Do you ever feel like you are running out of room? Do you ever feel like you do not have enough storage? I’ve been there many times. It does not matter if you live in a tiny house or a mansion. You can make any space work for you with the right steps.
Here are my 5 steps for optimizing storage in small spaces.
The first rule to optimizing the space that you have is to make sure you only have what you need in the space. Before you even begin to do any of the other items on this list you have to purge items that you no longer need. It does not matter if you are organizing a desk drawer or an entire room. First, you need to go through the area that you are organizing and purge items that don’t belong. Small areas like a desk drawer are easy. Entire rooms are much more difficult, so I suggest setting aside some time and purging one area of the room at a time. You will also need to set aside an area to place the items that are leaving the space. I set up containers and divide the items I purge into the following categories: trash, charity, sell, repair, relocate, or re-home.
Trash is for anything worn out, broken or unusable. These items should not be given to charity.
Charity is for anything that is in good condition that another person could benefit from. These are items that are would not benefit a friend or family member and are not valuable enough to sell.
Sell is for any item that you believe would make you a decent amount of money if you sell it online, in a garage sale or in a consignment sale.
Repair is for items that will have to be fixed by taping, gluing, sewing, etc.
Relocate is for items that need to be moved to a more appropriate space in your house.
Re-home is for any item that you want to give away to a family or friend that you believe would benefit them. Do not use this as an opportunity to pawn items off on friends and family that you don’t want, because you feel guilting donating them to charity. If it will not make your family or friend’s life better, they don’t need it.
I have realized many times over the years that the best way to optimize a space is to rearrange it. This may be as simple as moving one piece of furniture to a new spot or it might be as complicated as rearranging the whole entire room. Several years back my husband and I decided to swap our dining room and our office because we needed more space and room for the kids to play. What we didn’t need was a huge room to eat in. This has worked out really well for us.
I know that some people can decide how to best rearrange a room by measuring it and plotting it out on a piece of paper. For other people, you will actually have to move everything to decide if the new setup suits you. If you have to move furniture, I recommend investing in a good set of super sliders. They will make your life so much easier.
One of the many problems with organizing a space is feeling the need to run out and buy fancy organization products. Many times over the years I did not have the money for this so I simply repurposed items I already had. Small boxes such as shoe boxes, gift boxes and the boxes checks come in work well for this. Several years ago, I bought a new desk with a large drawer that I wanted to house writing utensils and stationary in. I realized that the box some stationary was in would the perfect size for this. So I used the top of the box for the stationary and the bottom for my writing utensils and it has worked perfectly ever since. Here is a picture of the box before and as I utilize it in the drawer.
Utilize Vertical Space
Vertical space is a part of the room that is often overlooked when we are trying to organize our space. In small spaces, it can be some of the best places to store things. As you look over your space try to visualize how you could optimize the upper portions of the room. Could you install shelving up high? Could you purchase a tall book case? Would a tall thin dresser be better in the space than a short, wide one?
Utilize Unique Spaces
Many homes sometimes have strange designs or small alcoves that may seem useless. However, with a little vision these can be great spaces. At the beginning of my teaching career, I moved back in with my parents for a couple of years. My antique childhood bedroom set took up most of the room that was available, but as a teacher I could not live without a dedicated workspace for my computer and supplies. Luckily, there was a small alcove in the entrance of the bedroom. I took advantage of the space and placed my small desk there. While this setup wasn’t always ideal, it worked. I couldn’t find a good picture, but if you can picture a small desk behind the door by the dog’s back legs you get the idea.
The 5 Steps to Optimize Storage in Small Spaces
- Utilize Vertical Space
- Utilize Unique Spaces