Small home living means you have less area to clean but more clutter to manage if you’re not careful. You don’t have to store your clothes in the oven and your shoes in the kitchen cabinet to get the most out of your available storage. Learn how to maximize every square foot of your minimal space with these six savvy strategies.

#1 When You Buy Something, Toss Out Something

man holding donation boxYou don’t have to organize the things you don’t have. If you haven’t worn something in two years, get rid of it. Instead, keep a simple wardrobe of classic pieces that you can mix and match.

Adopt a capsule wardrobe — a minimal collection of clothes that mix, match, and layer for multiple uses. Then accessorize with accent pieces like a scarf or piece of jewelry.

Before making an impulse buy, consider if you really need that kitchen item that only serves one purpose. Often times, the use of your existing kitchen tools and standard appliances are all you really need. Take that special egg poacher for example. Is it doing something you can’t already do?

#2 Think Vertically

storage shelf over the doorWalls can do a lot more than hold the ceiling up. Install shelves high up along the perimeter of a room or hang bicycles from the ceiling. Free up drawer and counter space in the kitchen by hanging pegboards for utensils and magnetic strips for knives.

A utility space is perfect for hanging sturdy racks overhead. Try this trick for storing seasonal items you don’t always need to access quickly. Hang wire bins in an unused corner to stash away not-so-pretty cleaning supplies and otherwise homeless items, like orphaned socks.

#3 Add Storage to Your Doors

storage shelf over the doorEvery door in your home can solve a storage problem. Make good use of the inside of a closet, cabinet and interior door. Storage-specific stores have plenty of options for full doors. 

Mount magazine file boxes to the inside of kitchen cupboards to store tinfoil and plastic wrap. Mount your hairdryer to the inside of your sink cabinet. Use shoe bags to store miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies, light bulbs, and batteries in your hallway closet. Mount a horizontal towel bar on a closet door and hang boots, sneakers, scarves, or ties from it. Store a whole drawer-worth of bras in one vertical cascade of connected hangers mounted behind your closet door.

#4 Containerize Everything

fashionable storage containersOrganize categories of “stuff” in stackable containers that are located exactly where they will be needed. Keep winter gloves and scarves in bins by the front door. Store outdoor sporting goods, like cycling gear and sports balls, and yard games, in the front hall closet.   

Don’t forget your furniture can double as containers. Choose items like ottomans with interior storage, or a coffee table with drawers.

Containers that remain visible can be a part of your aesthetic. Choose colors or patterns that work with your interior décor.

#5 Curate Your Stuff Into ‘Art’

display your stuff as artConsider which items you own that can do double duty as fun design and storage. Clear out a spot on your bookshelf by using a stack of hardcover books as a quirky lamp stand. Or remove the pages from one of those books and wrap it around your wireless router or modem to eliminate the need to store these ugly necessities out of sight.

You can double your storage space by unabashedly keeping certain items out in the open instead of squirreling them away. For example, Sullivan suggests hanging pots and pans above a kitchen door if possible. What could be more appropriate kitchen decor than cookware?

#6 Use All Your Nooks and Crannies to Hide Clutter

storage nook between studsIn spy movies, someone is always pulling valuables from secret hiding spots. You may not be a spy, but your home has lots of nooks and crannies that can become hidden storage, just like in the movies. Consider installing drawers behind stair risers or in the dead space under your cabinets. If there are a few inches between your refrigerator and the wall, build a rollout pantry for storage.

Hide things in plain sight. Cut out the wallboard between the studs to create space to fit narrow shelves for small items. Then, cover the storage space with an easily removable painting or print. Or go the extra step and hinge the art to make a door. James Bond would be proud!