If you're renting an apartment, chances are you know every square inch counts to create a functional yet stylish abode. But while carving out storage with the additional challenge of a smaller space may seem like an impossible task, it doesn't have to be. With some careful planning (and a bit of creativity), you can achieve the Pinterest-worthy, beautifully organized space you've always envisioned.
Whether you're downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment in New York City or renting a condo in Phoenix, AZ, breaking each task down room-by-room can make organizing an apartment a little less daunting and well worth the effort. To help you get started, we reached out to the pros themselves to create the ultimate guide to organizing an apartment (and keeping it that way). Read on for their tips to divide and conquer a cramped space.
Curb the clutter from the get-go
1) Curate your possessions for this space, and keep what you love that will serve the purpose of this space. Then, systematically put everything away once done daily. Everyone can have a home that reflects their lifestyle, inspires creativity, provides harmony, and allows for functional spaces regardless of the size of your home. Less is more, and the key to keeping your home and life organized is to be purposeful and systematic. Evaluate your space to reflect your style, aesthetics, and function of the space. -The Tailored Nest
2) Small spaces must be "zoned" properly; otherwise, it becomes overwhelming. As long as each area has its zone and each unit has its purpose, spaces will remain organized and stress-free. For example, under-bed storage could be zoned as shoe storage only. -Method to the Madness
3) Creating systems to deal with mail and packages entering your home is essential to maintaining an organized space. A big challenge for small homes or apartments is incoming paper or package clutter. I recommend a combination of items such as wall pockets, hidden storage, key hangers, trash and recycling cans, or cork boards to create a wall command center. For mail: Upon bringing mail into your home, determine whether it requires future action or should be, displayed, discarded, or shredded. For packages: Open them as soon as they arrive, take the item to its new home, and take the cardboard or packaging to its proper recycling location. -Alli B Organizing
Small apartment organization tips for a closet or bedroom
4) To keep a small space organized, look for "dead spaces" in your home - those empty or under-utilized storage areas found in cabinets, closets, and walls. For example, put a shelf organizer over those six inches of wasted space above your plates, and voila! You now have an extra foot of storage space. Small spaces are my favorite because they're cozy, welcoming, and efficient. They also allow us to get more done in less time, simply because everything is closer at hand. -Rescued Room
5) You have many doors in apartments, so use them wisely. Hang over the door shoe pockets to hold different items on the back of different doors. For example:
Closet door: socks, underwear, tank tops, etc.
Entryway closet door: mittens, hats, scarves, earmuffs, etc.
Utility room door: cleaning products (this opens up storage space under bathroom and kitchen sinks and keeps all cleaning products in one area of the home).
You can also utilize clear bins with lids to store your overflow and less-used items. Stack other clear bins on top that hold your commonly used items for easier access. Remember to label so everyone knows where things belong. -orgANNEizer
6) Pick square or rectangle-shaped bins with flat sides over tapered bins when purchasing storage bins. With tapered bins, you lose overall space since the slanted sides create a narrowing at the bottom of the bin, wasting valuable space. -The Precise Place
Small apartment organization tips for a kitchen
7) Add a durable freestanding shelf to create additional options to store all of your kitchen odds and ends. If pantry space is what you need, incorporate stylish baskets to organize your items and enhance your decor neatly. - Kimberly of The Modern Steward
8) You'd be surprised how simple and functional any kitchen can be when you eliminate the clutter and organize items according to daily use. Go through your kitchen items and keep only what you use. Then, unpack or decant the items and put them into labeled containers of your choice. Most importantly, organize items by priority and use them when putting them away. If your kitchen is primarily cabinets, consider adding slide-out shelves or shelf dividers to utilize as much open space as possible. -Organized by Kirsten
9) Use products like lazy susans and small pull-out bins to help us utilize the full depth of problematic "dead spaces" (the dark corners of your cupboards). These corners are best for less frequently used items and don't need to be in the forefront of your day-to-day zones. -Remedy Your Chaos
10) Transfer your spices into matching spice jars for less than $1 each and showcase them on the wall using picture shelves. Not only are they visually appealing and easier to access, but you now have more space in your cabinet for other things. -Christine The Organizer
Small apartment organization tips for a bathroom
