Everyone breathes a little easier when their home is clean and clutter-free. When you don’t have much room to spare in your home, you need to be especially creative with your storage space — and it doesn’t hurt to save money while you are getting organized, either. Here are a few simple tricks for making your small living areas feel a little bigger without breaking the bank:
Research has found that having an excess of possessions is closely associated with poor mental and physical health. For every item you own, you need to devote mental energy to keeping track of it and maintaining it, which can exacerbate anxiety, fatigue, burnout and other mental conditions. Stuff tends to accumulate dust, dander and other allergens. Plus, all the clutter around your home is taking up valuable space.
Different decluttering gurus have popularized different decluttering methods. If you struggle to know what to purge from your home and what to keep, you might consider employing one of the following strategies:
The KonMari Method. Marie Kondo encourages asking yourself two questions about every individual item in your home: Do you use it, and does it spark joy?
Quarantining Method. If immediately discarding objects makes you sweat, you might consider this method, which places decluttered items in a special box with an expiration date. If you haven’t missed the objects before they “expire,” you should feel better about discarding them.
One-in, One-out Method. For every item you bring in your home, you must get rid of an item. You might impose additional rules, like the item you purge must be in the same category as the new purchase.
Swedish Death Cleaning Method. Employed by Swedes toward the end of their life, this method is designed to prevent burdening loved ones with unnecessary possessions. While you are thinking about this method, you might want to update your life insurance, as well.
If you expect to relocate to a larger space relatively soon, you can consider renting storage space for your unused possessions — but you shouldn’t rely on external storage long-term. Though it might be difficult, decluttering will free your mind and your space without costing a dime.
A lack of floor space can make your home feel cramped, even if it is well-organized and clean. You want to keep your items within reach, but if you can get them off the floor and out the way, you will find more usable space in your home. There are creative ways to take advantage of your home’s vertical spaces and horizontal surfaces besides the floor. These include:
Wall shelves. Bookcases can be statement furniture, but they take up more floor space than necessary. You can install shelves directly to your wall. Shelves can be as aesthetically pleasing as you need them to be; in living spaces, you might opt for shelves with some decorative aspect, but in utility spaces, you might build your own basic shelves specifically for storage.
Hooks. Hooks on walls and doors allow you to hang certain items to keep them off your floors and counters. Hooks are especially useful for clothing and accessories, but they can also be used in the kitchen for cooking utensils, in entryways for keys and bags or in utility areas for tools.
Large possessions make even large rooms feel smaller, so you should strive to find items that suit the scale of your space. Fortunately, the tiny home trend has increased the number of attractive and functional home goods, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding mini replacements to maxi items around your home. Here are some of the easiest and most effective small solutions:
Space-saving furniture. Overstuffed sectional sofas will weigh down your home décor. You should find smaller, sleeker furniture — ideally with storage solutions built in.
Low-profile lights and fan. If headroom is a concern, you can replace overhead lights with recessed lighting and install a low-profile ceiling fan to provide much-needed illumination and airflow. Then, your ceilings will feel taller and your room more spacious.
Small appliances. If you are struggling to manage storage in your kitchen, you might shrink the size of your appliances. You can find diminutive ovens, stovetops and refrigerators as well as smaller blenders, mixers, toaster ovens and air fryers.
If you want more space in your home but you can’t afford an addition, you need to get creative with organization. By getting rid of things you don’t need, taking advantage of overhead space and miniaturizing key items in your home, you should be able to find some extra space.