Unclutterer reader Tami recently wrote to us describing her biggest organizing challenge:
I just moved from a 2-bedroom, 1200-square-foot apartment into a 1-bedroom, 784-square-foot apartment. I LOVE my new place but to say “lack of storage” is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I have adequate space in the kitchen but I literally have NO linen closet, nowhere medicine cabinet, place for sheets, towels, just STUFF. I have a hall closet (which is where I have put my broom, mop, etc.) and placed a basket up top for sheets to try and organize, and a closet for the washer and dryer (yet another basket system for cleaning supplies, meds, and odds and ends) but I KNOW there has to be a better way!!!
Tami, this is a problem you share with many others. On Unclutterer, we’ve written before about strategies that often work in small spaces, but the following are some more suggestions that may work for you.
Re-evaluate what you own
When you’re in a small space, everything you own really has to earn a place in your home due to how functional it is or how much you care for it, aesthetically or sentimentally. There may be no room for anything that’s just “okay” or “perfectly good” if it isn’t something you need or love.
For example, how many bed linens do you really need? Many people get by with two sets: one on the bed and one spare. (And the same principle might apply to other linens, such as towels.) If you have a number of specialized cleaning products, could you move toward multipurpose cleaners?
Look beyond the (non-existent) closet shelves
You’ll want to be sure you’re storing things safely, where small children and pets can’t get to them (if that’s a concern in your living situation). And remember that medications are often best stored away from the humidity of a bathroom. The following are some alternatives to consider:
Use the backs of doors
Shoe pockets hung over a door can be used to store all sorts of things. Parent Hacks has a great list of ways this versatile product can be used. Elfa also has some door racks that might be worth a look.
Use the walls
Your lease may limit your options here, since it may preclude you from adding anything that would put a hole in the wall.
But even then, you have some options. For example, Perch attaches to many walls with damage-free Command Strips. If your lease doesn’t limit you, you can look into shelves and pegboards.
Consider different ways to store linens and towels
I’m assuming that you don’t have space to add a storage piece such as a cabinet, trunk, cart, or shelving unit. If you do have space, that’s one alternative, but certainly not the only one.
Some people store an extra set of linens between the mattress and the box springs. Some linens, such as tablecloths, can be stored on hangers. Placemats can be hung from hangers with clips.
Towels are a different challenge. Perhaps you could store them in an empty suitcase. (An under-the-bed storage box could work, too.) You could also add a towel rack that mounts in the door hinges to store extra towels.