I just moved into a new place, and it’s great, but it also doesn’t have very much space to store my stuff. Yayboo! So I’ve been digging through the Lifehacker archives to figure out how I can fit everything in an apartment with just a few cupboards and closets. Here’s what I came up with.
Photo remixed from PILart.
We’re going to take this room by room, but it’s worth noting that you can store pretty much anything anywhere. Don’t have any room in your kitchen? Store some of your kitchen’s cleaning supplies in your bathroom. Store office supplies in your bedroom, or on that unused end table shelf in your living room. Anything goes when you’re starved for space, so don’t be afraid to improvise.
Free Up Cupboard Space in the Kitchen
The kitchen is where you’re going to want everything as close and on-hand as possible, so we’ll start there. If you’re short on cupboards, see what you can store outside of the cupboards first. Lots of people store pots and pans on a rack, for example, which you can buy or even put together out of an old ladder. However, if you don’t want to go putting holes in your apartment walls, you can build a nice vertical one out of spare IKEA parts too.
Your spices can be the first thing out of your cupboards, too, with one of the many DIY magnetic spice racks we’ve shared (this one’s my favourite, since it mounts them on the empty underside of your shelf). You can also use a tension rod to create an additional “shelf” inside your cupboards, which will work for more than just spices, as long as its strong enough.
When it comes to your drawers, you can easily free one up by storing your kitchen tools on your counter, using a container like this. I’ve been doing this for years, and not only does it free up some storage space, it makes everything a little easier to access too. If you’re short on counter space, I’ve also had great luck in the past using a kitchen cart to “extend” my counter space. You can put something like a microwave or toaster on the top, and store a lot of pantry items on the shelves.
Lastly, you can store just about anything in an over-the-door shoe rack, whether it be cooking tools, glasses and bowls, or just pantry items. This is a bit harder to do in the kitchen where you may not have a nearby door, but if you do, you should take advantage of it. Of course, you could also take those cleaning products from under your sink and hang them in the closet, since you don’t always need super quick access to them.
Make Use of Every Nook and Cranny in the Bedroom
What’s great about the bedroom is that you probably have a lot of storage space already — it just isn’t being used effectively. Your closets are a great place to start: if you haven’t filled them up with clothes, then you can fill them up with all sorts of other stuff. I originally put laundry and other linens in the closet and ran out of floor and shelf space quickly, so instead of doing that, put some shelves in your closet and make better use of your vertical space. Alternatively, you could get some easily stackable bins that fit in your closet and store stuff that way, too. Your laundry can go elsewhere.
Then, make use of all the other space in your bedroom you don’t necessarily see. I’m talking about behind doors, under your hanging clothes in the closet and under your bed. Get some bed risers for your bed. They’ll lift it up several inches, giving you more storage space underneath. Plus they make you feel like a king in a giant bed. Of course, you could always go the slightly more elegant but more involved DIY route for under-bed storage, too. You should also grab one of the aforementioned behind-the-door shoe racks for your bedroom door, too. Again, it doesn’t need to store shoes — you can put anything in there that doesn’t have a place.
Reorganise Other Rooms in the House
Your other rooms might not have as much storage, but there are still a few things you can do — though they usually involve buying different furniture, since they’re such open spaces. For example, I currently have my computer tower sitting on an IKEA table leg with storage built-in, perfect for storing my CD case, external drives, printer paper and more. You can also buy living room furniture with storage built-in, though don’t forget to make use of the furniture you already have — like coffee and end tables with built-in shelves on the bottom that no one ever uses. And, of course, you can always use those shoe organisers in the bathroom to hold personal care products and other miscellaneous items.
This list is far from exhaustive, but it’s been enough to get me from space-hungry to space-efficient. What about you guys? Do you have any good tips or products for making the most of a small living space? Share them with us in the comments.