Learning how to declutter and organize a small home doesn’t have to be a giant headache. There are literally dozens of ways to accomplish organization with some really clever storage solutions you have to see to believe!
In reality, a lot of people live in 1000 s.f. or less of space and they have to make it work.
With that said we tend to accumulate a lifetime worth of items regardless of the square footage of our homes.
I myself live in about 980 square feet. I am lucky enough to have an attached single car garage with a clever storage space built in, but for the most part, I live tiny.
I do not have many kitchen cupboards, I have two very tiny drawers in the bathroom and only one closet. Yep, you heard me, only one.
I have no entryway closets, linen closets, only my one master bedroom closet.
So I have had to come up with some really creative solutions for my smaller space.
To be honest, though I really am in love with my small home, and it works for just us two and our three kitties.
Now, there are days I scroll through Pinterest and see these huge homes, with multiple bedrooms, tons of storage, and pantries the size of my current closet, and I wish I had more space.
But is not enough space really the problem here?
I have heard people with 2000+ square foot homes complain about not having enough space!
That made me realize it is not about limited space, it is about what we do with it.
There are so many ways to get creative with your smaller home and find ways to still have everything you need at your fingertips, and also be able to maintain a clean and organized home.
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1.PURGE. Before you can organize your smaller space, go on a decluttering spree. Get rid of anything and everything you can.
2. STOP WAITING FOR THAT ONE DAY. Sometimes we store things we may want to use when we finally move out of our small space into a bigger one. Unless it’s irreplaceable or your planning on moving soon, get rid of it. Buy new when you’re finally ready, you might be surprised how much your tastes change as more time goes on.
3. DO A FURNITURE COUNT. Sometimes in a small space we just simply have too much furniture. Take a look around and see if there is anything you can part with, whether it be for good or even temporary.
4. USE VERTICAL SPACE. In cities when they run out of space what do they do? They build up. Do the same thing in your home. Add shelving above door frames. Add a corner shelf that goes all the way to the ceiling. Hang shelves from the ceiling. Hang plants from the ceiling to clear surfaces.
5. UNDER THE BED STORAGE. Get long shallow bins and put them underneath your bed for instant and easily accessible storage.
6. THINK OUTSIDE THE DRAWER. If all of your makeup cannot fit inside a drawer, then take it out and display it in a canister, caddy, or a small cart. If all of your pajamas don’t fit in the drawer, maybe hang them up in the closet and put tank tops in that drawer. If it is not fitting and you cannot purge anymore, it needs to find a home where it will fit.
7. OVER THE TOILET. Invest in an over the toilet storage cabinet. There are so many choices, brands, and pricing points to choose from. Here are some really nice ones from Amazon for under $40!
8. SHOWER STORAGE. If your running out of room, get a corner shower shelving unit. They make your shower instantly more organized and attractive!
9. ONE OF A KIND. Living in a smaller space means you might not need duplicates of much. You might rethink how many couch pillows you have or how many dishes you own. Reduce the number of duplicates in your home to just want you will really need.
10. PAINT IT LIGHT. Darker wall colors make a space feel smaller, give the walls a fresh coat of light colored paint to try and make the home feel larger.
11. RISERS. In cupboards, the fridge, the pantry, etc. get risers to help create another layer of surface to put things on.
12. MAKE ONE ROOM INTO TWO. When you live in a small space you have to get creative with the rooms you have, to get the rooms you don’t. So think about carving out a space in the bedroom for a desk and shelves. Maybe make an exercise area in the living room by making sure everything you need is within arms reach. I keep my yoga mat and weights in a long closeable ottoman in my living room.
13. HOOKS, HOOKS, AND MORE HOOKS. Add hooks to your front door area for purses and coats. Add hooks in the closet for scarves and belts. Add hooks to the bathroom to place your robe and more towels.
14. RE-ARRANGE. Look at your current set up, can the furniture be moved around to make more sense? Could your dresser move to the closet for more space in the bedroom? Walk around your place and write down all the possibilities you have to rearrange your furniture, items, and the pictures hanging on the walls.
15. MATCH YOUR FURNITURE. A mismatched set of furniture that does not flow well, is all it takes to make a small space feel even smaller. A lot of furniture can be sanded and painted or stained. Maybe it’s time to consider this project, especially if buying new furniture is out of the budget.
