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Small studio apartmentAt different stages of your life you may find yourself living in a small space, maybe even a tiny space. Small homes are notoriously short on storage, preferring to maximize the actual living space. That doesn’t mean you have to despair. With a bit of creativity and thought, you can come up with ways to maximize the available space to organize your belongings, or you can choose to store seasonal stuff, memorabilia, and other light-use objects in an offsite storage unit.

Re-think Functionality

Living in a small space means you no longer have the luxury of single use. Whenever possible you want to have things, especially furniture, which serve multiple functions. Here are just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

  1. Bed + storage. This may take the form of a bed with built in drawers (so you don’t need an extra dresser) or one that lifts up to reveal a large storage space below (for linens, seasonal items, or anything else you like).
  2. Table + storage. Tables come in all sizes and shapes. Some have drawers, shelves or serve as cabinets.
  3. Seating + storage. Sofas with built in drawers, window seats that conceal toy chests or have shelves underneath. Some sofas have hidden compartments for storing remotes.

Use “Dead” Space

The most obvious unused space in most homes is under the stairs. Whenever possible create closets, cabinets, or even install shelves under staircases. Even if you only have a few steps between rooms, you might be able to install drawers in the risers to store small items.

To find additional space for storage in your home you only have to look down and up. Under beds, under tables, and under cabinets are great places to hide storage boxes and tubs. You can even go so far as to go under the floor, creating storage under the floorboards and in crawl spaces. On the “up” side of the equation is storage above your head. Put shelves or small cabinets along the ceiling, above the refrigerator, over the toilet tanks, etc.

Pull It

murphy bedThe rise of the tiny house and tiny apartment movement has seen a revival in the popularity of the Murphy bed. Pulling down your bed each night and then pushing it back up into the wall each morning significantly increases the amount of living space available. It doesn’t have to stop there.

Drop-leaf tables have long been a staple in small kitchens. Simply pull up the leaf to expand the dining area, then drop it when it is no longer needed. Now you can install a drop-down table that works like a Murphy bed. It lies flat against the wall until you need it. Likewise there are pull down desks, laptop tables, craft tables, or a simple surface that can be used as all the above as needed.

Once you start expanding your idea of storage to include multi-functionality and the idea that you can “store” a table or bed until you need it, you’ll find countless ways to organize your small home.

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