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I’ve lived in apartments for over five years now. I’ve learned that by making small changes to the way that you store and organize the items that you own, it can make a big difference in how functional your apartment feels. I moved into my current apartment in January and have made several small changes to personalize it and to make it more functional. I originally tried to avoid screwing anything into the walls so I could get my deposit back. In the end, I realized that having a place to live that is customized to my needs and thus, more functional for me is worth losing $100 or less on my deposit when I move. Here are 10 storage and organization ideas to make small space living a little more manageable.
1) Storing pans against the wall space. All of my apartments have had tiny kitchens, and limited cupboard space. Almost all frying pans come with holes in the handles – take advantage of that to hang them against wall space. Doing this gives me more space for my pots and other dishes in the cupboards.
2) Hang pot holders/oven mitts. These almost always come with loops on the end so they can be hung. In my past apartment I hung them on a hook on the wall, at my current apartment I put the hook inside of the cupboard door under the sink so they are out of sight. In both cases, the wall space was just being unused and hanging them allowed me to free up drawer space. Hot pads and oven mitts are lightweight enough that you could even use a command style “sticky” hook to hold them up if you want to avoid leaving holes. If you have a baby or toddler, hanging their bibs up is a great idea, too.
3) Under-The-Shelf Baskets. My ziploc/tinfoil/etc boxes used to always be tossed in a pile in a drawer or cupboard. I’d have to crouch down to dig for the right box, barely able to see what I was grabbing. In my old apartment, I was able to hang a basket under a cabinet because the cabinet door left enough space between the door and the bottom of the cupboard. At my current apartment, there was just a shelf already on the wall that I could use. In both cases, it was unused space that I was able to utilize.
4) Seasoning packet holder. We make tacos, fajitas, pot roast and stew fairly regularly and use seasoning packets for all of these meals. In the past, the packets would end up in this messy pile in the pantry or cupboard taking up way more space than they should. One day I got a package that was the right width for seasoning packets so I cut it in half (height wise) to make a seasoning packet holder. Now they stay upright and don’t take up more space than necessary. Buying or making similar containers are great options for gum, mints, water bottle flavoring packets, and most any other small but oddly shaped pantry items.
5) Over towel-bar shelf. A lot of apartments have really tiny bathrooms. Sharing a small bathroom (Even if it is with your spouse) is no fun when you’re battling for counter space. Our over-the-towel shelf gives us a little more storage space in the bathroom so that there is less competition for the sink space. Yet, everything is still really accessible. A great bonus for this one is it doesn’t require you to drill into the wall (as long as you already have a towel bar).
6) Coat Hooks. Only one of my apartments had a coat closet so we used to hang our coats over the back of our dining room chairs. I would end up putting my purse on a chair too, and then when we wanted to set down there were things in the way and it just didn’t look nice, either. Installing a coat hook behind our front door gave us a place to put everything from coats and hoodies to my purse, dog leashes and Ryan’s hats. Everything has a “home” and it’s easier to get ready to leave because everything we need is in the same spot.
7) Vertical storage containers: When you’re in an apartment, you rarely have big 3+ foot wide spaces of wall to put a storage unit up against. Our pet storage tower from Richell is 3 feet of vertical storage so we can put everything our dogs own in it, while it barely takes up any wall horizontal wall space. If you’re in an apartment, anytime that you get a storage container or piece of furniture such as a dresser, try to go for more vertical pieces.
8) Mop & Broom Organizer. If you don’t have a closet to put your mop & broom in, having this holder is a life safer. It keeps my mop and broom in place instead of sliding and falling in the corner of a room somewhere.
9) Over Sink Strainer. When we first moved to this apartment (that has less counter space than any other kitchen I’ve ever seen) this over the sink strainer was a life safer. I was going crazy from not having any counter space and it really has turned one side of my sink into a counter top for us. I can’t express how much I love my over sink strainer.
10) Over-the-door towel holder. Each of our apartments has come with a single towel holder. Considering how we have to do our laundry at a laundry mat, we reuse our towels a couple of times each. This means that at minimum, I need a towel holder and Ryan needs one. I also use a separate hair towel and have a special dog towel as well. I found this $10 over the door coat hook on Amazon and we use it over our bathroom door for towels. It’s held up really great, i’m impressed with how sturdy it was for the price and its way cheaper than buying a towel holder with multiple racks on it.
Have a small bathroom? Click the image below to go to my 10 storage solutions for small bathrooms blog post.
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