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Tricks and Tips for Organizing a Small Apartment

After I got out of the homeless shelter, I had this big, huge apartment with no furniture, no table to eat on, no couch to sit on, just a borrowed bed. It was my first apartment on my own, ever, and it seemed so huge. In reality, it was pretty small!

Having a small apartment does not mean you have to have an unorganized one; you just have a smaller space to work with. This can actually be a plus! Tricks and Tips for Organizing a Small Apartment

Slowly, over time, especially as I started collecting things to sell, it became smaller and smaller and smaller. It felt like the walls were closing in. Luckily, on the patio, I had a storage closet where I could shove a lot of things in there and not have to worry about it.

But, I very quickly realized, that if I was going to make money from home, I’d have to be more organized. I knew how…my mom taught me for years, I just didn’t want to. But organizing is in my blood. I love doing it and eventually, I was able to organize my own home and teach my friends how to organize theirs as well.

Related: Organizing your home can be so difficult. You have no idea where to begin or how to organize your home in a way that makes sense. This organizing essentials guide is the perfect solution. With real life advice, this go-to guide covers almost everything you own! Get started now and say goodbye to clutter forever!

Having a small apartment does not mean you have to have an unorganized one; you just have a smaller space to work with. This can actually be a plus! Once you get a small apartment organized, it is much easier to keep it that way! You have less temptation to store extra things you may never use or need. Now that I have a double car garage and my house is honestly way too big for us, I am tempted to just throw things here or there, because it doesn’t really matter. I could just have wall to wall storage cabinets in my garage and it wouldn’t matter. But in small spaces, it does. Here are some fantastic tricks and tips for organizing a small apartment…

Tricks and Tips for Organizing a Small Apartment

Use multi-functional items in your apartment

Having a small space means that everything you place in it should do two or more things. A flat topped chest can double for a storage space for extra bedding and be used as a table to hold your laptop while you’re working. A coffee table with storage underneath can easily store your children’s toys and make cleanup a breeze. A small part of the desk in your bedroom can be used as an end table with your alarm clock and phone on it.

Try to pick out furniture that has 2-3 functions to it. Even in larger homes, like mine, this is something I still do.

Lemon tree in a room with peaceful winter landscape outside the window.

Think up and not out when organizing your apartment

Most of us keep our organizational items on the floor. Be creative and find shelving units that are vertical rather than horizontal. You have plenty of wall space on the upper part of your wall that often gets left out. Having a shelf that reaches all around your room about 2 foot down from the ceiling will give you plenty of space to store you knick knacks and extra books or a floor to ceiling book shelf would be a great idea!

Another place I liked to store things was above the washer/dryer room on the shelves. If your laundry room doesn’t have shelves, you can easily put them up.

You will also want to utilize above the stove cabinets. I usually store things like candles and vases in the cabinets above the stove. Anything that I don’t use on a regular basis, but can get a chair to reach them if needed. Take advantage of every small crevice you can when storing your items and keep all like-items in the same place, so you’ll know exactly where they are at.

Utilize the storage space under the bed

You can find wheeled carts that make it much easier to utilize this space. You can store out of season clothing, your child’s toys, sports or photography equipment, or even your couponing finds under there and can quickly access them by pulling them out and back in again. The wheels really help them move a little better although you will find they are a tad more expensive. If you have a twin-sized bed, you may want to opt for a Captains bed, where you have drawers underneath the bed.

Strategically place furniture

Sometimes, it’s best to have furniture up against a wall, like a bed, to save space, but sometimes, it’s more spacious if you slant furniture in the corner of the room, leaving space behind them to store baskets full of goodies that is out of sight, but not out of reach. These can be great places to store craft supplies or games until you are ready to use them.

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Wall space in the bedroom can be used for storing your purses, hats and scarves

Command hooks will work well to hold your items with no damage to the paint or wall, and will make your landlord happy. Likewise, hangers in your closet with several purses attached work well. Scarf organizers are also great for keeping scarves neat and tidy. Again, be sure to group all like items with like items, so everything is easy to find.

Likewise, organizers like spice racks are perfect for nail polish (I cut out a piece of card stock and put on the bottom of each row so that the bottles stand up perfectly and for further organization, as you can see, I like to try to keep like colors with like colors) and jewelry can be hung on organizers as well. This will keep it all visible and easily accessible, but still put away and OUT OF the way!

Nesting tables can really work well in a small apartment

Nesting tables tuck neatly one on top of the other and can provide multiple work stations to be moved around the house. The different heights will allow you to choose what works best for any chair height that you are sitting in. Once you are done using the table just slide it right back under the others until you are ready to use them again.

Related: How to Organize Your Closet

Utilize closets well

Hallway or entry way closets are very under-utilized in small apartments. You can take fuller advantage of them by figuring out exactly what you want to store in them and then making the room to store the items you need. For example, if you keep your vacuum in the entry way closet, then install wire shelving above the vacuum to utilize a good half of the closet.

Keep thick, puffy blankets and bedding at the tip top of the closet in storage bags to avoid dust and keep them clean. Then, on those shelves you just installed, you can keep a variety of items on them. Perhaps your couponing cleaning supplies or boxed or canned food can go in there very easily. If you have trouble stacking your canned foods on the wire shelving, consider purchasing canned food organizers, which are very inexpensive.

Matching your furniture to your wall

This is a great design trick to create an illusion of having a bigger space. I have found in the past that white works really well for making a small space look much larger. You can also try moving your furniture to the center of the room, leaving the walls behind them for holding bookshelves or armoire for some much needed added storage space. Make sure you take time each month to organize and go through all of your items in your small apartment. Sometimes less is always more!

Having a small apartment does not mean you have to have an unorganized one; you just have a smaller space to work with. This can actually be a plus! Tricks and Tips for Organizing a Small Apartment

What have you found to be the best tips for organizing a small apartment?


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  1. Great tips Sarah – I’m always on search for new space even after major decluttering. I have baskets stashed under everything from the beds to the sofa to the wardrobes 🙂

  2. Great tips I lived in apartments for years and used all these tips and more. I also used hanging space behind the door. That and thinking a little out of the box like putting a dresser in a closet to clear up floor space and in our small garage hanging storage from the ceiling. Great tips!

  3. Thats is an awesome tip Sarah! Go up and not out!! Finding ways to vertically organize can really save a lot of space in a small area. I love utilizing this tip in my boys’ closets.

  4. Lots of great tips here. Not only are we living in small apartments, we’re going to be moving about once a month for the next few months, so we’ll have to be organizing our small spaces over and over again. I’ll definitely be referring back to this post. Thank you!