Life is messy and when we are busy with what feels like a million and one things, it can be a challenge to keep your home organized. When you live in a small space, this challenge can become even bigger because you have fewer places to put all your stuff.
While I can’t solve all your organizational issues in one blog post, I have been learning a lot about staying organized and tidy in small spaces as we get more established in the beach house (a 900 sq. ft cottage). Today I want to share a few of my tips for staying organized in small spaces that I’ve been using myself.
We are still working at the beach house, so in addition to staying there, we are still working around tools and other construction supplies. This has been a challenge, but I think it’s also made me aware of how to keep our things tidy and organized so the house doesn’t feel smaller than it is.
Let’s get to my tips.
Make it a habit to regularly clear out excess clutter.
Just like you clean your floors, scrub your bathrooms and make your bed, when your space is small, you have to also make a habit of constantly evaluating what goes and what stays. You simply don’t have room to store and keep everything so keeping your belongings to only what you absolutely love the most will help you keep your home feeling tidy and organized.
Oh and don’t forget the paper clutter. Yeah, you know what I mean. Find a system for managing your clutter and stick to it and your small space will thank you!
Make Use of Every Inch
When you are starting out with a small space (whether it’s just a room or your entire home) you have to make sure you are making the most of every square inch.
We started with a true blank slate at the beach house so we could design the entire space to make the most of every inch. Chances are you don’t have that luxury so you’ll have to be creative.
Make use of vertical space like I did in my tiny office. It’s just 5 x 8 but I made use of the 9’ ceilings by building bookshelves that go all the way to the ceilings. This gives me a ton of storage.
At the beach house, we were originally going to just close off the space under the stairs to make a closet similar to what was there before but we realized that we’d be wasting space by doing that. Instead we added built-in cabinets that give us more structured storage and because it’s more open, it gives the room the illusion of more space.
In the tiny bedroom, we built a custom bed platform slightly higher than a traditional bed to allow for storage space under the bed for things like extra blankets and beach towels and extra bedding and seasonal items.
These three simple things we did allow us to make the most of the space we have which gave us additional storage and easy organization.
Opt for Double Duty Furniture
Furniture styles come down to personal preference of course when when furnishing a small space that lacks a lot of storage, consider getting creative with your furniture choices. Choose pieces that not only fit the scale of your room but that also serve double duty.
For example, if your home office also has to serve as your guest bedroom, consider a good quality sleeper sofa or a built-in murphy bed that can be pulled out only when you need it.
At the beach house, we don’t have a lot of storage space in the living room and don’t have room for large pieces of furniture so we found this coffee table on the side of the road that we cut down and painted and it’s perfect. The ends open up to large storage bins giving us the perfect place to store movies and games out of sight. We also know that these storage bins are the space we have for these things so we cannot add to our collection if it doesn’t fit.
This is where the “one in, one out’ rule can come in handy too.
Decorate with Baskets to use as Attractive Storage Containers
Baskets are an absolute favorite home item. You can find baskets to fit any style decor and they not only look great but they can serve as great storage pieces for things that you don’t want to see out all the time.
I’ve shared some of the storage baskets I use at home to organize things like shopping bags (laundry room) and my stacked lidded baskets in our family room that also function as a side table.
At the beach house, where storage and space is limited, I added two similar baskets to use as an end table that also provide a lot of added storage. These were a recent thrift store find and for less than $10 each, it was impossible to leave them in the store! We are using one for extra throw blankets and the other for magazines and other random items that can clutter up surfaces.
Stick to Clear Storage Totes
Storage totes are a great way to keep your things organized in closets and storage areas. I always suggest going with clear totes so that you can see what’s inside for easy access and for easily putting things away. No more opening five totes to find the one with the items you are looking for. That’s a time saver too!
Use Wall Systems for Vertical Storage
I touched on this a bit above where I talked about making use of every inch. Pre-made wall systems can be a super affordable way of creating vertical storage inside closets for added storage.
Our tiny pantry under the stairs at home is proof of how you can multiply your storage area using this tip. We literally doubled the amount of storage space by using an inexpensive modular shelving system.
We did a similar thing in the tiny closets at the beach house. Because we don’t have room in the first floor bedroom for a lot of furniture, we decided to add shelves to the bottom of each closet to give us some space for folded clothes and shoes. By using similar modular shelving systems to the one in our pantry at home we were able to drastically increase the amount of storage space in these closets.
These simple tips wont solve all of your organizational problems but as we settle into the beach house I’m finding they are helpful at managing our belongings in a small space. I hope that you find some of them helpful too!