27 smart small-home organization tips
Keep small spaces uncluttered with our creative storage and organization solutions
Frame a doorway
Bookshelves surrounding the entry from a living room to a dining room make creative use of what might otherwise be under-utilized wall space.
Don't forget the ceiling
Small-home living requires creative--sometimes even eccentric--storage solutions. Bicycles held up by a system of pulleys hover above this comfortable living room.
Divide and conquer
This free-standing cabinet creates a visual separation between the entryway and living space. It provides a large amount of closed storage to keep the room uncluttered.
Maximize wall space
Freestanding wall units can be much less expensive than built-ins. Create a niche in the unit for a workstation to add even more function.
Welcome in style
This bench and shelf combination from Pottery Barn makes up for the lack of an entry closet. Both pieces have cubbies to stow daily use items, and hooks under the shelf keep coats and bags ready to go.
Put furniture to work
Multipurpose furniture is a must. If you don't have an entryway closet, a storage bench can hold anything you need to unload. Plus it can double as extra seating, rather than clunky folding chairs.
Use a classic trick
When you have limited rooms for your little ones, go with the mainstay solution: bunk beds! They keep floor space open for other activities.
Hide what you rarely use
Any unused space is fair game for storage. Drawers on casters conceal seldom-used items under the bed. They also work well for storing toys in a cramped kid’s room. Use garment bags to keep dust out of stored linens.
Pare down an entertainment system
Today, our storage needs for electronics, music, and movies are much reduced. TVs are narrow enough to hang on the wall or to rest on a shallow table. Music and movie collections can be stored digitally, making cumbersome storage systems a thing of the past. Off-the-shelf storage systems are available for a variety of multimedia needs and can keep things looking sleek. This bank of modular drawers and shelves has a narrow slot under the television for DVD players and cable boxes.
Don't sacrifice an open floor plan
A half-wall divides this small kitchen from the dining area, giving the sense of a large, combined space. Additional storage was more important than additional seating, so the half-wall incorporates a built-in rather than a bar.
Build in flexibility
Cubbies are ideal for storage and display--and are easy to stack and rearrange. Bonus: A tower of books makes a great display pedestal.
Keep everyday-use items handy instead of tucked away in cabinets or drawers. Using a hanging rack for pots and pans and a floating shelf for jarred items accomplishes just that, yet in an uncluttered way.
Keep trash out of sight
In addition to your main kitchen trash can, try to find room for pullout cans to hold glass, metal, and paper recycling. You can also use a pullout system for your main trash can if space allows.
Let in light
A trio of open shelves and an upper cabinet with wavy glass doors on both sides allow light to stream into this small kitchen's many windows.
The tiny kitchen in a studio apartment has all the necessary parts but in underscaled versions to preserve a sense of spaciousness. A mini-fridge fits under the counter--a full-size fridge would have taken over the space. The narrow island has a slightly curved top to handle counter seating.
Vertical dividers keep cake pans and casserole trays easy to see and retrieve--you avoid having to pull out the bottom one at risk of toppling all the others. Use any leftover slots for your go-to cookbooks or food magazines.
Be wise with wine storage
There are a variety of small racks and shelves on the market that will allow you to keep your short-term wine supply correctly oriented and organized in the kitchen. The Holman Entertaining Shelves from Pottery Barn hold six bottles and include wooden glides for hanging accompanying wine glasses.
Be an editor
Open shelves are all about easy access, but they force you to edit. When items are in plain sight, you know what you have; you tend to forget about things behind cupboard doors.
Prep your pantry
This closet off the kitchen was converted for use as a food pantry. Deep shelves hold cans, boxes, and glass containers, and the countertop on a lower cabinet holds the microwave, so it doesn't take up valuable space in the kitchen.
Maintain a simple surface
Keep the bathroom sink area uncluttered with a recessed medicine cabinet above. A frameless mirror gives it a streamlined feel.
Behind the bathroom door is a perfect place for a cabinet of recessed shelves, just deep enough to hold one row of shampoo bottles or nail polish.
Colonize closet space
Take advantage of ample closet space by investing in a storage system. Tracks mounted on the back wall suppor the weight of wire shelves in this utility closet.
Bring Zen to your work den
Need more storage space in your home office? Go vertical. Shelving items above you will free up surfaces and keep things organized. Using a monochromatic organizational system like the one pictured here produces a clean look.
Keep things within reach
Shelves above and to the side of your desk keep everything close at hand and also allow for extra display space.
Create an inspiration wall
Keeping loose items organized in a home office can be a challenge, but you can pull them together artfully. A wall of clipboards hanging over a small table makes this a mulitfunctional work space.
Play peekaboo with a room
Setting up an office inside a closet gives you plenty of sotrage space. With the door closed, you'd never know the work space was there.
There are several baskets below this home office desk (plus some small boxes and bins above), but the work surface stays clear.