How to Utilize Small Spaces for Big Storage

by Sharon Robinson

I wonder if the families that live in McMansions or the rich and famous who live in what can best be described as complexes have the problem of how to best utilize small spaces. Something tells me that they probably do, as no matter how big the home there just never seems to be enough space. And if you live in a genuinely small home then you really do have to get creative with your use of space.

This problem seems to be an age old one. There is the old joke about the poor widow. She and her 8 children live in a one room apartment so she goes to the Rabbi to ask what to do as it is impossible to live under such conditions. He tells her to buy a goat and let it live in the house with them. A week after doing so she returns to the Rabbi complaining even more. He tells her to remove it, suddenly the apartment didn't seem so small.

Keep it neat!!

Now I definitely don't recommend taking such radical measures but, staying with the religious theme for a moment, there is no doubt that cleanliness is next to Godliness; especially when you don't have much space to play with. Consequently, the first thing to do when utilizing small spaces is to keep them neat and tidy; so get rid of peripheral items you have and curb your magpie instincts.

There is no need for clutter and accumulating clothes and objects you don't use. Pick a charity you would like to donate to and schedule a time and date when you will be dropping of your donations. This way you also have a deadline and it will get you clearing out faster, and your helping society. A lot of people need your old clothes more than the back shelf in your closet.

Think horizontally AND vertically!!

On many occasions we only think horizontally in terms of storage and this is a mistake, especially when we have limited space. The use of shelving above doorways and on walls adds a vertical element to a room and is a space-efficient storage solution. In the kitchen, this may mean hanging pots on the wall which is considered by many to be a trendy interior design feature.

Going horizontal should not be forgotten altogether though, as the space under the bed is excellent for storing items. Plastic bed boxes from transparent plastic are very practical, some also have small wheels on them. So instead of kicking shoes under the bed and then not finding their match in the morning, just place them all in a box and wheel them in and out whenever you want.

Boxes in general are a great idea. Have a lot of jewelry? Don't leave your necklaces to get knotted up and misplaces your rings. Get a little box that's divided into sections. Use a lot of teabags? You can find cute little boxes for them so that you don't have a bunch of open boxes in your kitchen cupboards.

Make full use of digital storage options...

Storing your music, books, and movie collections on digital medium rather than in physical form can save you enormous amounts of space. A 1 terabyte hard drive is inexpensive and much smaller than hundreds of CDs and DVDs, and a tablet computer is much more space efficient than a library. This doesn't mean you have to get rid of your favorite collections, but you can store them and watch them on one of these magic technological little squares.

Organize your own piece of the great outdoors!

Outdoors you can use plastic sheds to store everything in one place and keep it organized. Some sheds are even used as little offices! Another good tip for outdoor spaces is using deck boxes which can be used as seats as well as storage. 2 in 1 are always a good solution when it comes to spaces saving. You can also use this indoors to store shoes, toys, bags or anything inside. It's a quick tidy up!

Back to outdoors, it's all about presentation. Make sure you mow the lawn and don't grow a jungle. Once your outdoors looks neat it automatically will feel more organized. If you don't like mowing the lawn, don't like the noise or don't have the time, there are plenty of children in your neighborhood just looking to make and extra few dollars once a week. Remember, small spaces are not a problem they are merely a challenge - a challenge with many solutions.

About the author:  Sharon Robinson is a neat freak who enjoys writing advice about tidiness, home styling, and sharing storage tips such as using plastic sheds with the world.