Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

Decluttering is an unending art form. Sometimes, the solution is to get rid of things you don’t need, but other times you have to keep a bunch of stuff in a small space. If you find yourself in a cramped home, here are some ways to keep your things stored without contributing to a mess.

Recently, my girlfriend moved in to my home before the current residents moved out. Suddenly, we were faced with a very serious problem: how do you store five adults worth of stuff in a three-bedroom home? We were forced to find space wherever we could. While some costly solutions were unavoidable (we had to at least temporarily acquire a storage unit), we discovered (read: she taught me) a lot of ways to add space where we thought we had none.

Use Command Hooks to Hang Objects

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

If you’re renting, you probably won’t want to do too many permanent alterations to the place you’re living. Command hooks allow you to hang things from your walls without creating any unnecessary holes, and they’re removed quite easily.

Command hooks can turn any wall into storage. Purses, coats, hats and anything else that can be hung can be placed on the hooks, saving space in closets. We’ve also shown before how you can use them to mount pot lids to the inside of cabinets.

Use Bed Risers to Boost Under-the-Bed Storage

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

The space under the bed is great for storing things, but it can quickly fill up. Bed risers can add several centimetres to the space underneath your bed.

Once you have the bed risers in place (which will probably require some extra hands to lift the frame), you can stack storage boxes on top of each other or utilise bigger bins.

Hang Storage Racks Over Doors (On Both Sides)

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

We’ve shown before how you can use hanging shoe organisers for more than just shoes. You can use them for storing cables, growing herbs, or even storing bathroom supplies. Particularly in studio apartments, or half baths where space is at a premium, a shoe organiser is perfect for storing all the various lotions, creams and bottles that would otherwise be sprawled across the counter.

Also, depending on where it is in the house, you can potentially pull double duty on a bathroom door. Hanging a shoe organiser on one side and a door hook for a bathrobe on the other doubles up your space saving. Of course, if you’re going to start hanging things from your door, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t overweigh the hinges.

Use Tension Rods to Hang Cleaning Supplies

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

If there’s one pattern you should pick up more than any other, it’s that the more stuff you can hang, the better. To wit: tension rods add extra storage to cabinets, and they give you a place to store your spray bottles and wash cloths.

This also helps in your closet. If you have the space for it, you can create a second clothing rod to hang more clothing, or just belts, scarves and anything light. Just be sure to leave room for any important clothes to hang loosely so they can dewrinkle after the wash.

Build Shelves Into Your Walls

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

This solution may not be available if you’re renting (unless you get approval from your landlord), but there is plenty of space to be utilised within the walls of your home. While it’s not quite as simple as hanging an organiser over a door, you can build shelves into your walls to add extra storage.

Of course, with great upsides come great downsides. Depending on where and how you decide to do this, you may reduce the amount of noise insulation in your home. Obviously this works better on walls that separate kitchen and dining rooms than it does separate bedrooms.

Slide a Pantry Next to Your Refrigerator

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

That couple of inches between your fridge and the wall are just a waste. Fortunately, you can build a slide-out shelf unit that fits between the two to store spices, canned or boxed goods, and other non-perishable food stuffs. Place the shelves on wheels and they can be pulled in and out as needed.

The project is fairly straightforward, but it does require a little bit of work. It’s pretty cheap too. All you really need is some wood, dowels, a handle and a couple of casters. More importantly, it doesn’t require any permanent drills or attachments, so it’s a great solution if you’re renting.

Buy a Projector Instead of a Television

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

If you already have a TV, it may not be worth it to trash it and buy a projector, but if you’re looking for something (and you can block out the light to your entertainment area), projectors can provide a high-quality entertainment system while taking up comparatively little space.

Which projector to get is a huge discussion unto itself. You can mount them to the ceiling while mounting the screen to the wall. This cuts down on space normally dedicated to an entertainment unit. It may require a somewhat long room, depending on the size of the display you want, but when you turn it off, your floor space is completely free.

Use Magnets on Everything

Eight Ways I Hacked My Tiny Apartment To Fit All My Stuff

Just about everyone has some magnets on their fridge to place coupons. However, the utility of magnets doesn’t end there. You can use magnets to adhere nail clippers, hair clips and other grooming tools to the inside of your medicine cabinet to save space on the shelves.

