My little family recently moved across the country. In the process we downsized from a four bedroom, over 2000 sq foot home with a nice back and front yard and large garage to a two bedroom, under 1300 sq foot apartment with a small balcony. It’s been a challenge to downsize. Everything we own has to be questioned. Does it have a place? Is it a need? Will it fit? In the process I’ve tried some things that have helped me utilize the stuff I own in the space I have and also to know which things are worth buying for the new space. I want to share FIVE tips for maximizing use and enjoyment of a small space with you today on the blog so let’s get to it.
1. MULTIPURPOSE: can this item serve more than one purpose?
This was especially helpful when thinking through what furniture to bring. Instead of just side tables I wanted our side tables to have other uses. For example, our couch side table is actually a storage ottoman. We store our winter gear in there and you’d never know. Our bedside tables are a bookshelf on my husband’s side and a desk on my side. Multipurpose to the max. You get the idea.
So, what furniture can serve multiple purposes? Any creative ways to rethink your furniture uses?
This works not just with furniture but also with your space. Can this room have multiple purposes? For example, our dining area is also a play area. Our bedroom is also an office. The key is to keep it organized and clutter free so the two purposes don’t overwhelm the room.
2. VERTICAL: how can I store my stuff vertically instead of horizontally?
Vertical storage (think up the walls instead of across the floor) is a great way to maximize storage in a small space. Door hooks (dollar tree!) you can use to hang towels or pool floaties or shopping bags can help free up floor and shelf space. A tall bookcase with storage cubes can help organize everything from toys, to clothes, to craft supplies and takes up very little space. I’m even using an over the toilet organizer in my small laundry room to make a space for cleaning supplies and bulk toilet paper and paper towels.
The following picture is our laundry room that we can close the door to lol. But by using an over the toilet bathroom storage unit I created the perfect shelving system for cleaning supplies, bulk supplies, and hangers/laundry needs. And you can also see the pool toys hanging on the back of the door.
3. MINIMALISM: is this really necessary?
I found that all the things I couldn’t live without I mostly could live without. It was tough but good. I’m not a person who loves a plain, undecorated space. I need to feel free to create in my space. But I did try to limit it and really give myself pushback on whether it would really add to the decor or just be more clutter. In a small space it can feel cluttered so quickly. So choosing your favorite pieces and being picky is important. Our bathroom is definitely the most minimalistic place in the whole apartment. But it makes it so easy to keep clean and decluttered. Happy momma.
Minimalism applies not only to trinkets and decor, but also to furniture. Bulky pieces aren’t great for small spaces. You know this. So when shopping what you have or what new pieces you want to invest in, look for simple, clean lines. It can really make your living space feel so much more open when you have clean lined furniture and a few select pieces of decor.
What is in your space as decoration that is really just collecting dust and giving you one more thing to clean? What furniture or color scheme just makes the whole room feel dark and cramped? Consider getting rid of it all together or sell it and buy something else that works better.
4. ROUND and/or COMPACTIBLE: does this come in a round shape and/or can it be easily compacted when not in use?
The only furniture we really needed to buy was a bed and a dining table. For the dining table I knew I wanted our dining room to double as a play room so I started looking at round tables with leaves that could fold down. As we all know, a round table (dining, side, or coffee) takes up less space and can visually make the room feel more spacious. Add leaves that fold down and it’s a total small space win. I love that we can fold the leaves down and push the table aside as a two seater for just us or pull it out and put the leaves up for guests. Bonus is it doesn’t feel cramped either way.
5. ORGANIZE: how can I create a space for everything I want to keep?
Lastly, a small space can start to feel so cluttered if you aren’t careful. A few out of place items and then chaos creeps into your environment. Especially if you have small children.
Create spaces that are practical and livable. What I mean by this is let your kids have play areas, just make them easy to clean up. Keep cozy blankets and TV trays accessible, just find a place to easily store them so they aren’t visually cluttering the space. Let your husband have a pile of papers that he just doesn’t want to deal with immediately, but put them in one area. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but organization is the key to thriving in a small space.
To save space by organizing, here are some of my ideas that I used. I store the kids foldable chairs, yoga mat, internet router and modem, and TV trays behind the couch. Behind the couch is often just wasted space. I have bins in a tall bookcase that holds toys, craft supplies, and clothes and turns the dining room into a play room that is easy to clean up. My husband has a basket to throw all those random papers into that he plans to deal with later. When it starts to overflow he knows it’s time to just purge. We have a basket for tv controllers. We store tons of blankets in a basket by the tv making them accessible, I don’t have to fold, and it looks pretty stored away by the fireplace. I could go on and on but you get the idea.
I hope these tips helped! Let me know what other tips you may have in the comments below. And, as always, if you haven’t already then feel free to subscribe to get updates on all my latest tips and dIY ideas.
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