For most of us living in and around New York City, fitting our things in the small spaces we call home is tricky business. But fear not! Even in the tiniest of homes, there are ways to maximize your space. Try these solutions to see if you can get a little more out of your square footage:
Shelves, Shelves, Shelves
Did we mention shelves? Exploiting vertical space is a great way to utilize storage in your home. Consider a long floating shelf a foot or two below the ceiling on a large wall and shelves over door frames, behind the sofa, over the bed, in the bath, above the toilet, and on an empty kitchen wall.
Under the Bed
If your bed has space underneath, use it! There are boxes with wheels for easy pull out, shoe organizers, garment and linen bins, and even under bed drawers. If your bed is too low, consider bed risers, which can add up to 6 inches to bed heights providing more underneath room to stow goods.
Custom closets are a must for small spaces: Not only do they increase storage capacity but also provide organization with shelves, drawers, hi and low hanging rods, shoe racks and more. With many options for every budget, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one to fit into your lifestyle. Consider The Container Store’s ELFA Shelving System (Tip: ELFA’s annual sale, which typically takes place after Christmas, is a great time to get 30 percent off products and installation), Ikea’s PAX Wardrobe system, The Home Depot’s ClosetMaid and California Closets among others. Alternatively, if your budget allows, you can contact a carpenter to get a quote for a super custom, all wood closet system.
The Coffee Table That Could
The right coffee table could double as storage. Opt for tables with shelves, drawers and secret compartments to store or display books, magazines, pens, remote controls, coasters, and even dishes. You’ll be surprised how much that little table could store.
We all have unused nooks in our home: That one-foot gap above the kitchen cabinets, the unused fireplace and that space underneath the stairs. Look around your home and find unexploited crannies and think of clever ways to utilize the space. For example, you can store books in non-working fireplaces, put away extra dishes above the kitchen cabinets, and install a wine rack underneath the stairs. There are no rules when it comes to storage, if you find room, use it!
Every once in a while, go through your stuff and decide if you really need to keep the items. If you have an article of clothing that you haven’t worn in a year or two, maybe it’s time to toss or donate it. If you have a dish that you haven’t used since college or a piece of furniture that’s broken, maybe it’s time to bid them farewell. And if you’re holding on to something mainly because you’re attached to the recollections of it, maybe take a picture and get rid of it. After all, it’s the memory an object evokes that makes it special.
Give Yourself a Little Room
Items that are seasonal or occasionally used—like those Alpine skis and those outdoor planters—don’t need to take up room in our immediate living area. Why not consider renting a storage unit? Think about requirements for each item and decide what your needs are in terms of size, climate control, and security. Remember, if an item is valuable, don’t forget to consider insurance options.