In the kitchen, you can also save a bunch of space in the cabinet by creating a magnetic spice rack. You can buy jars with magnets already built in, or glue magnets to existing jars. Then, mount a stainless steel sheet to the wall and place them all on the sheet to store them vertically. Just be extra sure to seal everything up tight so it doesn’t fall and make a mess.

Pictures: Lumberjocks, William Hook, The Kitchn


  • That few inches beside your refrigerator can be absolutely necessary in order for correct operation of your fridge.

    Check your manual for any appliance before reducing the airspace around them.

    • I was going to say the same thing. The side of fridges can get quite hot sometimes so they need airflow

    • A fridge is just a heat exchanger so to make your stuff cold the energy has to go somewhere.

      • If the heat can’t escape, then the exchanger won’t work properly, or it could even overheat leading to premature failure.

    • Pft, manuals. This is lifeHACKER. My fridge has been going strong with <10mm air space on either side for a very long time. Electricity consumption from its powerpoint is within the quoted specifications.

  • Also most shelf stable foods say to keep in a cool dry place, i.e. not right next to a heat exchanger.

  • I have used several of these techniques and have a few more to add:

    1. Make good use of vacuum bags for spare bed linen, pillows, quilts etc or anything else used infrequently.

    2. If you have a balcony or garden buy an outside storage box – I have a picnic hamper, small BBQ, fold up chairs, shopping trolley etc in mine.

    3. As well as larger stuff, use command hooks for your utensils over the cooker and kitchen worktops.

    4. Use see through shoe boxes – it allows you to stack more shoes than you’d normally be able to.

    5 Take the command hook thing to the limit – put two or three of the strongest ones in a line, cut a length of 1m or so of white plastic-covered metal curtain pole (about 1cm diameter) and create a wall hanging clothes rack. I have two (one below the other) behind my front door (for coats) and another two on the wall in my bedroom for all of my suits. You can use Ikea “FINTORP” hooks which fit perfectly on a 1cm pole and then hang the clothes off these hooks using normal coat hangers. You want the 7cm long, 5-pack. I also put some white plastic finials on the ends to finish the wall-mounted racks off.

    6. Use command hooks (see a theme here!) to hold metal storage baskets on the back of your kitchen cupboard doors. I store all of my aluminium foil, baking paper, zip lock bags etc in these. You can fit two per door. I bought wire-framed ones which were designed to hook over the cupboard door but they were ugly – the hooks were too wide and didn’t fit so I used a hacksaw to cut off the hooks and arms.

    7. Use drawer liners with compartments or pockets to store underpants and socks. You will need to fold and roll up the pants so you can store them vertically in the pockets. This has the advantage of using all of the space and you can see all of the items at once rather than in a stack.

    8, Buy one or two “VARIERA” plastic bag dispensers from Ikea (about $2 each) and use your old friend the command hook to hang them off the wall in the kitchen.

    9. Use an “over the top” shower storage unit the ‘wrong” way so the shelves are outside the shower and store your toiletries/cosmetics in it. I got a wire-frame one with three shelves. The part that now goes inside the shower has two hooks (designed for towels) on which I now hang a sponge and back-scrubber.

    10. Use one of the above the ‘proper’ way to hold towels outside the shower and shampoo etc inside (assumes you have a shower unit with two exposed sides).

  • Ummmm, maybe use something that is magnetic, you will struggle with most commonly available stainless steels.

  • When it comes to maximising space, I personally love using items that double up for storage space, but of course to the limits that can be afforded in my apartment of course. I find that it’s also easy to get ahead of the problem by renting out a self storage unit as well. It helps to get the things that I don’t use as often out of the way but still close at hand. Mobile storage is actually the most convenient of the options since I don’t even need to go to the facility to “withdraw” the item I’m looking for.

  • I personally think that dual purpose furniture does the trick. Other than that, a self storage unit or mobile pod might come of very handy to help give you the extra space that you need. Just put all the things that you don’t use as often in there and call it back as and when!

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