Maximizing storage in small spaces

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One of the universal truths of apartment living (or, honestly, living just about anywhere in an urban area) is that there never seems to be enough space for storage. Whether your apartment is a sprawling three-bedroom townhouse or a minimalist studio, finding a place to tuck away your stuff when it’s not in use can be a challenge. Worse, it’s simply not all that easy to part with some items, even if they take up too much room. But don’t despair! To make the most of your space, consider these handy storage solutions (particularly number five!)

1. Double Duty Storage

  1. it’s a chair, couch, bed, or any table other than a dining room table, your furniture has potential to live a double life as a storage unit. Consider ottomans with lids, beds with “hidden” drawers beneath the mattress or in the headboard, and coffee tables with built-in storage. Whenever you purchase a new piece of furniture, visualize how it might work for storage. Already have items in your home you don’t want to replace? There are dozens of under-bed or under-table storage bins you can purchase that you can hide away with tablecloths or bed skirts.

2. Make your furniture (almost) disappear!

While most apartments don’t come equipped with a Murphy bed, which folds up into the wall for storage, the idea has caught on for other furniture items. You can find chairs, tables, footrests, and even desks that can be folded up and stored in a fraction of their usual space, giving you room to breathe when they’re not in use. Another advantage? Some of these lighter pieces can be hung on the walls in their folded position, clearing floor space as well.

3. Add storage to unexpected places

One of the most underutilized space for storage in an apartment is the bathroom. With a collection of wall-hanging baskets or under-the-sink stackable bins, you can double or even triple your bathroom storage possibilities. Looking for other ideas? Try installing shelving high on your walls that you need a stepstool to reach (but which are perfect for a line of cute, tidy bins that store away lighter items you don’t need all the time), or over-the-door hanging cubbies for closets, cupboards, bedrooms and (once again!) the bathroom.

Get creative! You can use behind-the-door shoe holders for all sorts of small items besides shoes, putting everything at your fingertips—or hang pegboards on your kitchen walls to keep your pans within easy reach.

4. Repurpose closets more thoughtfully

Speaking of closets, do you really need to stuff your clothes, coats, shoes and old paperwork into every corner, or could one or two of your closets be used for other purposes—such as a mini-office or craft area? By upgrading your closet to functional space, you open up possibilities for other rooms in your apartment (and finally have the excuse to purge all those clothes you’re never going to wear again.)

5. Set an intention for light living

It goes without saying, if you have less stuff to store, your organizational problems will be far easier to solve! Most of our belongings have sentimental value that far outstrips their actual usefulness, so consider rethinking your attachment to your stuff.

If an apartment is truly a short-term housing solution for you, and you plan on using your belongings to set up house in a larger home within the next several months—that’s understandable. But if you’re holding onto furniture that’s dated, cheap, or damaged, consider discarding it or giving it away. You can always visit a thrift store when the time comes if you don’t want to spend a lot of money outfitting your new home.

Alternatively, if you truly can’t part with an item, consider storing it at a trusted friend’s house in a tidy, well-labeled bin. But by developing a mindset of being able to move lightly through this world, you may find yourself ridding yourself of items that no longer serve you…and enjoying the space you have so much more!

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