Make Your Small Space Work with these Tips for Overcoming Storage Limitations

With a little planning, some creative thinking, and a lot of willpower, you’ll soon be on your way to reclaiming your small space.

By Lisa Stout


Small homes, as charming as they may be, often leave its inhabitants with one big dilemma: limited storage space. I remember the mounting feelings of claustrophobia and frustration that I felt years ago when my little family moved into a quaint little 900-square-foot home. The children’s toys, household items, and extra clothes were lurking in corners and on various surfaces for the simple fact that there was nowhere to store them. Sound familiar? If so, take a deep breath and read on.


Scale Down

I know this seems like the most obvious piece of advice, but it’s sound. No, I’m not saying that you should do without things that you need. I’m merely suggesting that you take a good hard look at things that you may be hanging on to. Do you have old clothes that you don’t wear, but hold on to just in case you may want to someday (my biggest problem)?


Do your children have toys that continuously get tossed aside as they scrounge through their toy box? I know it can be hard to let things go, but you’d be surprised at how good you feel afterwards. You could make a few bucks by having a yard sale, or help the needy by donating them.




2. Going Up

Take a look around you. No, not on the floors where evidence of your problem likely lies around, but higher. If the square footage of your floor space is limited, then why not take advantage of other available space that you do have? I’m talking about the walls.


Shelving doesn’t have to be limited to a couple of rows containing decorative glassware and old books. Get creative! Instead of a non-functional headboard taking up room on your bedroom wall, go for several rows of shelving. Throw in some storage baskets for loose items, and you’ll soon forget that there isn’t room in your bedroom for a nightstand. You can even polish this look up by adding a curtain rod to the wall above the shelves and draping curtains on either side of the shelves.




If your walls are already packed with furniture and shelving doesn’t look like a possible solution, perhaps going even higher is an option. Don’t be afraid to add shelves above doorways or along the tops of the walls (1-2 feet below the ceiling). This can not only be functional, but also create a lot of character for your home. For shelves this high, its best to store items that aren’t needed as frequently to avoid needing a step stool nearby.


Hooks are another great way to make use of walls and other vertical surfaces in your home. Mount hook racks to the backs of doors to store items such as towels, jackets, robes, or scarves. Be careful not to store anything too heavy as it can cause issues with the functionality of the door. For children’s rooms, a couple of hook racks are great places to store backpacks and dress up clothes. Individual hooks can be screwed underneath kitchen cabinets for easy storage of coffee mugs. They can also be mounted to the sides of cabinets for storage of cooking utensils. There are several possibilities for using these around the house. Get creative!




3. Get Low

Now that we’ve gone vertical, let’s look at an often-forgotten area of opportunity: under the beds. Several department stores sell under the bed storage solutions such as shoe organizers and plastic storage totes. When I lived in a small space with no closet, I had a couple of storage totes full of off season clothes stored underneath my bed.




My children all had totes under their beds with items such as clothes, toys, and diapers. If your bed is too low to the ground or you want to further maximize the space underneath your bed, you can pick up some bed risers at places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon for around $10.


4. Tense Up

Tension rods are an excellent way to maximize space. Of course, the most obvious solution would be to add them to the closet for additional space to hang clothes. Although that’s a great idea, think outside the box a little too.


Grab few small storage baskets with handles or hooks and you can affix them to a tension rod above the kitchen sink. This creates extra storage, and a great place to hang the dishtowel. Under the kitchen sink is another great place to consider hanging a tension rod. Here you could hang your household cleaners and have the extra space below to store other items.




Now that I’ve pointed out a few solutions to jumpstart organizing your small space, what ideas can you come up with? Hopefully with a little planning, some creative thinking, and a lot of willpower, you’ll soon be on your way to reclaiming your small space.


Images used with permission, courtesy of and

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