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Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

By on May 9, 2016
Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Storage is a never-ending conundrum whether you live in a small space by choice or necessity. DIY gurus that suggest ample closet space don’t take into consideration that you might not have the ability to build your tiny house from the ground up. Ditto for empty walls – and hidden nooks and crannies are sometimes hard to come by, even in pre-manufactured housing. Creating more storage space for your small abode takes a little bit of creative problem solving.

Make it Part of Your Decor

If you can’t hide it, think about displaying it. Sure, your collection of tea towels might not hold a lot of visual appeal on their own, but stacked on a shelf with a delightful tchotchke on top and you’ve got a tableau that tells a story.

Shelving, bookcases and even carefully placed picture frames or hangers adorning the walls can help keep your collection of everyday items handy and in sight.

DIY shelving units allow you to make use of vertical space without taking up hard-to-come-by square footage. A true DIY option is finding a nice board and some brackets and screwing them together before anchoring them to the walls. But if you’re not inclined to put in that amount of work, pre-manufactured options like Ikea’s popular Valje model allow you to mix and match hanging cabinets and shelves that have style and panache.

Bookcases, likewise, are a popular beginning project for DIY carpenters. Unlike hanging shelving, they take up a footprint in your room, but it may be worth it to be able to store larger items and hide away clutter in bins, baskets and vases. A from-scratch bookshelf requires a little more planning and know-how than basic shelves, but is still within the realm of possibility for weekend warriors looking to expand their tiny space storage. Repurposing household items, like ladders, to act as bookshelves when not in use is also possible.

Pre-manufactured options are available in almost every price range, from bargain Wal-Mart units to designer names like Sauder. Appearance and size vary, with units that range from looking like pared-down step ladders to large corner units that make use of oft-overlooked spaces.

Picture frames are perfect for storing flat or mostly flat sentimental items that don’t require regular use. Papers, photographs and fabric (for example, your beloved collegiate t-shirt collection) all benefit from the framing treatment. Play interior decorator and arrange frames in a pleasing manner, or revel in the visual clutter of framing a mish-mash of items and grouping them together.

The simplest storage solution, a hanger hung on a nail on the wall, is practical but not very sightly. Still, it gets items like quilts, towels, and even kitchen utensils off of your clutter list and up on the walls. Put your imagination to work – you might become a trend-setter.

Make Furniture Do Double Duty

If you’re living in a small space and your furniture is only serving one purpose, it’s time to upgrade to a piece that pulls double duty. Tables that have built-in drawers are just one example of a multi-functional piece of furniture that serves small space dwellers well.

If Pinterest is anything to go by, storage ottomans are THE big item in multi-purpose furniture that acts as a spot to rest and a space to store your stuff. Craft your own out of an old tire by cutting a round board to sit atop your tire, stapling some fabric and stuffing on top and hiding the seam with a round of decorative rope or piping, and attaching it to your tire with hinges. But again, if you aren’t artistically inclined, models are available in every style and price point you could imagine.

Don’t stop there though — consider what other items in your house can pull double duty. Can you store bins and boxes under your kitchen table? Can you invest in a smaller kitchen table that folds up to the wall when not in use? How about the old standby of the Murphy bed or pull-out sofa, both of which have advanced in comfort, ease of use and style since their heyday in the ’70’s.

Non-Permanent Solutions for Small Space Storage

Not all tiny space dwellers own their homes. If you’re renting a mobile home in the country or an efficiency in Manhattan, not only do you have to work within the confines of a small space, but also within the bounds of your rental agreement. Even if you’re a tiny house owner, you may want to try out a temporary storage option before committing to a more permanent addition to your space.

Metal file bins and magazine holders adhere to the inside of cabinet doors with glue dots and adhesive hooks. Tension rods for curtains and showers allow you to hang up extra clothing or even keep your cleaning supplies in line. Other non-permanent solutions include shoe racks hung from the back of doors, and lazy-susans popped in the back of cabinets to make use of otherwise inaccessible spaces. Make extra use of vertical space in your freezer, fridge and cabinets with stackable wire shelving units intended for offices.

Outdoor Storage Solutions

If you can’t keep it inside, think about keeping it outside. A simple shed or even a dog house with a closing door can provide you with a little extra storage space in your outdoor environment, and both are accessible weekend projects for beginning DIYers.

Pre-made storage solutions, both permanent and movable, are available from home improvement retailers like Home Depot and Lowes. Prices range from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on how much space you need and what materials you prefer. A plastic mini storage shed will cost far less than a fully constructed wooden cottage-style unit.

Maximizing Small Space Storage

If you’re living in a small space, you’ll need to exercise creativity to maximize your storage space potential. Look toward unused spaces and figure out how to make them usable. Keep your clutter off the ground and make it part of your decor. If an item is simply decorative and not functional, consider ditching it for something that pulls double duty, or ditching it altogether. The easiest way to maximize your storage space is to minimize your need by decluttering your possessions.

Frugal Village

One Comment

  1. Linda

    6/30/2016 at 11:59 pm

    My room is always messy, I have hard time to organize things because of my busy schedule but I realize that as a woman, we cleaning and organizing is very important for living.Maybe I should start to change everything. Now, I want to organoze things through creating storage for things. Thanks for sharing this article. I want to apply this in my room too.

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