Most of us have a hard time figuring out how to make the most of the space in our homes. We’re used to shoving things into closets, dresser drawers, and cabinets- these make the most sense, right? Walls are for picture frames and ceilings are for light fixtures...right? Not necessarily! Here are some tips to take advantage of ALL of the space that you have in your home- and ways to keep said spaces organized.
1. Use up that wall space! Wall space is important- we can add hooks or shelving in order to truly utilize all of that empty space. For example, if you have a crowded entryway closet during the winter that you are using for shoes and light coats, that simply can’t fit your scarves or winter coats, installing a hook rack next to the front/back door of your home solely for these items can free up closet space and make these essentials more accessible. Similarly, if you’re pressed for space in your kitchen cabinets and have a lovely china set that simply can’t be discarded, installing a shelf on an empty wall space can free up a cabinet and display the china properly! Hook racks and shelves can be used for any number of things- belts, picture frames, umbrellas, toiletries in the bathroom, daily mail, etc. I recently installed three hook racks inside of my closet walls to hang up hoodies and scarves, and it freed up a lot of space to hang my coats and dresses instead.
2. Get matching hangers! Having matching hangers really helps preserve space in your closet. Having all of your garments at the same height and width makes it much easier to locate and choose items to wear. Being able to eliminate bulky and unnecessary hangers also eliminates the possibility of wasting space. If you choose a specific type of hanger- like, say, a velvet hanger- you can rest assured that your clothing won’t be constantly slipping off the hanger, falling to the floor, and getting lost in the deep dark depths of your closet, never to be seen again. Having matching hangers is also just aesthetically pleasing- it looks neat, you can color coordinate based on type of clothing/season/etc, and this means you’ll be motivated to keep it that way! You’ll always know what you have.
3.If you’re wearing something from your closet...keep that hanger out! If you decide that you want to wear something from your closet today, instead of putting the empty hanger back in the closet, keep it out for yourself (on your bed, on your dresser...somewhere close by). This way, when you come home and take that garment off, you can put it right back on that hanger and into the closet. What tends to happen is that we end up with a lot of empty, useless hangers in our closets (we can’t find the hanger we used, we search for a different one, add it to the full closet, rinse and repeat) and this takes up a lot of space. If you keep out the hangers you used, you’ll always re-use the same hangers and keep your closet clutter free.
4. Use space under the bed! There is a ton of potential for storage underneath your very own bed. “But my bed is too low!”, you might be thinking...solution: invest in some bed risers and bam, storage space! Some items that you can keep underneath your bed include unused linens, boxes with out of season clothing, bins with bulky boots that don’t fit in your closet, spare fancy clothes/shoes that you only use once in awhile, pull-out drawers to fit those extra items of clothing...etc. For example, I have a small bedroom- so I get a lot of use from under my bed. I keep winter comforters (in vacuum-sealed ziploc bags, to reduce bulk), my dumbbells, a slide out drawer with my winter sweaters, a yoga mat, and a guitar case all underneath my bed. This frees up room in my closet and gives me more floor space to walk around as well.
5. Make use of ceiling joists for big, bulky items in your basement. Many basements have joists in the ceiling, and this is a perfect place to store long, bulky items. If you have spare wood, you can put it to use by screwing it to the joists in the basement ceiling- here, you can store items like skiis, paddle boards, extra wood, snowboards, etc! This frees up basement space and keeps things in order.
6. Get rid of the unnecessarily big food boxes! Food boxes take up so much extra space. As soon as you return from food shopping, make it a point to take all of your food and drinks out of their boxes/plastic wrapping. This will free up cabinet space and give you easy access to food when you want to grab a bite to eat.
7.Bask in the glory of S-hooks! S-hooks are amazing and can be a real space saver. For example, if you use them in the bathroom on the back of your shower curtain, you now have a spot to hang your loofah, razor, towel, or anything else that you need easy access to in the shower. You can also use them in your closet to hang your jeans and pants. If you hang two s-hooks spaced apart on an empty closet rod, you can hang a basket on the hooks and fill the basket with essentials, whether it’s extra toilet paper rolls or toiletries!
8.As difficult as this may be...don’t hang onto all of your kid’s artwork! I know, I know...it’s hard throwing away your kid’s artwork, especially when they’re so proud of it. But once that artwork is thrown into drawers and random folders around the house, it really starts taking up a lot of space! Clean these places out, and before throwing the art away, use an app like artkive https://www.artkiveapp.com/#home that will take photos of your kid’s artwork and send you a nice, neat, small and organized book of it all. This way, if you’re really attached to certain pieces of art and simply can’t let go, you’ll still have it- in a way that will save space and allow you to utilize that space for other things. You can also invest in an art folder to store some of the art you can’t throw out in a neat and organized space. Another clever way is to get some mailing tubes and roll up art in there as well- label the tubes and you now have a perfect way to preserve those memories without the clutter!
9. PAPERS...or a lack, thereof. It’s 2018! We literally need about 10% of the papers that we actually have overflowing in boxes and drawers around the house. For example, get on that paperless bill pay! Your statements are basically all online now; this eliminates so much clutter. For any paper that you do need, you can use a small filer carrier bin that you can pick up and carry to any room in the house- you can go through it once a week, shred what you don’t need, and keep what you do. You can also try making a Sunday Basket to easily handle all of your weekly papers!
10. To put it bluntly...GET RID OF THE CRAP! Make sure that you are consistently getting rid of the items that you no longer use or need anymore! This will keep the flow of items in and out of your home at bay. You can try creating a donation bin and keeping it by the front or back door of your house- add 1-3 items to it on a daily basis so you don’t feel as overwhelmed doing everything at once. Once the clutter is gone, consistently do this with any new, unused items! At the end of the week (or whenever the bin is full), make it a habit to donate the items or call for a charity to come pick them up. All you need to do is leave it on your front porch. This way, if you don’t want to throw out the items, they’ll go to a great use- to someone who actually needs those items and will use them thoroughly! You’ll end up with a lot more space as well. It’s a win-win.