11) Eliminate all clutter - magazines and books, products you tried and didn't like, and decorative soaps you will never use. Store lesser-used items—that you'll actually use—separate from daily essentials, and keep bathroom cleaners with other cleaning supplies in one central area (not in the bathroom). -Simply Organized by Misty
12) Categorize, contain, and label. Keep like items together, so you don’t have to go searching for your hair products or nightly skin regimen when you need them. Use stackable, deep drawer bins to utilize the space under the sink and turntables to make everyday products easily accessible. Labeling helps to keep you organized, so don't forget that final step. -Hello Happy Home
13) A common mistake is that people are not using the right organizational product for their space and are not categorizing their items together. Take advantage of all vertical space in your cabinets and under the sink by using stackable pull-out drawers to store your beauty products or makeup. Then use drawer dividers to contain everyday items like toothbrushes or night serums, so everything has a home. A budget-friendly solution would be to use a 2-tier turntable to organize your hair products, so you'll always find what you’re looking for. -Glamornized
14) Keep your surfaces clutter-free. Use a clear, divided turntable that you can place next to your sink and section common products, such as night routine products (face wash, moisturizer, serum, etc.), daily hair care, deodorant/perfume, morning face routine, and tooth care section. This makes it easy to categorize and allows you only to stage products you use. You can also use a rack to hang your dryer, curling irons/straighteners, and brush. There are plenty of over-the-cabinet/door versions of this, or you can mount it on a cabinet next to your sink. Finally, use drawer dividers for your drawers and section out everyday items. This way, you'll have an inventory of bathroom stock with easy access and ease of replenishment when needed. -Meat & Potatoes Organizing
15) Kick beauty products out of the bathroom. Consider setting up a vanity in an adjoining room to showcase and store your beauty routine and only keep the bare necessities like soap and toothpaste in your small space. Plus, a vanity can double as a desk if you're working from home. Keep counters clear by assigning one drawer to your daily routine, and try to buy or shop less with smaller spaces since it's best to keep a reduced collection of back stock. Beauty products, especially lotions and creams, have a shelf life, so keep your money in the bank and only order a replacement when you're running low. The more products you alternate between, the longer it takes to use up those products. If you have gently used products you no longer use, give them to a homeless shelter or women's shelter, there are others in need everywhere. Simplify your beauty routine, and any bathroom clutter will become a problem of the past. -Holly Help Inc.
16) Take advantage of the available space you have under the sink. I love to use small stackable drawers here to house categories such as travel, self-tanning, feminine care, hair removal, etc. You can also take advantage of the height in your small drawers using stackable drawer inserts - just make sure the items on the bottom level are flat and fit within the height of the inserts. -Haven Home
17) When organizing a small bathroom, you want to take advantage of every space available to you, including the doors. Use an over-the-door rack for storing hygiene products when there is or isn't under-the-counter storage space. This product can be put together in under 10 minutes without using tools. Around the sink, use either lazy susans or two-tier organizers to corral all the everyday products in one clean, organized place. Corralling them into an organizer also makes it easier to clean the countertop without having to relocate a load of products. Floating shelves can also be handy when finding places to put those extra rolls of tissue or that basket full of lady products. -Passion Organizing
Get creative and DIY your own storage solutions
18) Square footage and storage space in any home is gold, so don't waste any. In those smaller living spaces where storage space seems limited, get creative. Utilize vertical space, use the back of doors and space under beds, and invest in double-duty furniture with built-in storage to eliminate the clutter on flat surfaces in the home. -Ordered, LLC
19) Up your storage game. Literally. Vertical space, walls, and the inside of doors are prime storage real estate in a small space. Hooks, floating shelves, and over-the-door organizers can become a home for everything from accessories to shoes or clothing. Thinking outside the bin to identify usable storage space will help you turn your clutter & chaos into calm. -YOU. Organized. by Barb
20) Get creative and think of ways to repurpose a shoe rack, small bookshelf, crate, or stand. If you don’t have one, shop at a thrift store, yard sale, or ask family and friends for theirs. The most common mistake is overthinking it and spending lots of time and money on unnecessary items to do the job. Lots of books? Pair down to favorites, organize them, then use them to decorate your space. Let your creativity soar – repurpose and recreate organizing solutions to fit your everyday needs on a budget. -Organizing Relief
Originally published by Redfin