Inside this post: Simple and actionable tips to help make living in a small space with kids more manageable.
How frustrating is it when you have a small space such as a studio apartment or a basement suite rental, and there is no space for all of your stuff?
Worst of all there is no room for anything and you’re spending hours on Pinterest trying to find solutions that worked for other people. You’ve come across a lot of DIY solutions or maybe you came across very nice pieces of furniture that could fit in the awkward hallway, but costs $300, way above your budget?
I hear you, I’ve been there too.
I’ve rented a lot of spaces in the last few years. My husband and I are “movers” because every place we move into has so many issues that we bolt when the lease is up. *I have finally found a home (rental) and we will NOT be moving anytime soon. Besides it’s right next to my kid’s school, moving would be a bad idea.
As a result of constantly moving, I have made a lot of small spaces adjust to the amount of stuff we have. With kids, we have a ton of stuff that I just can’t get rid of. Recently we downsized from a 3 bedroom, 3 story home into a 2 bedroom basement suite that was ¼ the size.
That was hard. But the good news is, we didn’t have to throw a lot of stuff away. I was able to maximize our limited space into a fully functional home environment. Are you ready to hear some great storage ideas for small spaces on a budget?
*This post contains affiliate links: Read the full discloser here.
Living in A Small Space With Kids – Create More Storage Room
How crazy is it that small space living is actually a hip thing right now? Growing up, I dreamed of living in a mansion (not anymore, imagine the housework, gross), but people in my age group are happy to live in small spaces, with minimal possessions.
It’s like the world woke up and has decided that spending time with people is more valuable than having expensive things.
If you have a small apartment, I can safely assume you have at least one door. You can utilize the space around a door in a functional way. You, of course, do not need to spend a ton of money on customized shelving, you can add pre-made shelves found at IKEA like this one or this one as well as this one for the top shelf.
You can usually find Ikea stuff second hand at Garage Sales and Facebook Marketplace. Shopping around can make this a really fun project, and if it is second hand it may need a touch of paint- what a great opportunity to make it any colour you desire.
Organizing and baskets go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t seen the Marie Kondo series on Netflix yet, you should go watch it. It is all about decluttering your home and finding joy in your space. She also uses a lot of baskets for sorting out miscellaneous items and putting like items together.
I buy a lot of baskets, but I don’t buy expensive baskets. My local dollar store sells some pretty cute baskets that I don’t even have to modify to use.
The only problem with baskets and small spaces is that there may not be space to put your basket…
Well, I do have a solution for you!
Try putting up a few towel bars and hanging your baskets on the wall like this. Wall space isn’t just for art. The nice thing is, towel bars are not just for the bathroom, imagine taking up a blank wall in your kitchen and organizing your spices, dish towels and oven mitts in a couple of hanging baskets like that.
Brilliant AND brings a little decor to your home too.
Another area you can utilize baskets in a small kitchen is right on top of the kitchen cabinets. Usually, it is all just a bunch of empty space, but if you can find pretty baskets like these ones and plop your rarely used items in them, you can line them up on top of your kitchen cabinets. Again, stylish AND practical. Amazing.
If you’re feeling kind of spunky and you are allowed to put holes into the walls, you can try to use the empty wall space right near your ceiling for some added storage space.
This can look pretty glamorous too, another bonus for decorating your home without really trying! You would have to measure our your wall and then go to Home Depot or IKEA to pick out your shelf.
If you have an awkward corner somewhere in your home that you never thought could become a storage solution, think again. Check out these corner floating shelves from 4 men 1 lady. Stylish and practical. I think that’s a big win.
The area around your doorframe along with baskets and shelving can really maximize the space you have in the apartment and make your home look good at the same time.
Try keeping the floor space as open as possible. Arrange furniture against the wall to leave room for activities and walking around your small space. Area rugs, of course, are always trendy and can liven up a small room, and they don’t take up much space!
You’ll want all of your organization pieces to be off the floor such as opting in for wall hooks rather than a standing coat rack. I love how some wall coat hooks have that shelf so you can put decorations or cute storage bins on to clear up some of that “coming home” clutter.
You can even clear the floor space more so by opting in for a kitchen table that takes up more wall space.
You can get creative like this. If you are scared of putting holes in the wall of your rental, you can opt for a free-standing small square table like this one – scroll down about halfway and you’ll see the table! Also, some really cute kitchen decorating ideas on that page!
Under The Bed
If you have a bed frame that is not all the way down to the floor, you are in luck. Add some under the bed storage bags and keep your winter clothes there in the summer, and vice versa. You can also store extra blankets and other linens so if guests crash on your couch, you can just whip out fresh clean sheets from under your bed.
Be sure to not store junk under your bed. I find that when I talk to people about their under the bed space, it gets described as the dusty gross space that stores junk and miscellaneous socks.
Don’t let that happen! Clean under your bed regularly to keep the dust away and put the items that you are storing away neatly with bags designed to fit under beds.
These are all just simple ways you can create more space in a small apartment and store your things in a neat and organized way.
How To Organize A Small Apartment Kitchen
Let’s chat kitchen! I love organizing my kitchen, it is literally one of my favourite things to organize. Let’s face it, the kitchen organization can get super intimidating.
It can be tough to figure out what to put where and the overwhelm can set it super fast. That’s me…I get anxiety when my kitchen is an unorganized mess. You have to make your kitchen work for you. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to organize your own kitchen.
However, there are things you can do to tone down the chaos of finding Tupperware among a sea of lids and banging around pots and pans to find the right size when you’re cooking your dinner.
Categorize Your Kitchen Inventory
The first thing you’ll want to do to create a kitchen that works for you in your small apartment is to create categories for your kitchen items so you can try to figure out which cabinets your items can go into.