16. CONDENSE YOUR PAPERWORK. When dealing with paper clutter, ask yourself how hard would this be to replace if it was gone? If you answer not hard at all- toss it. If you answer yes, it would be hard- keep. Try to find one smaller filing box and make sure only to keep things you actually need. (No, manuals for the toaster oven does not count, that’s what the internet is for…)
17. FIND MULTIPURPOSE ITEMS. Ottomans with storage, a blender that can make a smoothie and salsa, a coffee maker that can use K-Cups and ground coffee. Next time you make a purchase, ask yourself could this item provide multiple functions? If yes then welcome it with open arms into your small space and get rid of whatever it might be replacing.
18. PACK UP THINGS YOU AREN’T READY TO PART WITH. Ok I get it, purging can be hard, I myself am holding onto to two (UNIQUE IRREPLACEABLE) Bombay side tables for when I have a larger living room in the future. I know what your thinking well that kind of goes against the whole purge and replace thing, but the world is not always so black and white.
19. STACKABLE CONTAINERS. Bins and containers are organized persons best friend, but some of them are not created equally. Bins with no lids are great, but you cannot stack them. Next time you’re in the market searching for bins and containers, look for ones with lids so they can be stacked on top on each other.
20. CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACE. Surfaces are the first things that get cluttered. Yet when they are cleared off you immediately feel less overwhelmed by your items. I challenge you to go to every surface in the home and try to find at least one item a new home.
21. OVER THE DOOR ORGANIZERS. There are so many nicer looking ones nowadays. Get an over the door organizer for whatever you need. Think one for the closet for scarves or shoes. Laundry room for cleaning supplies. Linen closet for medicine. The possibilities are endless.
22. TENSION RODS. Holy moly tension rods are the cheapest and easiest things to work with! You can use them inside your cupboards to hang baskets to put smaller items. You can use them to create designated slots for your thin baking sheets. The lists for uses for tensions rods goes on and on!
23. OPEN SHELVING. The kitchen tends to be a space-challenged area when you live in a small space. If there is a place for an open shelving unit, add it. Use this to display dishes, fruit, small appliances, anything that you just cannot fit inside your cupboards but still need. To prevent this from being an eyesore, pull out your nicer looking kitchen items and display your stuff to look beautiful but also practical.
24. RUGS. A rug can make all the difference in a small space and knowing how many, how big, and where to place them can make your place seem much bigger, or much smaller. Choose one large rug for the living room. Big enough to make all the furniture connect. Choose a solid or lightly patterned rug.
25. GREEN. Nothing will make a space feel larger and more peaceful then little bits of green around. A greenhouse plant (artificial or not) will help make the space feel more airy and open.
The Most Helpful Decluttering Guide Ever
26. MINIMIZE THE TOPS OF CUPBOARDS. If you have that empty space on top of your kitchen cupboards, try having nothing up there for one week to see how that would feel. If you just have to have something there only put back a few items at different heights in the corners instead of filling every square inch of space with decor and fake plants.
27. RETHINK YOUR CURTAINS. If you have nicer blinds maybe think about not having any curtains at all. If you must have curtains in your home, choose a light color and pick an airy fabric for your curtains. To give a small space height hang the curtains a good 2 feet above the valance and make sure the curtains just barely hit the floor.
28. TRANSFORM YOUR CLOSET INTO SOMETHING ELSE. Do you really need a workspace? Maybe a little home office, or a crafting area? If you have the creativity you could take the doors off of an existing closet and transform it into a workspace.
29. BEDROOM SWITCHEROO. Depending on a layout of an apartment style home, sometimes the room sizes don’t make sense. The master bedroom is bigger than the living room. The second bedroom is smaller than a closet. Who says you have to be conventional with your home. Turn that small bedroom into your closet, turn your master closet into a desk/office area.
30. PEEL & STICK. If your renting, the challenges for decorating are real. There are now peel and stick everything to transform anything with no real damage. Peel and stick backsplash, peel and stick floor tiles, peel and stick fabric wallpaper. Whether you’re going to be renting or can’t afford a remodel, make your home a place you love. Don’t let laminate hold you back anymore!
31. HAMPERS. Not just for clothes anymore! Home Goods has wicker hampers with lids for under $20! Use these hampers around the home for extra storage. Put the container of the dog’s food inside one. Put extra blankets inside one and use it as an end table in the living room. Put umbrellas and odd shaped items inside one for when you first walk into the home.
32. STOP IGNORING THE HOME ENTRYWAY. Add hooks, a mirror, an enclosed wicker hamper, a small bench, baskets for shoes, or a small table to place sunglasses, wallets, etc. This area will prevent you from leaving messes all around the home.
