Guest Blog: Making Your Small Living Space Work for You

By Jessica Johnson, Guest Blogger

Most of us have lots of things. Unfortunately, those things have to go somewhere, and not all of us have big houses with spare rooms and garages in which to spread out, so what do you do when you live in a small living space and you have a bunch of stuff?

If you have small living space to work with, you can find creative places to make more room or rent a storage unit from (Photo courtesy of Jessica Johnson)

If you have small living space to work with, you can find creative places to make more room or rent a storage unit from (Photo courtesy of Jessica Johnson)

The first step is to pare down your possessions to what you really need to keep, but that’s only going to get you so far. There are things we need to keep handy, whether it’s off-season clothes or important papers, but when you’re living in a small apartment, even those things can be tricky to fit in.

So where to start?

  • Under the bed – Even if you have a small bed, there is probably plenty of space to box up and store those bathing suits and t-shirts you won’t need until spring. But don’t stop there; invest in a set of bed risers to lift your bed up another few inches – which doesn’t sound like much, but depending on your bed, that could almost double the storage space down there.
  • In the closets – Using closets for storage isn’t a novel idea, but most of us waste a lot of the available space in there. Open the closet and take a few steps back. Look up, look down, look at the sides – if you can see the floor or the back wall, then you’ve got space you can fill. Storage boxes on the floor are an easy and common solution, but what about that space at the top? Most closets are the same interior height as the room, but most closet shelves are designed to be reached by someone standing on the floor. Adding some cheap wire shelves at the top of your closet can add plenty of new space that’s perfect for storing things you only occasionally need to access.
  • Behind closed doors – Closet and bathroom doors are the best bets for hanging storage that will be out-of-sight most of the time, but any door that’s generally closed when you have company over is worth considering.

Other options:

  • Furniture – If you have the luxury of buying new furniture for your living space, be on the lookout for multi-purpose pieces. A coffee table without shelves or drawers underneath is wasted space, as is an ottoman that doesn’t open up to allow you to throw some blankets or pillows in. There are several stores that specialize in multi-function furniture for small spaces. If you don’t have access to a store locally, take a look online and see what’s out there that you might not have considered.
  • Bathroom – Another common place for wasted space in the home is that wall above the toilet. A wall-mounted or freestanding cabinet against the wall is a great solution for keeping bathroom clutter out of the way.
  • Shelves, shelves, and more shelves – If you can’t make your clutter completely disappear, you can at least get it out of the way, and that usually means adding some shelves. Bookcases are great for heavy or frequently used items, but for a cheaper and more versatile solution, consider wall-mounted shelves. They can be easily installed on almost any empty stretch of wall including above windows and in corners where nothing else will work.

We can’t all be blessed with endless closets and attics to fill, but with a little bit of planning and creative thinking, you can make your small living space into the perfect home.

Jessica Johnson works for and contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions.

This article is a guest post. The thoughts and ideas in this post do not necessarily reflect those of

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