When I asked you guys what your biggest home complaint was, by far the number one response was "Not having enough storage" I was thrilled, because this is one thing, although I've not mastered, I've gotten pretty good at over the years.
I did a quick google search for maximizing space, and I got a million different "Storage Hacks". While these are likely very clever, let's be honest, do any of us really need to wrap another cardboard box in wrapping paper and pass it off as a storage bin? I don't think so.
I wanted to give you guys real, tangible advice to maximize your small space and get your house in order WITHOUT giving you a laundry list of DIY projects cause frankly...
Each step builds on the previous, so stick with me till the end!
1. First off, and I know you're gonna hate me for this but you have to PURGE your stuff.
I say it all the time, but I'm gonna keep sounding the "Less is More" horn until I'm blue in the face.
HEAR ME when I say this: You can have the greatest storage system in place, become an expert in organization, and get your whole family on board, but if you have too much crap you'll never fully get your home under control.
So for this step, clear out unnecessary items. We typically do a spring and a fall purge and we're RUTHLESS. If I haven't used or worn something in the last two months, and I could replace it inexpensively, it's donated.
The purge door swings both ways. Be mindful of what you're purchasing. It's tempting to go nuts in the target dollar section (We've all been there) but hold yourself accountable to intentionally purchasing quality items.
-Instead of having a hundred different notebooks, consider a multi-use notebook like this one. You can write in it, take a picture and load it to the app to store it, and erase and use that page again.
2. Okay, now that I'm off my soapbox, you're going to want to DESIGNATE CLEAR ZONES.
A clear zone is an area that you have decided will remain clutter-free. For us, we do our best to keep our counters and floors relatively clear.
This is a crucial step because in a small space it's easy for things to become cluttered. I'm a firm believer that if your home is cluttered, your mind will be as well. So designating spaces that will remain clear is a great way to give your mind a break. The rest of the house may have gone to hell in a hand basket, but you'll look at those tidy counters and think you're the real MVP.
*Note: This isn't always possible. For example, we have family living with us right now, and the counter tops need to be used. Have grace with yourself and do your best!
-Store knives using an in-drawer knife block or with a magnetic strip attached to the wall. This frees up valuable prep space that would normally be used for a knife block.
-Relocate toasters or other medium sized appliances to shelving or a closet. We've even put our crock-pot and rice cooker in the basement before. There's no point keeping things out and available if you don't use them all the time.
-Keep only the items that you want to look at, out. Like a beautiful canister with slotted spoons or butcher block cutting boards. Things that make you happy!
-Hang hampers on bedroom doors to keep dirty clothes off the floor.
-Install shelving or invest in a simple shoe rack to keep shoes from piling up.
-Designate a toy area if you've got little ones. Even a small corner in the living room with a thrifted shelf and baskets will suffice.
-Consider furniture that attaches to the wall and folds down. i.e. fold -down desks, Murphy beds, etc.
3. Once you've got clear areas designated, THINK ABOUT PRIME REAL ESTATE
The term "Prime Real Estate" refers to the space storage wise, between knee and shoulder height. Use this space in your home to store items that you use most often.
For example, you wouldn't put your plates and bowls in a drawer at your feet. Make sense?
Note what you use most often in each room, and make it most accessible.
4. Now we're getting down to the nitty gritty. Let's UTILIZE UNUSED SPACE.
Every home has underutilized storage potential and we want to find every square inch!
-In your closets, take out existing shelving and clothing rods and install floor to ceiling shelving or double rods. The idea behind this is to use every possible inch of closet space. I drew up a simple sketch up of how I would maximize space in a linen and clothes closet, just to give you a visual. Consider hanging a collapsible step stool on a hook inside the door that will allow you to easily reach higher up items.
-Think vertical! Hang simple metal baskets on the walls for added storage. Install a pegboard in an office to get things up off your desk. Don't forget about old stand-by's: Floating shelves, book cases, bunk beds. While not necessarily revolutionary, they free up prime space.
-Make your furniture work for you! We still store out of season shoes in rolling bins under our bed, college-dorm style. We've got multiple ottomans around the house holding winter gear. Up until recently, we had a pretty basket holding old photo albums under our coffee table.
-Store things inside other items. I keep our out of season clothes in our suitcases. We would otherwise have to find a place for both the suitcases and a bin for the clothes. This kills two birds with one stone. I also store smaller purses inside larger ones.
5. You may not have a ton of space, but USE WHAT YOU DO HAVE EFFICIENTLY!
There's no use crying over what could be! Make the most out of what you've got.
-Learn how to fold clothes and bedding as small as possible. I like to follow the folding technique from Marie Kondo. You can find that here. This keeps everything standing upright and easily accessible. It saves a TON of space.
-Invest in slim-line hangers.
-Don't forget old faithfuls. Drawer organizers, clear plastic containers, wall hooks, and woven baskets are classics for a reason!
There you have it! I'm curious, what are your top storage tips?? Let me know in the comments below!
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