Tiny apartment? Freeing up space begins with organization

If you live in a tiny apartment, you will understand the importance of using your space to the best of your advantage. Here’s how to organize it.

Every item in a small home needs to have an established place where it resides when not in use and returns to at the end of the day, which means organization needs to become a part of your everyday ritual. But realistically, that doesn’t always happen.

Having a tiny hone though isn’t always a bad thing. Some people find having a reduced size home a freeing experience, and a welcome opportunity for them to minimize their excess items. For instance, just think of the tiny home movement and the vast numbers of people choosing to downsize their living spaces in order to live a larger life.

Owning too much can weigh you down, but whether you possess much or little, the key to still feeling as though you have room to live and move is staying on top of organization. And to help you, here are a few smart suggestions from organizational experts on how they manage to make their homes feel bigger simply by freeing up space previously occupied by clutter. 

Use cute storage baskets to hide and sort clutter

The co-founder of artisan goods company The Little Market suggests that you select storage containers that both look cute and add to your decor but also hold items so they’re sorted out of the way. One fantastic option for holding storage is statement baskets that still look nice around the room and match your color palette.

“When I was starting my career in Los Angeles, I lived in a few apartments and had to quickly learn how to make the most of my space. I was balancing internships and college and wanted to create a home that was warm and welcoming at the end of the day. I have always loved hosting and inviting friends into my home, so the living room was the perfect place to start.

“One of my tips is to add in storage baskets by the coffee table and couch. Not only do our woven baskets from The Little Market look beautiful, but they easily organize daily essentials, keep comfy blankets and throws, and hide away clutter and small accessories,” says Lauren Conrad, Co-Founder of The Little Market.

Choose furniture with built-in storage space

Not only do baskets and storage containers work well at shuffling less attractive clutter out of your sight line, but built-in storage spaces have the same results. An added advantage is that they provide storage in already used locations so you don’t need to build more places to store your items.

Consider the practicality of furniture with built-in storage options, such as cabinet beds, available at Forward Furniture. The CEO of entertainment ware company Sophistiplate recommends you choose your furniture for its storage compatibility when you have a small home.

“Every piece of furniture should have storage options. Your bed should have drawers attached to the bed frame, your ottoman should open at the top to store blankets and pillows, etc. When you live in a tiny apartment, convenience and organization are key to living comfortably. Buy furniture that has storage availability,” says Daniel Seehoff, CEO of Sophistiplate.

Sort items in a space into categories

The founder of the organizational company Project Neat says that organizing is actually quite simple and can be summarized into three steps: purging, not overbuying, and sorting in zones. It is best to organize by category because then you know exactly where to find what you’re looking for as well as whether you need to buy more of it.

“If you struggle to find the item you’re looking for in a space that is designated to hold that particular item, you know you’re in trouble. The items you need should be easy to access, without having to rummage or shuffle through other items. If they aren’t, that’s a clear sign that the space is not efficient. People don’t understand the value or the need for it because they think their ‘organized chaos’ is just fine!

“It takes a change in your mindset, and that to me seems to be the biggest hurdle I come across with potential clients. The value of being organized has no bounds. You literally feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Your mind suddenly clears, and many clients have immediately felt a sense of calm and peace. Your daily efficiency is drastically improved, because all of your items are at your fingertips, and money is saved because you see what you have and naturally stop overbuying. 

“There is no magic trick other than to consistently purge, don’t overbuy, and make sure to contain the space by breaking down your items into zones. As you go through the process of emptying out a space, you want to sort the items into categories.

“The category may change depending on the space that you’re in. For example, in a master bathroom, your categories may be ‘everyday’, ‘nighttime routine’, and ‘stock’, while in a closet it may be more along the lines of ‘long sleeve’, ‘dresses’, ‘pants’, etc.” says Gilat Tunit, Founder of Project Neat.

Build shelving and display different items in each room

The CEO of magnetic eyelash company Glamnetic advises that you start with shelving for organizing your items because it sorts your stuff vertically rather than horizontally. You can use shelving displays in essentially every room in your home. 

“When you live in a small apartment, shelving should be your best friend. A general rule of thumb for small spaces is that you want to arrange items vertically rather than horizontally, because then you can utilize all your wall space and save room on the floor where your furniture needs to sit.

“I recommend you install lots of shelving in a style that suits your home, and display small trinkets and mementos in the common rooms. Books also are lovely to display, especially since the other alternative is often stacking them on the floors. In your kitchen shelves can be used to hold dishes, utensils, and small tools like your timer.