33. TRANSFORM THE UGLIEST PARTS OF YOUR HOME. We all have that one area that is just plain ugly. The laundry room with the cat litter box, or the patio with no charm, etc. Find your ugly and look for ways to make this space more visually appealing. When you live in a small home, you want to feel good in every square inch of the place because you’re going to see all of it every single day.
34. MAKE BETTER USE OF THE OUTSIDE. Most small apartments, condos, and homes come with some sort of patio, balcony, or yard space. Take advantage of this additional square footage! Create a cozy place you love by taking some time to decorate it.
35. MAKE YOUR PETS’ THINGS MORE VISUALLY APPEALING. When crammed into a small space with pets, sometimes their beds, bowls, tanks, and toys can be a huge eyesore. Places like Home Goods and TJ Maxx have some of the most adorable and inexpensive dog and cats beds, bowls, and toys.
36. USE THE INSIDE OF CUPBOARD DOORS. Line the inside of the door with command hooks to hang smaller items. Such as measuring cups and spoons. You could also line the inside cupboards with cork and use tacks to create a space to pin up recipes or coupons.
37. USE 3-TIERED CARTS. Instead of side tables use 3 tiered carts. You can have a spot for three times as much stuff while still being small and mobile. You can fit these carts almost anywhere, and they are so inexpensive.
38. ADD AN ACCENT WALL. When living small, sometimes painting all the walls a different color and start to make the space feel like it’s closing in on you. By choosing one smart wall in the home for an accent it can completely transform the space. Think long vertical stripes to add length. Also, light neutral colors to make a space feel more open.
39. GET TALLER SHOWER CURTAINS. Just like creating an elongated effect with taller curtains over windows you can do the same thing for a shower curtain. Get a tension rod and bring it up to the tippy top of your bathroom ceiling, hand two long paneled curtains on either side and you have instantly made your shower feel larger and more luxurious than it actually is.
40. LONG SKINNY TABLES ARE THE NEW THING. If you do not have space for side tables in the living room or next to your bed, opt for a super thin and long table behind your couch and bed. It will give you the surface space you need to add lamps, decor, books, etc without taking up too much valuable space.
41. VELCRO. Use velcro underneath your coffee table and add the other piece to remotes and controllers. No need to have them floating around being clutter when not in use.
42. USE A LARGE SHALLOW BASKET ON YOUR COUNTERTOPS. Instead of having multiple small things taking space on your countertops, put everything in one decorative shallow basket in the corner. Think for the kitchen, utensil holder, oil and vinegar jars, salt and pepper shakers, maybe even a knife block.
43. FLOATING SHELVES. In places where you need more storage, think about getting a few floating shelves to install. We don’t have a medicine cabinet and I hung up two floating shelves for all of my nicer hair products. (Anything that looks ugly I put down in the cabinet).
44. INSTALL TOWEL BARS ON THE INSIDE OF THE BATHROOM DOOR. If you don’t have enough space for all of the towels then add additional towel bars. A great place we often overlook is the actual door itself!
45. UTILIZE THE END CAP OF YOUR CABINETS. Typically in most homes, you will have at least one kitchen or bathroom cabinet that has a bare side. Drill in hooks and use this wasted space! Hang all of your wooden cutting boards or cast iron pans.
46. MATCH YOUR BINS. Over time we tend to accumulate bins that are all different shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. Now mismatched baskets and bins could work in your home if there is still a cohesiveness to them all. Think galvanized buckets matched with dark wicker.
47. STOP GOING OVERBOARD WITH WALL ART. Sometimes we just can’t help it, we hang up every single picture we own. Well, would your home survive without that painting or that gallery of old glamour family photos? Probably! Try sticking to your favorites and let go of some of those older pictures.
48. CREATE ONE CORNER OF CLARITY. In a small home, you learn to cram everything in and often it makes your mind feel overwhelmed as you look at it all. Find just one wall, one room, or one corner of your home that you just leave blank. Let it be a spot for you to stare at and let your mind relax.
49. GLUE MAGNETS ON THE BOTTOM OF SMALL CONTAINERS. Fill these containers with spices, herbs, etc. and simply stick them to the side of your fridge.
50. MOVE YOUR COFFEE POT SOMEWHERE BESIDES YOUR KITCHEN COUNTER. If you think about it, a coffee pot tends to take up a lot of counter space. Somewhere close to the kitchen add a small cabinet where you can place the coffee pot, it’s accessories, and all the coffee cups in one spot.
Whether your small home is temporary or permanent there are so many clever ways to find storage and space.
Do not let the square footage of your home stop you from being your most creatively organized self!