You’ll probably want to empty all of your cabinets out so you can really get an idea of what you own. This is a great time to get rid of that personal blender that you’ve never ever used and maybe that lemon juicer you bought for making fresh lemonade every morning… Whatever kitchen items you have but are not using, purge purge purge.
You just don’t have space for it in your small apartment. Once you have all of your inventory categorized, you can start to brainstorm the best way your kitchen can serve you best.
How You Use Your Kitchen
Consider your morning coffee/tea routine. Do you use your coffee maker on a daily basis? Would you like your cups conveniently nearby or would they be better suited halfway across the kitchen near something else? How about that bakeware? Do you bake often or never? Would your Kitchenaid mixer be better off on the counter where it is readily available or would it be better off stored in a cabinet or a shelf? Once you have an idea of what kind of kitchen items you use the most, you start to figure out where you want to place everything.
Easily Accessible Spaces
The easily accessible paces are your prime real estate for the items you use the most. These are shelves that are easy to reach and often lie at eye level. Put your frequently used items in this space.
Even if you have a favourite cat mug that doesn’t quite go with your other mug collection, but you use it more often, don’t be afraid to put just that meowg, oops I meant mug, by your coffee maker.
You can even create a little coffee station near your coffee maker that features a small container of sugar or honey, a stirring spoon and a few of your favourite Disney mugs and your best “to go” mug to make mornings super easy. You can put your most used items on the counter as well, but if you want to keep your kitchen from looking super cluttered then it best to keep items on your counter that you use all the time.
Filling In The Rest Of The Cabinets
Once you have your most frequently used items sorted out, you can start to fill in the remaining cabinets. Keep filling up the cabinets and try to put these away in order of what gets used most often.
This way you can put your waffle maker in a different room if need be and you won’t miss it as much in the kitchen. It’s obviously best to keep kitchen items in the kitchen, but if you have limited space in a small apartment, then you to store your waffle maker in the entryway closet.
Maximizing Drawer Space
Drawers can get out of hand pretty quickly. If you can DIY drawer dividers or grab some from the Dollar Tree then you can divide your utensils to keep things nice and organized.
Keep your pizza cutter and ice cream scoop from getting lost in the oven glove and your stirring utensils easily distinguishable so you don’t accidentally grab a spaghetti scoop when you need a ladle. You can also hang your measuring utensils on a command hook to free up some drawer space for other things.
Keeping things in their designated spaces can help you direct any guests around the kitchen if your hands of full of kids or turkey fixings and you need a hand.
Movable Kitchen Cabinet
If you have space in your kitchen for an extra kitchen cabinet, you can purchase on Amazon or at IKEA and add extra storage space in your kitchen.
These are awesome for putting on the extra items that you couldn’t find space for in the cabinets. The really nice thing about these kitchen islands, is they are mobile. If you need to get to a space that is being blocked by your island, just wheel it out of the way and put it back when you’re done. This is a great way to maximize space.
How To Maximise Closet Space
I’ve got a great post on how to declutter your closet, and you may want to declutter before you can begin to maximize your closet space.
To maximize space in a small closet, you can invest in some small storage space solutions that are easy to use.
Grab Clothing Inventory
Just like we did with the kitchen inventory, it is a good idea to get a good grasp of what you own and then sort it by type of clothing.
See how many pants and dresses you own that need to be hung as well as t-shirts and sweaters that need to get folded. Grab a full count of your accessories as well so you can figure out how to store them in the closet later.
Measure Your Closet
Before you can begin to figure out what kind of shelving you can use in your closet, you need to measure everything, 3 times. Who knows, you have a bookshelf that will fit right into the closet that you can use for storing your folded sweaters!
Keep your closet measurements handy so you can take them to the store with you and try to find shelving that will fit into your closet space. Try not to buy anything for your closet until you have measurements because it is really easy to buy something that will not fit or work with your stuff.
Think about what kind of items you are storing in your closet. If you took some inventory of your wardrobe, then you may have a good idea of what needs to be folded and hung up by now.
Sometimes you can put your dresser right into your closet and add a nice bookshelf on top of it. Think about what you want to put there, is it handbags, your high heel collection or maybe your accessories stored in little bins.
Get super creative.
Setting Up Your Closet
When hanging up your clothing in your closet, you can use a pant hanger to hang up to 5 pairs of pants at once. This is the BEST one I’ve found. You can hang your sweaters on there too, get creative.
Make sure you use that upper shelf in the closet wisely too. It is so easy just to pile stuff on that shelf and forget what’s there. You can use storage bins if you like, but if you are going for cute cloth storage bins, you won’t be able to see what’s inside them. Go for clear bins for higher storage so you can easily identify what is in the bins.
You can also consider a shelf divider which turns the space into cubby like compartments so your items are easy to see and grab.
For the bottom of your closet, you can use a standard shoe rack to put your shoes onto. Utilizing the floor space of your closet will help you maximize your small apartment space and hopefully help you end your small space storage nightmares.
You may be lucky enough to have a door to your closet. If that is the case, grab a simple over the door organizer and store your summer flats, hair accessories and more. Check out this post from house beautiful on how you can use an over the door shoe organizer all over your home!
What We Learned About Storage Ideas For Small Spaces On A Budget
If you happened to skim through this post, let me summarize it for you super quick.
You can create more storage space in a small apartment by utilizing your doorframe by adding shelving around it, keeping storage bags under your bed and keeping your floor space nice and clear to provide the appearance of more space.
We learned that organizing a small apartment kitchen can be pretty simple if you put your most frequently used items in the most accessible spaces and keeping your counters clean and clear and under control.
Last but not least I recommended some products that are really helpful in maximizing a small closet for optimal space with simple storage solutions.