In a small space storage is almost always at a premium and before you know it, it can get filled up with an extra quilt, clothes you never wear and that lamp you haven't figured out how to work into the living room. But the truth is that the more you can fit behind closed doors, the more space you gain out in the open.
• 1. Use the Kitchen Cupboards. Oftentimes a bedroom closet has to do triple duty holding clothes, shoes, bags, blankets and linens (if you don't have the coveted linen closet). But your kitchen might have some shelves up high that some of those winter boots (in boxes) could fit on, or your taxes from 4 years ago could hide in. Don't be afraid to rethink how you use storage. Because a cabinet is a cabinet. The only danger is if your kitchen routinely gets very hot you might not want to store photos or albums. In the same way that it's a good idea to rethink your floor plan, rethink your storage.
• 2. Add Shelves. We had a closet that had a 9 foot ceiling but only had one shelf right above the clothes rod. Add some functional shelving and then use boxes and baskets to store things you don't need to use every day but that you don't want to get rid of.
• 3. Have a Landing Strip. Instead of keeping bulky coats in the closet, use a landing strip or entryway hook system to keep coats out where you'll grab them. If it's summertime will they fit in a bin under the bed?
• 4. Get under shelf storage. Or visit a container store to see all the gadgets and gizmos that can maximize a storage space. We don't recommend going out and buying a ton of stuff, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded of what's possible. Like these undershelf baskets that can help add space in the kitchen, the bathroom or even your clothes closet.
• 5. Shoes. If you have a real collection of shoes that is taking up space in the closet, consider moving them out and putting them on display.
• 6. Use Suitcase Storage. For anything seasonal, keep it in an old suitcase or bin and store it out of the way to leave room for things you use every day.
• 7. Celebrate Discardia. A day dedicated to living more simply, check out some great tips for letting go of things right here.
• 8. Edit Frequently. If things are stored up high or you haven't moved in a couple of years, it's easy to forget what's in those boxes on that shelf in the...linen closet? Make sure to do regular clear outs. We once had to put our apartment on a diet when we downsized into a smaller space that (besides the kitchen cabinets) and zero storage. It was the first time we were able to get ruthless with books, with cooking paraphernalia and clothing.
• 9. Wrangle. Don't let tiny things clutter up a shelf (like lots of rarely used medications lining a bathroom shelf, wrangle them into a basket instead). Wrangling like things with like will make it easier to find stuff and visually you won't be picking through lots of bits and bobs on a shelf. Bonus points for coordinating the baskets.
• 10. Make Decisions. A lot of time our closets and storage spaces become a dumping ground for things we're not sure what to do with. We're on the fence on a piece of decor, we think we'll have time to fix something...later, we'll lose weight and wear those heels, etc. If you need more closet space, it's time to make some decisions. Are you really gonna fix that lamp? Will your mom really be heartbroken if you sell the chair she gave you that you never liked?
And finally, a bonus tip that we love is to install a cork board on the inside of a cabinet or closet door so that you can hang onto seasonal cards, to do lists, inspirational tears from magazines, etc. without it cluttering up your space.
How have you maximized your closets and cabinets?
(Image: Jet Guer from Jet's Organized closet.)