6 Organization Lessons to Learn from Tiny Houses

6 Organization Lessons to Learn from Tiny Houses

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Christine Lu
Mar 22, 2015
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Thinking about tiny houses always prompts the question of whether I myself could live in a tiny house. Part of me thinks I could, because I love the idea of minimal living, getting by on the essentials, and spending more time outdoors. But another part of me thinks I couldn't, because my home is my sanctuary and I want that sanctuary to have certain things in it, including personal space and lots of storage!

Regardless of the internal debate, another reason for the fascination comes from wanting to glean any tips I can from the way tiny house residents have ordered their lives. Such a small space requires an effective system of organization and a dedication to keeping things tidy at all times. Here are some of the tips that we can all learn from, whether we're a future tiny house resident or not:


1. Use Vertical Space

One of the basic ways to maximize space in small spaces when you can't expand out is to go up. If you want a bookshelf but can't seem to find a place for it, build a shelf or a ledge higher up on the wall. If there are items that you are having difficulty finding storage for, like guitars or bags, consider hanging them on hooks. If you want your home to include fruit baskets or plants, there are ways to hang these from the wall or ceiling. If you are frustrated by the lack of cabinet space for your pans, consider a rack to hang them on. Even something as simple as a roll of paper towels can be hung up high and save you that extra bit of counter space. Additionally, having things up on the walls brings the eye higher and makes the space seem larger.

2. Try Open Shelves

Open shelves are controversial in the kitchen because of the grease buildup and and having less-aesthetically pleasing pieces out in the open, but consider it for other rooms in your house. You can add a shelf in your bathroom to hold some of your most used items, or in your kids' room as a home to all the stuffed animals that roll around the room. Whether it be in the kitchen or any other room, having a few open shelves or an open pantry will give you ease of assess to what items you really love and use, and you can get rid of the rest. Plus, having your items out in the open instead of behind cabinet doors will encourage you to keep them organized.

3. Use Unexpected Spaces

One of the most commonly used spaces that I've seen tiny housers take advantage of is the space below the stairs. Almost all tiny houses have a loft situation where the bed is, and if there are stairs or a ladder with any bit of extra space underneath them, they are used to store books or clothes. If you have stairs in your home, start thinking about whether you can convert some of that space into storage. You know that bit of space below your kitchen cabinets? Those can be used as storage spaces, too, by creating an extra drawer for your miscellaneous items.

4. Consider Multi-Purpose Furniture

A piece of furniture that can do more than the one thing is invaluable in a small home. Whether it be benches with extra storage inside, a drawer that pulls out into a cutting board, a table that can also be used as a desk and coffee table, or a sofa that can be converted into an extra bed, living in a small space means thinking long and hard about the furniture that you choose. If something looks like it can provide extra storage or a space solution, it should.

5. Use Every Bit Of Storage You Do Have

Take a look at the storage space you do have, and think of how you can better use that space. If you do have shelves in your kitchen, multiply the utility by adding hooks to hang towels, pot holders or bigger utensils. Use the inside of cabinet doors to hang up cleaning supplies or plastic gloves. If you have drawers in your kitchen, consider expandable racks or slide out entries that can offer more space than the usual drawer. Take stock of your closet and use every bit of vertical space; hang clothes on the rack and maximize the space at the top or bottom by using storage boxes.

6. Have a Designated Place for Everything

One of the main lessons that I come away with from tiny houses is that it's worth taking a moment to assess what you really need. After you do this, the next crucial step is to have a designated place for all of the items that you have deemed worthy to keep around. In a small space, you don't have the luxury of clutter, which means each thing must have its place. When organizing your home, take this lesson from tiny house residents and make sure to find a place for each of your items; this will save you time and future headaches about keeping your home neat and organized.

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