Living in a small space? These decluttering tips will make it feel bigger – and better!
By Diane Small
For most, living in any big American or European city means living in a small space. Space is at such a premium in cities like London, that you can pay up to £14,000 per square metre in some areas! Apart from moving to the countryside, the only logical solution is to downsize your life in order to maximise your space. There’s simply no room for packrats in the likes of Rome, Paris or New York.
If you’ve been living in a place for a long time, it can be hard to be objective about what should stay, and what should go. Take a look at your home with fresh eyes and see where the problems lie. Try to look at your home the way a visitor would when entering the place for the first time. And then you can make changes based on what you find.
You don’t necessarily have to move to find new space for your family members and their belongings. Instead of spending time and money moving into another home, try these 7 Decluttering Tips to add space to your home and see what happens!
7 Decluttering Tips To Make Small Spaces Count
1. Start by Decluttering a Little Each Day
Decluttering can feel overwhelming at first! Start by decluttering a little bit of your space each day. By getting rid of a few things and then moving on to the next space, you will start to make gradual improvements that really build up over time. It’s a great way of making the whole process feel a little less overwhelming for you.
2. Don’t Be A Pack Rat
This is the most obvious point, but one that most people overlook or procrastinate about – people, we need to downsize our stuff. We tend to hold on to old clothing, furniture, crockery…all kinds of stuff that we think we ‘may need one day’…but never do. T
hat also goes for boxes of paperwork we all think we may need ‘just in case’. With regards to papers and receipts, check your country’s minimal legal requirements for keeping tax and other kinds of paperwork (usually 2-3 years), and toss out anything that’s older. If you have lots and lots of clutter to clear out or feel like getting creative with a big interior upgrade while you’re decluttering, you can always hire a dumpster rental company to come and clear any waste.
As for your personal belongings, if you haven’t used an item within the last two years, you probably won’t use it again. I mean, how many handbags do you actually need? And what about that skiing equipment you bought but only used once in the past 5 years? Consider donating it to a local charity or selling it in a yard sale.
If you have some designer items that you need to get rid of, you can even sell them at consignment stores or online at sites like Vestiaire Collective or Hardly Ever Worn It. What’s better than making a little money while clearing up some space in your home? Bonus: people who live more minimally tend to be happier. Yes, really! You can learn more about that here and get some tips for Zero Waste Living in Eluxe here.
Finally, if you have some stuff you really don’t want to part with, but don’t have room for it in your home, you can always pay to have it stashed in a secure storage space until you get a bigger place, or decide what you want to do with it.
3. Use Multi-Function Furniture With Storage Space
Even after getting rid of unwanted items, you may still have a tough time finding places to store all of your remaining stuff. Instead of stuffing your closets fuller, why not store your belongings in multi-function furniture?
There’s a lot to choose from, including hollowed out ottomans, tables with built-in drawers and shelves, bed divans with built in drawers, and nested tables you can take apart when guests drop by. Can’t afford new furniture? You can still get tidy up on the cheap with things like multifunctional hangers, such as those pictured below, or by adding storage space to the back of doors and closets by screwing in some hooks, racks and pegs. It’s easy!
4. Don’t Overlook Potential Storage Spaces
Loads of great storage spaces are hiding in your home. Think: behind doors, under stairs, in nooks, behind bathtub panels – all of these places can be used to maximise your space through the use of shelves and hangers. Also consider adding a plank of wood across surfaces such as your washer/dryer to create more shelving.
Not got anywhere to put your stuff, for real? Investing in new storage solutions is one of the best things you can do, so give some thought to investing in that chest of drawers that you’ve had your eye on for a long time. It’ll really help to keep your space organized and free from clutter. You need to have a place to store all your stuff otherwise it’ll start spilling out into your space once more.
And speaking of shelving, don’t be afraid to stack up cupboards and shelves high – even if you can’t conveniently reach them, higher shelves are a great place to store things you rarely use.
Image credits & more ideas here.
5. If Possible, Avoid Having Stick-Out Radiators
I know this is a weird one, but the radiators, as well as heating and cooling ducts installed behind your walls can take up a lot of room and block potential places for furniture and storage. Although they may look super cool in large, industrial warehouse spaces, if you’re planning to remodel a part of your smaller apartment or house, consider removing radiators and ducts altogether and installing a ductless heating and cooling system instead. You could add a lot of space buy installing underfloor heating, too – there will be no radiators to work around.
Bonus: in addition to saving space, a ductless heating and cooling system could help you save money, because instead of turning on a large HVAC system that serves every room in the house, you only need to run the heating or air conditioning in the rooms you use, as you use them.
6. Get Your Inside Spaces Organized
Smart organization is essential to adding space to your home. Get creative when finding better ways to organize your belongings.
If you don’t have much cabinet space in your kitchen, for example, you might want to move some of your food to jars, spice racks or baskets that hang on the wall.
Secondly, ensure your shelves and closets maximize every inch of possible space by custom-making them to reach the ceiling. If that’s too hard or expensive, try using baskets on top of wardrobes, cupboards and closets for extra storage.
Also note that ceiling and wall lights take up way less space than floor or table lamps – so ensure your lighting is tucked away in the walls rather than consuming floor space.
And let’s talk about plants: they’re a great thing to have in the house, as they clean the air and look great. But the problem is that plants can take up an awful lot of shelf or floor space. Solution? Try hanging them from the ceiling instead, as in our main image. More tips for that can be found here.
7. Use the 12-12-12 Technique
The 12-12-12 technique is a pretty simple one. It’s about finding 12 things in your space that you want to throw away, 12 to donate and 12 to find a new home for without space. Give it a try and see how it goes for you. It’s a good way to organize your decluttering plans and it’s a lot easier than you might think, so see how it works out.
There are dozens of creative ways to organize your home better, and no matter the size of your home, you can almost certainly find ways to add space without spending much money. The next time you feel frustrated because you can’t find a place to store an item, take a look at your home and think creatively about how you can add space – and better yet, think about what you really need – and don’t need. The answer may surprise you!
Pictures 3-9: BHG / All other images: Pixabay