Organize & Clean

20 Renter Remedies That’ll Optimize Your Space Without Angering Your Landlord

updated Apr 20, 2023
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Credit: Brittany Purlee

Many of the writers and editors at Apartment Therapy, myself included, are renters. We understand the hesitancy of drilling holes into walls or even repainting walls for fear of losing a security deposit. But we don’t let those limitations stop up from enjoying — or personalizing — our homes. Quite the opposite! We actually enjoy searching out renter-friendly tools that help you make the most of your home. So, we decided to make it official and compile our gotta-have-it apartment hacks in our newest series called Renter Remedies. Here, we’ll be sharing our favorite game-changing apartment finds that won’t anger your landlord when you move out.

Storage and organization are two of the biggest challenges that come with living in an apartment, or any small space. Any storage and org tools you buy need to be able to adapt to all the nooks and crannies of your space and not damage your walls, doors, or cabinets with metal screws. Luckily, our editors are passionate about finding practical and affordable solutions so we’ve got plenty of ingenious finds to share with you. Below, check out these cleaning, storage, and organizing tools that our editors recommend for optimizing your rental space to meet your needs. And make sure to keep checking in as we’ll be updating this post with more apartment-friendly finds as we discover them!

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1 / 20

Making use of corner space is a great way to increase the available storage in your home. Case in point: this chic five-tiered shelf. Amazon shoppers love that it takes just 10 minutes to assemble and holds pretty much whatever you want it to. It's also surprisingly sturdy and — how could we not emphasize — only a little over $20! "It fits perfectly in the corner of my living room and is the perfect size for displaying my plants, books, and knick-knacks," one reviewer wrote. "The shelves are adjustable, so I was able to customize the rack to fit my specific needs."

2 / 20

When you're renting, it's not like you can just knock a wall out or drill new shelves to expand your closet space. You don't have to settle for an overstuffed wardrobe, though. Instead, grab a pack of these clever hanger hooks. We love them, especially considering that you get 18 of the little triangles for just $15. When they arrive, simply slide each one onto your hangers, then hook additional hangers onto them. Suddenly, you have as much as triple the closet space you started with, and your nice dress shirts and jackets won't get wrinkled.

3 / 20
was $23.99

One of the biggest downsides of renting is that you can't install new ceiling lights. If your overhead lighting is too dim or sparse, tough luck. Well, not really. There's an easy solution in the form of these adhesive sconces, which you could certainly place close to the ceiling, as well as by the bed or even in the bathroom. They come in four colors and look so sophisticared — no one will ever guess you literally stuck them on. Each light has three brightness and color settings and fully rotates to give you illumination where you need it.

4 / 20

Every baking enthusiast has likely struggled with efficiently storing their mixer attachments. The good news is you no longer have to deal with a cluttered, messy drawer full of them because you can buy these adhesive holders. You can drill them into the bottom of your cabinet, or you can use double-sided tape for a renter-friendly option. Although the holders were made with KitchenAid mixer attachments in mind, they're actually compatible with a number of attachments no matter the brand. The next time you're making muffins or mixing bread dough, you'll have everything you need within easy reach.

5 / 20

Shelves are incredibly versatile as storage options, and these stylish, minimalist ones can be installed without drilling holes, thanks to a strong adhesive backing that sticks to tiled walls. Commerce managing editor Tamara has been happily using one above her stove as a spice rack. "As a pro shopper, it takes a super-innovative product to blow me away, so when I say I’ve never seen a product like this, I’m not joking around," she says. "Now, everything is within arm’s reach, and I can spot what I need in just a few seconds." The shelves come in small, medium, and large sizes and should only be used on tiled surfaces, as the adhesive could damage painted or wallpapered walls.

6 / 20
was $38.99

The number of storage solutions for bathrooms — and specifically bathtubs and showers — is practically endless. No matter what size, shape, or color storage device you want, you're sure to find it. We like these popular Amazon metal shelves, which stick onto walls with a large adhesive strip. They have plenty of room for soap and shampoo bottles, and they have hooks for hanging towels, loofahs, and razors. "I don’t know how I ever lived without it," says one Amazon reviewer. "I’m buying more for my kitchen, my kid’s bathroom, and other areas in the house."

