherwise free wall
- I have even seen a photo of crown moulding attached up high on a bedroom wall to hang a collection of high heels
- You can hang towel rails on the back of a door or hang a shoe organiser there and use the pockets either for shoe storage or for a variety of small items (anything from batteries, chargers and cords to make up, jewellery and accessories)
- Use the inside of doors and cabinets as well – you can add shelves, peg board, cork tiles, whiteboards, hooks, baskets, chalk boards and more to get organized and reduce the need for more drawers and cabinets.
- If you have a space that is smaller than the “traditional” item you are seeking see if you can find something that fits or have it made to order. Many items, like storage drawer units, now come in a whole range of sizes to slot into the smallest gaps.
Look up above spaces
- In a kitchen you can hang pots and pans, colanders, cooking utensils etc from ceiling racks
- In a laundry you can hang a ladder from the ceiling to be an airer / drying rack. The one below is from Little Lucy Lu and she shares how she did it in a full tutorial.
- Use doorways fully- you can put a shelf above a doorway and stash books you have read but want to keep, or display items and clear other spaces, etc.
Look under spaces
- Do you have stairs that can be turned into a usable space underneath- a desk nook or a built in storage cupboard including a door to conceal the stored items. The photo below shows the desk area created by Tip Top Nest
- Drawers can be added to most everything – under bed to store bedding or clothes, around/under a dining tabletop for linens and cutlery, basket drawers mounted underneath shelves.
Look for things that can be out of sight when not in use
- Nesting tables are a brilliant way to add extra tables and surfaces- it means one can be pulled out when needed and pushed out of the way when not in use. You can use these in your living room (as a side or coffee table) or use one as a bedside table with the extra tables stored within until needed temporarily in another room.
- Our first house was so small it had no dining room and a small eat in kitchen. To fit a decent size table in the middle of the kitchen we opted out of dining chairs that would stick out into the walk through space. Instead we found a table with two bench seats. They both tucked under the table when we were not eating and the table doubled as my bench space / island.
- If you need a table or desk but don’t want to give up space in a room try either a wall mounted drop down table like this one above or a gate-leg style (widely available at many stores including IKEA) as shown below. These can be used for in kitchen dining, a desk for a child with a small room, a drawing- or play- table as needed in a playroom without giving up valuable floor space.
Use as many double (or triple) duty items as possible
- Storage ottomans in a living room can replace a coffee table and serve as a table, a seat and valuable storage space.
- If you want a bench seat in your bedroom you can take guidance from Martha Stewart and combine that want with the need of a filing cabinet (photo below).
- If you don’t need a storage bench, but are still trying to find a way to include a filing cabinet in your home that lacks office space – you can put one in your bedroom and use the top as your bedside table.
- Buy a bed with built in storage – drawers underneath on one, two or three sides, headboards that store books, etc. If you have a raised bed with no storage you can purchase boxes and bins and use every inch available if needed. A bed skirt can hide them out of sight if you want.
- Avoid single function appliances and gadgets like the plague. You can now buy appliances that do slow cooking, pressure cooking, rice cooker and steaming all in one. At the top end you have Thermomix trying to replace many appliances in one. You can buy a combined washer and dryer and even install it in a kitchen or garage if you lack a laundry space.
Use space saving containers or items
- Instead of placing utensils in kitchen drawers you might place them in canisters on a shelf or counter top and free up the drawers for items that must be stacked (like cloth napkins / tabelcloths or dishes).
- Food storage items are now widely available in systems that allow them to nest inside each other with one size lid fitting all. They will take up less room when stored.
- You can buy pots and pans that do not have permanent handles. This allows them to be stored in less space and stacked easier. Simply attach handles as needed.
Think outside the box
- If you have a closet that is not being used (or is housing off season clothing that can be packed in vacuum space saver bags) it can be converted into an office, an organized launch pad etc
- If you are lacking closed storage spaces like a pantry or closet you can have a bare wall you can put shelves, a bookcase, lockers etc and create the same end result.
Do you have any handy tips for organising small spaces creatively?
Find your simple,
Linking up with Jess for I blog on Tuesdays – go check out all the awesome blog posts – she might hit the 50 mark this week.