“Hooks also come in handy for hanging pots and pans. In your pantry or bathroom, or anywhere you have more storage, you can hold food containers and towels. Just make sure you regularly straighten out your shelves if they start to look cluttered because maintaining clean lines will make your home feel nice and neat,” says Ann McFerran, CEO of Glamnetic.

Use a couch with collapsible tabletop

The co-founder and CEO of personalized candle company Birthdate Candles suggests saving furniture space with a couch-table combination.

“One genius space saving hack I have seen used successfully is furniture such as a couch with a built-in tabletop or desk attached to the back. The plank of wood is collapsible, but when you need to eat or work you simply pull up a chair and raise the tabletop.

“While you can certainly look for a pre-made version of this concept, you could also easily DIY it. This is a fantastic space saving idea so you don’t need to take up room with a kitchen table you only use a couple times a day,” says Ajay Mehta, Co-Founder and CEO of Birthdate Co.

Buy over the door organizers 

If you want to use all of your space to the best of your ability, which all small apartment owners understand the necessity of, another great option for you is transforming the back of your doors into storage spaces. The founder and CEO of ADU design and construction company Cottage speaks about how to go about this organizational method.

“When you live in a tiny apartment, it is not an exaggeration to state that every inch of space is significant. Especially if you are a self-proclaimed maximalist, ie. a person with a lot of stuff. Don’t let the space behind your doors become wasted room.

“Invest in a few over the door organizers like those with rows of shelves. In a laundry room or bathroom you can fill the shelves with cleaning supplies and beauty products, and in your pantry and kitchen, spices and food items are great selections to hang. You can also buy organizers that have shallow pockets, such as for shoes or scarves,” says Alex Czarnecki, Founder & CEO of Cottage.

Use uniform storage containers and labels to tidy your kitchen

You can be more specific about how you want to target each room in your home individually. For instance, the CEO and owner of the home organizational company Simply Spaced recommends that people not shy away from organizing their kitchens, as the results can be hugely impactful and noticeable. Leed mentions how much unifying your shelves, such as your spice collection, can heighten your kitchen. 

“I’ve always been interested in organizing, but the truth is, I haven’t always been organized. Much like anything we invest in as adults, getting organized is often thought of as a luxury or frivolous afterthought, but with the newfound interest in all things order (as evidenced by some of the most popular TikToks), people are craving order more than ever. After a year of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty on the home front, (re)gaining control over our environment is proving to be a necessary step in moving forward with calm confidence.

“Kitchens are the most frequented room in the house, so it’s no wonder they are quick to become chaotic. With so many family members in and out, making meals and moving things around, kitchens can be a magnet for clutter and disarray. You are not alone if you have a messy, out of control spice cabinet.

“Sorting spices may seem like a bougie TikTok gag, but decanting into uniform containers is a fun, quick, and easy way to bring cohesion to your kitchen. Simplify: Start by pulling out all your spices. Check the expiration dates and toss any that are past their prime. Streamline: Decide on the best location to store all your spices, such as a cabinet or drawer near your stove. Style: Decant your spices into spice jars and label accordingly.

“Alphabetize your spice jars for ease of use. One of the best ways to maintain an organized kitchen, or any space for that matter, is to use labels to help you and your loved ones remember where everything lives,” says Monica Leed, CEO and Owner of Simply Spaced.

Sort your closet into labeled baskets

Another location that can use some extra organization is your closet. The founder of modern furniture company Modloft recommends you use labeled baskets to help you categorize your items.

“All of us probably have a bit of disarray in our closets due to the mishmash of clothes, shoes, accessories, shoes, and jewelry all in one place. For your clothes, which can be hung and folded into drawers, try sorting in a pattern you’ll gravitate towards.

“Color coding or arranging by category or season are both good options. You can install shelves above your hanging bars and place matching baskets to hold your smaller items or those that do not look as neat when hung. Having your purses arranged in rows, scarves folded, belts lined up, and hats stacked in baskets will keep them out of sight and tidy,” says Ted Toledano, Founder of Modloft.

With these expert tips on how to organize your tiny apartment to create extra open space, you will be able to neatly arrange your belongings so they are out of view but still clean. And as you’re looking through your things to sort them, you just might end up getting rid of extra clutter. Enjoy your newly neatened and tidied space!