7 / 20
Yamazaki Home
was $48.00

Many of your biggest appliances and furniture pieces can be retrofitted to assist in your storage journey. Your refrigerator is a perfect example. Yamazaki makes several clever magnetic bins and baskets that cling to your fridge, and AT contributor Erin found that this divider basket offers the perfect extra bit of storage that her kitchen needed. "By far the easiest shelf you'll ever install!" she says. "For my kitchen, this Yamazaki Magnetic Storage Basket has been essential to decluttering my already-cramped kitchen. Instead of using the top of the fridge to hold items, I can now organize them in this easy-to-access shelf without taking up any extra space."

8 / 20
was $164.99

Even if your landlord won't spring for an in-unit washer dryer, you can have the convenience of doing your laundry whenever you want with this portable washing machine. It can clean about one week's worth of clothes in a single cycle and includes a drying tub, too. You may have to do a little work to find the best way to fill and empty it with water, but it's a great way to do laundry on-demand. "You can fit about a week’s worth of underwear, socks, shirts (dependent on the weather, of course) and maybe a pair of jeans for good measure into one 28-minute load. (Yes, that includes rinse and dryer cycles). It is not built for towels and sheets, but we all have our flaws, don’t we?" says AT contributor Molly. "Do air-dried clothes feel a little stiff? Sure. But I cannot beat the convenience of being able to cook dinner, do laundry, and watch Netflix at the same time, all in the comfort of some freshly washed sweatpants."

9 / 20
was $20.99

When AT contributor Amy added these spinning hangers to her kitchen, she was able to nearly clear out her utensil drawers by moving so many things onto these hooks. Their secret is a small piece of clear adhesive that sticks safely to the bottom of wooden cabinets (or on tiled walls) and supports a rack that holds up to six tools. This is a brilliant way to free up room in your kitchen drawers and put your utensils in an easy-to-reach spot. "Right off the bat, I was impressed with how ridiculously easy these hooks were to install," says Amy. "When I stepped back to admire my work, I was an instant fan. My counter was clear of all the clutter, and every utensil had its designated place."

10 / 20
was $11.99

Pot and pan lids have a tendency to clutter up kitchens because they're large and oddly shaped. But you can organize them neatly if you look for the right places to store them, like on the inside of your cabinet doors. These rubber holsters stick on to surfaces and keep your lids from piling up awkwardly. Arrange them in a vertical row to store multiple lids in one small space. "Finally my saucepan lids are out of the way and stored neatly," says a happy reviewer. "The holders are easy to fit and do not come unstuck, like others I have tried in the past. They look lovely and stylish too, which is a bonus."

11 / 20
was $20.87

One of the smartest places to add extra storage is beneath your existing storage. These baskets slide onto shelves and turn unused cabinet space into modular shelving for keeping small boxes and dry ingredients. They're available in bronze or white finish and can quickly be relocated to wherever you need them. “I have a pantry with well spaced shelves for placing tall items. Not everything in my pantry requires tall spacing so these hang down and fill the empty space while creating additional storage so that everything isn’t in one big cluster," says one Amazon reviewer. "They hold large boxes of storage bags or canned goods making them big and strong enough to be a great organizing solution.”

12 / 20

When you run out of room for utensils in your drawers and crocks, you need to get creative. One of our favorite ways to store bulky kitchen utensils like ladles and strainers is by hanging them from a tension rod. You can install the tension rod within your cabinets or between any nooks in your kitchen (I have one between my fridge and range hood), then grab some S-shaped hooks and hang your utensils where they're out of the way but still totally accessible. Look for hooks with clasps on one end to make sure they never fall off.

