20 essential organizing tips for living in small spaces
Shutterstock

20 essential organizing tips for living in small spaces

When you're living in a small space, whether it's a cramped apartment or a tiny home, organization is always a challenge. There's seemingly never enough space to make sure that all your clothes, toys, and other essentials have a proper place to go. 

If you're dealing with a small space in desperate need of organization, flip through the gallery below for 20 essential organizing ideas, from the initial decluttering purge to tiny changes you can make in your home to maximize storage space. 

 
1 of 20

First, do a big purge

First, do a big purge
Shutterstock

Before trying to organize your spaces, the most important step is getting rid of junk that shouldn't be there in the first place. Purge cabinets and closets, then take inventory of what you have that needs organizing. 

 
2 of 20

Maximize your dedicated storage spaces

Maximize your dedicated storage spaces
Shutterstock

Empty out your closets and cabinets to see exactly how to make the best use of the space. From there, you can add bins, storage containers, dividers, and other organizational tools to make the most of these dedicated storage spaces. 

 
3 of 20

Use your doors

Use your doors
Shutterstock

The back of a door is like a blank canvas when it comes to organization. Use over-the-door organizers to store makeup in the bathroom, shoes in the closet, and cleaning supplies in the laundry room. You can also hang hooks for storing coats, backpacks, and purses. 

 
4 of 20

Hang shelves

Hang shelves
Shutterstock

If you've got a lot of empty wall space, hanging shelves can help decorate your room while creating tons of new storage opportunities. Use bins and baskets to neatly unsightly items, while saving some space to show off your rock collection or family photos. 

 
5 of 20

Take advantage of under-the-bed spaces

Take advantage of under-the-bed spaces
Shutterstock

After clearing out all the junk from under your bed, make the most of that space! Invest in bins specifically designed to slide under the bed to store shoes, rarely-used linens, and other items, or consider building a DIY drawer that can hold pretty much anything. 

 
6 of 20

Go vertical

Go vertical
Shutterstock

Thinking vertically can help make the most of tiny kitchens and other spaces, ranging from pot racks that can hang from the ceiling to hanging planters that add visual interest in the living room. 

 
7 of 20

Use bins and baskets to make organizing space on the floor

Use bins and baskets to make organizing space on the floor
Shutterstock

Sometimes, there just isn't anywhere for the items you need to store to go. Enter baskets, which can be tucked into a corner and used to store kids' toys, errant electronics, and other clutter that always seems to pile up. 

 
8 of 20

Make the most of your nooks and crannies

Make the most of your nooks and crannies
Shutterstock

If you've got a tiny, unused space, it's likely that it could be employed to keep your home more organized. Corner shelves can add storage, while spice racks and pull-out pantries can make the most of that tiny space between the counter and refrigerator in the kitchen. 

 
9 of 20

Devote some time each week to putting everything in its place

Devote some time each week to putting everything in its place
Shutterstock

When you're living in a smaller space, you've got to spend a little more time keeping everything in its place. Carve out an hour each week to walk around your home gathering up clutter and putting it back in its designated space. Pro-tip: for best success, enlist the rest of the family in this effort every week. 

 
10 of 20

Use blanket ladders

Use blanket ladders
Shutterstock

Blanket ladders are a super-trendy way to store those cozy couch throws, but they're also super practical. Make a DIY version that also includes room for shoes and books, or score a vintage find at a nearby antique store. 

 
11 of 20

Develop a pantry organization system...and stick to it

Develop a pantry organization system...and stick to it
Shutterstock

Every pantry needs its own organization system, one that makes sense for the way you cook and eat. Once you develop a strategy that works for you, like decanting dry goods into canisters or storing snacks in bins, stick to it. 

 
12 of 20

Use empty wall spaces to create functional decor

Use empty wall spaces to create functional decor
Illya Kryzhanivskyy / Shutterstock.com

Not sure where you're going to put those old dishes you inherited from grandma? Hang 'em on the wall! Instead of storing away heirlooms that take up room in your closets, use them as functional decor. 

 
13 of 20

Invest in lazy susans for crowded cabinets

Invest in lazy susans for crowded cabinets
Amazon

Lazy susans make keeping the condiment chaos in your pantry or refrigerator just a little bit easier. They're also great for storing skin care products in the bathroom, or art supplies in the playroom. 

 
14 of 20

Use a kitchen cart to keep frequently used ingredients on hand — and score more counter space

Use a kitchen cart to keep frequently used ingredients on hand — and score more counter space
Shutterstock

For folks who are stuck with a tiny kitchen, there's no underestimating the utility of a handy kitchen cart. Use it to store frequently used ingredients, then add a butcher block cutting board on top to score a little more counter space on the cheap. 

 
15 of 20

Store winter clothes and comforters in vacuum bags

Store winter clothes and comforters in vacuum bags
Shutterstock

When you run out of space in the closet or under the bed, vacuum bags can work wonders in storing fluffy items like clothing and comforters. Just make sure to label each bag with its contents and the date you sealed it up. If you don't use any of those items within a year, consider tossing or donating them for more space. 

 
16 of 20

Hang baskets inside closets and bathrooms for more storage space

Hang baskets inside closets and bathrooms for more storage space
Shutterstock

Even if your closet is equipped with plenty of shelves, baskets are a cheap way to add more storage, especially for items that can be challenging to store like belts and hats. 

 
17 of 20

Use tension rods to create hanging storage

Use tension rods to create hanging storage
Shutterstock

Cheap tension rods can be employed in a variety of organizational strategies, from using a thin rod to create a rack for storing cleaning products in the cabinet under the sink, to a full-sized shower curtain rod that's used inside the shower to hang baskets for storing shampoo, soap, and other essentials. 

 
18 of 20

Don't forget the side of your fridge

Don't forget the side of your fridge
Urban Outfitters Official Photo

The side of the refrigerator isn't just for your kid's artwork. Invest in organizers for storing mail or spices on the side of the fridge, or consider mounting a multi-tier shelf (like this one from Urban Outfitters) for even more storage space. 

 
19 of 20

Use magnetic strips to hang knives, spice jars, and other essentials

Use magnetic strips to hang knives, spice jars, and other essentials
Shutterstock

Magnetic strips are an inexpensive way to store everything from knives to spices in the kitchen. They can also be used to keep keys in the same place, or store tools in the garage. 

 
20 of 20

Use pull-out racks for drying in your laundry room

Use pull-out racks for drying in your laundry room
Shutterstock

Stuck with a tiny laundry room? Consider a pull-out drying rack that can be pushed aside when not in use in favor of one of those bulky (and rickety) standalone racks that always seem to fall over at the most inconvenient times. 

Amy McCarthy is a Texas-based journalist. Follow her on twitter at @aemccarthy

More must-reads:

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.