I can’t say I’m some organizing guru by any stretch of the imagination, but after three and a half years of living in small spaces, here are some things I’ve learned:
1) Declutter, declutter, declutter, I repeat, declutter – We all have more stuff than we need. My mantra: If you don’t love it and use it, get rid of it. Stick to the basic essentials. It will make it much easier to clean, much easier to organize, much easier to live. One of the major advantages to living in a small space is that you can’t have very much stuff. The more space you have, the easier it is to accumulate. So, small homes force me to keep things pared down!
2) Break the rules, sometimes – Just because a cupboard is in the bathrook doesn’t mean you must only store bathroom items in it. One of our bathroom shelves houses extra kitchen items and cloth napkins. Another of our bathroom cupboards is designated for extra paper products – plates, napkins, plasticware, etc. Our bedroom closet is home to much more than clothes and shoes (As a side note: we keep our shoes in the orginal boxes. I’ve done this for years and got Jesse hooked on it, too! It keeps things much more organized, we can stack the boxes, and each pair of show has a specific home. Plus, I’ve found it tends to prolong the life of the shoe.) – it also has all my violin paraphernalia (minus all my sheet music which I store in a file cabinet), craft and sewing supplies, suitcases, special heirlooms, and more. Go through your home and determine where your extra space is and then designate items needing space to have their place there – no matter where it is. (Obviously, you can’t just designate a spot, you also have to train yourself to put the item back in the spot after you use it, but designating a spot usually goes a long way for me to actually putting it back!).
3) Think high and low – Clean out of extra storage space? What about storing certain items on the tops of bookshelves, or the tops of your kitchen cupboards, if you have space there. What about under the hang-up clothes in your closet, under your dresser, or under your bed? We store vintage dishes passed down from my grandmothers on the tops of our kitchen cupboards, utilize every inch of space under our hang up closes in our closet, and we even have a number of items with designated spots under our bed!
4) Hang up your clothes – I’ve found that it takes much less space to hang up clothes than to store them in drawers. By doing so, we can get by with only one dresser for all of us. Plus, the clothes stay less wrinkled.