13 / 20
was $419.99

Just because your home doesn't have a full-size dishwasher doesn't mean you have to hand-wash your dishes. This compact model — which has Normal, Speed, ECO, Baby Care/Heavy, and Fruit wash cycles — has a small enough footprint to fit on most countertops and includes a refillable water tank so you don't have to worry about connecting it to your sink or some other permanent water source. "The machine could easily fit about three dishes, three cups and a wide assortment of kitchenware," says AT contributor Jada, who calls the NOVETE a game-changer for people on the go, but also has some caveats. "One thing I’ve noticed since using the machine for over months is that the wheels on the side of the dishwasher seem to get jammed easily and even sometimes fall off. I can easily put them back on, but it can be quite tedious especially when I’m in a rush to start a load of dishes. Additionally, if you plan to load water into the dishwasher manually, it is important to keep in mind that you will have to use the water cup that’s included, which can be a bit of a hassle as the water easily splashes everywhere." Regardless, she says, "If you’re overwhelmed with sinks full of dirty dishes on the daily, I would absolutely recommend this countertop solution."

14 / 20
was $19.95

If you live in a place that has vertical blinds, this nifty adapter is the easiest way to convert those blinds into curtains. They come in a set of two brackets that attach to both ends of the sliding rail of your blinds, and they stay secure with non-damaging clamps that screw into place. Then, just set a curtain rod into the U-shaped holsters and hang curtains that show off your personal taste. “I live in an apartment, I never thought I could have curtains (so sick of blinds!),” says one thrilled Amazon reviewer. “Now I have curtains up in every room and I’m not kidding when I say that it changed my life. I feel like my home is so much more homey and comfy, I love the way the light shines through my new curtains. Thank you NONO for creating! I have a new love for my home!” For window-treatment inspiration, check out our favorite places to find stylish curtains.

15 / 20
Yamazaki Home

If you're not aware by now, Yamazaki is the best place to find slim magnetic organizers, such as this caddy that attaches to your laundry units. The organizer manages to take up as little space as possible while holding all your washing essentials, including detergent, dryer sheets, cleaning supplies, and more. When we originally wrote about this product, we likened it to a laundry command station, and, well, that description still stands. The rack is also easy to assemble, clean, and take with you if you move!

16 / 20

Depending on where you're renting, you probably have a very small kitchen. And that's not a dig — we understand the struggle. That's why we recommend this adhesive faucet rack that you screw right onto your sink faucet. Not only does it hold your dish soap and sponge, but the gadget also frees up some much-needed sink space by keeping those items elevated. Essentially, it creates space out of thin air. Additionally, soap scum will no longer build up on the underside of your soap bottle or sponge caddy, as we originally noted.

17 / 20

Not too long ago, we compiled a list of some of our favorite battery-operated wall sconces that are perfect for renting. Among our picks was this slim cylindrical sconce, which is great if you want a less obvious light source. Whether you use it as a reading light above the bed or as an ambient light by the sofa, the sconce will only give you the illumination you need, leaving the rest of your surroundings dim and cozy. We also love that this fixture has a built-in motion sensor, which is convenient for late-night bathroom runs.

18 / 20
was $84.99

This multifunctional shoe rack is one of Wayfair's most popular front entryway accessories, but you might not have much more time to snag it because it's final sale. Customers love that in addition to its four roomy shelves for holding footwear, the rack also features an enclosure on the side that can hold anything from umbrellas and yoga mats, to kids' toys and tall boots. As we noted, the shoe rack is made from durable bamboo and can hold many objects at once without making your hallway feel like a crawlspace.

19 / 20

Let's get two things out of the way: This shower caddy is a splurge, and it's 9 feet tall. But it still made our Best List for a reason, or rather, multiple reasons. Its tall height is actually not that daunting when you consider that the pole expands from 6 to 9 feet. This essentially just allows you to prop it upright in your shower so that you can use its three shelves to store your shampoos, shower gels, and more. We also appreciate how slim the caddy is; even if your shower is positively tiny, you'll have no problem incorporating this luxurious fixture into the space.

20 / 20
was $28.99

Tidying your WFH space doesn't just entail dusting your desktop and straightening out your office supplies — managing unruly cords is also crucial. This task doesn't have to be annoying. All you need is a set of these cable management trays, which our Commerce SEO Editor swears by. "All in all, it probably took me about 10 minutes to complete this project," Sarah wrote. "Best of all, when you’re looking at the desk straight-on, you can’t see these trays at all. They truly work like magic!" And at $13 per tray, they don't cost a fortune.