7 Tips to Staying Organized in Small Spaces
Organizing can be a frustrating task...especially when you have a small home or small space to work with. However frustrating it can be, it is possible to organize small spaces and keep them organized.
Creative organization solutions and maintenance are essential for making it work.
My Home Organization Dilemma
One thing that used to frustrate me about my home was the lack of closet space and space in general. It’s an older home, and most of the closets are small. Two of our bedrooms have decent closets, but the 3rd bedroom and closet are tiny…especially when two people share it.
In our home, we have two hallway closets, one is our linen closet and the other is what we use as our entry closet. Both are small (at least by today’s standards of walk in closets and pantry’s).
The bathroom has a small closet, but it also has a vanity with 2 cupboards and some drawers.
Our kitchen has a pantry that is also small…especially for how much food we need each week to feed our growing family. We have added a shelving unit in the basement that acts as a second pantry/storage.
For the last 11 years, our family, has grown from 4 people to 6 in this house. We have mostly lived on the top floor of our home which is about 1,100 square feet; it includes 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
1/3-1/2 of our basement has been occupied by my brothers (up to 3 at one time, plus a dog) over the last 8 years or so.
Currently we only have one of my brothers living with us, and a couple years ago we took back some of the space in the basement, which we now use as a homeschool room/office, which means we have a bit more space to work with and another room to organize.
Years ago, the size of our home was extremely frustrating for me. I couldn’t wait to get out, into a larger home. I would often think about what my dream home would look like, with all the closets and space we would have to organize. I became frustrated and ungrateful for my home (I’m not proud of my attitude at that time).
It’s been many years and we’re still in the same house. Not much has changed, and yet everything has changed...mainly, my attitude.
Eventually, I realized that my attitude sucked and my house wasn’t the problem. My attitude was. Many years ago, families were much larger and they lived in much smaller houses…some without indoor plumbing.
With that in mind, I realized I didn’t have anything to complain about, and I had a lot to be grateful for. God had blessed me with a family and home. I am blessed and thankful for the home I have…small closets and all.
With a new attitude, I set about getting my home organized in a way that would optimize our small spaces.
How To Stay Organized In A Small Home
Trying to stay organized in a small home, with lots of people can be tough, but there are a few things I have learned along the way.
· Set limits and minimize
Be intentional with what you bring into the home and what you keep.
Don’t keep bringing new items into the home if you’re already feeling overwhelmed by clutter. Ask yourself, do you need it? Do you love it? Will you use it? Do you have space for it? Remember, we can usually make do with a lot less than we think we can.
Don’t hold on to more than you need. Do you really need 30 bath towels or 3 sets of sheets for each bed? Not usually. It’s so easy to wash what we have and reuse it within a couple of hours. This saves space and money.
Another good practice is to give yourself limits. If you only have room for 5 pairs of shoes or one bucket of puzzles, then implement the one in-one out rule. Don’t have more than you can fit.
· Stay on top of clutter by decluttering often
Clutter can make any area feel unorganized quickly. There are some areas that need constant upkeep to keep the clutter under control. A few of these areas are; household paper, incoming mail, toys, pantry and fridge. Maintain these areas regularly to help you keep the area organized and tidy.
· Keep like items together
Keeping like items together, in the area that you use them will cut down on clutter because items will have a home and a place to put them away. No more random items sitting on the kitchen counter when they belong in the bathroom.
· Revamp as needed
Living in a small home or a home that has small closets and storage space, will require you to be very intentional with your space. Keep in mind that organization of the home is constantly evolving...especially when you have children.
For our home, we have gone from 2 kids to 4. From babies and toddlers, with all the baby stuff, to big kids and no more baby items. From 9 of us living in this house to 7 of us living here. From us homeschooling at the table in the dining room, to us having a homeschool room/office.
If I don’t reorganize based on our needs, along with consistent decluttering and purging, we would be living in complete chaos and clutteroverload.
· Borrow instead of buy
If you are lacking space, don’t purchase items you don’t regularly use.
For example; is canning something you do often? If not, borrow the tools needed for canning, instead of purchasing them.
Make good use of the library. If you like to read, then borrow books instead of buying. If it’s a book you want to own, and you have space for it, then purchase it.
· Get creative with your organization solutions
Remember, organization is about function, not perfection. Start with what you have to work with and don’t worry about things matching or coordination, or if you have the right furniture.
Of course, most of us love that Pinterest perfect look, but it’s not in the budget or possible for everyone.
Also, important to small space organizing is thinking outside the box and getting creative with what we use to organize. For the longest time our school books were stored in the IKEA shoe cabinet. Now I keep my recipe binders in there.
Most of the kid’s crafts, coloring supplies and small games are kept in a dresser drawer that serves as a hutch in the dining room.
Here are some of my favorite organizing solutions for making small space organization work.
Best Tools For Organizing Small Spaces
· Square or rectangular storage containers
This shape makes the best use of the space.
· Command hooks
Command hooks are great for hanging things on the back of doors or sides of closets and drawers.
· Stacking baskets, buckets or containers
When containers stack, they make good use of vertical space, and if they have an opening at the front they are easily accessible.
· Over the door shoe pockets
These are great for storing all sorts of small odds and ends on the inside or backside of a door. Other than shoes, I like to store our sunscreen, scarves, small packets of Kleenex, toys, hand wipes for stocking my purse and so much more.
· Under bed storage
Take advantage of any space you have available. Even a couple of bins, buckets or even an under-bed storage container are great for storing toys, or off-season clothing.
· Shelf risers
Adding a new shelf to an existing cupboard is not always possible, but it’s easy to add a shelf riser to take advantage of vertical space and to make things more accessible instead of piling items on top of each other.
· Wall mounted baskets
I love how wall mounted baskets look and how functional they are. It makes use of vertical space or areas that are too small for furniture.
The last (but not least) tip for staying organized.
A Heart Of Gratitude
If you are frustrated with organizing your space, wishing for more room will not make the situation any easier. Instead, work on being thankful for your space and working with what space you do have.
Personally, this has made such a difference in my own life.
I was frustrated and unmotivated to keep my space organized because I knew it wasn’t going to be Pinterest worthy.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it has to be Pinterest worthy to be organized and functional. When I finally got over the perfection mentality and worked on being thankful for the space I had, it motivated me to keep my space organized…small spaces and all.
In conclusion, remember:
1. Minimize and set limits
2. Declutter and maintain
3. Keep like items together
4. Revamp as needed
5. Borrow instead of buy
6. Get creative with organizing solutions
7. Have a heart of gratitude
Those are my top 7 tips for staying organized in a small space.
Are you doing some of these tips already in your home? What is your favorite way to organize a small space?
I’d love to hear how you like to organize. Leave your comment below.