I’ve lived in small spaces almost my entire life. From a tiny apartment in New York City, to an efficiency in Tokyo, to a plethora of historic homes that are always “space challenged.” I’m not a hoarder so declutterring has never been a big problem for me, but with small spaces you clutter can creep up without some creative storage hacks to keep you efficient and organized.
The key is to maximize every nook and cranny efficiently. In this post, I’ll share some of the best options that have helped me make the most of my spaces and squeeze every drop of space out of a room.
#1 Multi-Purpose Furniture
Small spaces demand furniture that serves more than one purpose. The first of these storage hacks means things like opting for coffee tables with hidden storage compartments, ottomans that open up to reveal additional space, or even a sofa bed for overnight guests. By choosing pieces that serve multiple functions, you’re making the most of every square foot.
Below is a great video with a ton of creative ideas. Most of the ideas work for those with a modern aesthetic, but there are definitely ways to incorporate these ideas into furniture pieces that have a vintage or historic feel if you are a DIYer.
#2 Less Art More Function
When floor space is limited, look up! Your walls can be way more useful than we give them credit for. You can hang creative shelves or install full height storage units on walls. In my attic bedroom renovation I even built a full sized dresser into the wall (see the picture below) to ensure there was a walk path through the low ceiling bedroom.
Build it into the wall if you can, or hang in onto the wall if you don’t have the open space behind the wall to integrate. Make a closet door a chalkboard for the kids or a whiteboard for work. The limits are only in your mind about how to utilize that unused wall space.
#3 Under-Bed Storage
The space under your bed is a treasure trove of untapped storage potential. A typical queen sized bed takes up 33 square feet and if you’re not storing things below that bed you’re missing an huge opportunity.
Invest in bed frames with built-in drawers or at the very least add discreet rolling bins underneath. Vacuum-sealed storage bags are perfect to compact those bulky sweaters and comforters when you don’t need them, allowing you to free up closet space for everyday items.
I’ve built in under-bed storage in my kids room on two occasions with great success and use these storage bins under my own bed. My wife’s second home is The Container Store and finding new and exciting bins to store our stuff is the medium with which she paints.
#4 Creating Clever Closets
Closets can easily become a chaotic mess in small homes. Install double hanging rods to maximize vertical space for clothing. Consider adding shelf dividers or hanging organizers to keep items neatly separated and easily accessible. Custom built-in closets can be expensive, but for a small closet that price is far less than the payback.
One of the best closet space saving hacks I have recently seen is a new product called the Closet Hinger which cuts the space needed for hanging items in half. It’s an ingenious folding hanger which we are planning to add to our daughter’s cramped room as soon as it’s released.
#5 Kitchen Creativity
In a small kitchen, cabinet space is often at a premium. Free up valuable cupboard real estate by installing a hanging pot rack. This not only adds a touch of culinary charm to your space but also keeps your pots and pans within arm’s reach.
Opt for a stylish design to make it a focal point in your kitchen. This will also motivate you to get nice pots and pans since they will be out for the world to see, but don’t we want to have nice things anyway?
You can take some great ideas from the RV community who have some of the best storage hacks when it comes to kitchens. I’ve used collapsible strainers and shop for glasses, bowls, and Tupperware that nest nicely inside each other to avoid the clutter in my drawers and cabinets.
#6 Foldable & Stackable Storage
Embrace your small space! Make use of the flexibility of foldable and stackable storage solutions. Collapsible bins, folding chairs, and nesting tables are perfect for small spaces. When not in use, these items can be neatly tucked away, allowing you to create an open and inviting atmosphere.
This can play into the multi-purpose furniture we talked about earlier, but goes beyond that. Who doesn’t want an ottoman or footstool, but make it one that can nest inside the end table when not in use. It takes some creative shopping or DIYing to find items that work together, but you’ll find that once you start looking for stackable or foldable options you’ll find them everywhere.
Living in a small house doesn’t mean sacrificing style or organization. By implementing these six storage hacks, you can transform your compact living space into a functional and aesthetically pleasing haven.
Embrace the art of maximizing every inch, and watch as your small house becomes a showcase of efficient design. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to a home that works smarter, not harder.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.