Living With a Small ClosetOctober 2nd, 2006 by aptsherpa
Cabinets, curtains, screens, and drawers are your friends when you live in an apartment with limited closet space or none at all. Since adding on a closet or other storage space is probably not an option, you’ll have to invent alternative ways to store your items. Read on for some terrific tips on doing so!
Throw it out
As the esteemed storage expert the Closet Lady will tell you, the best way to improve your use of storage space is to get rid of what you don’t need. This doesn’t always have to mean throwing things out, but it does mean reevaluating your storage priorities. If you can get rid of anything, do it. That dress you haven’t worn in two years but “might wear someday”? You’re not going to wear it someday. Sell it on eBay, donate it to charity, put it in long-term storage if you just can’t get rid of it—but don’t waste precious closet space on something you don’t wear on a regular basis. Storage in your home is meant to give you a way to store commonly used items, not a way to hold on to things forever. Reassessing your needs and reducing the amount of things you need to store is the first—and most effective—step on your journey to increase storage space in your home.
Hide and seek
Once you’ve reduced the amount of items you need to store, you’ll have to figure out where to put them. Of course you want to be able to find your items easily, but you don’t necessarily want to keep them out in plain sight for everyone—especially not your guests. When you don’t have a closet, keeping your items under wraps can be a little tough. Fortunately, there are always options.
In small spaces, custom curtains can work miracles—they’re easy to make and good at hiding your unsightly storage. They can also double as a door for a small space where you can stack items needing storage. If you don’t have a closet, make one out of a corner or cranny in your home, or block off the end of a hallway and use it for storage.
Decorative screens are also great ways to section off a part of your home and reserve it for storage. Since they’re tall, they can hide stacked boxes of items you may only need infrequently, such as winter clothing or seasonal decorations. Or, if you don’t have a closet for your cleaning supplies, hide your vacuum, broom, and mop behind a tall screen. The space between your refrigerator and the wall can be another great place to keep tall, narrow items like cleaning implements.
Show it off
If you can’t hide your belongings in your closet (or a covered makeshift closet), another option is to show off items you’d otherwise keep under wraps. You don’t necessarily want to put your undergarments or ratty old t-shirts on display, but keeping some items in a cute set of cubes can be a good way to add color to your home without spending lots of money on decorations. Some storage systems are perfectly attractive and don’t even need to be covered up—there’s no reason not to let others see your furniture, even if storage is its main function. You can also put your shoes (the more attractive pairs, at least) on display by using shoe racks (these stackable racks are a great option, especially if your shoe wardrobe is prone to expanding). There’s little limit to what you can display as long as you’re comfortable with doing so!
Under the bed—and other furniture
Ah, under the bed. That’s the place where monsters hide, right? Well, the monsters won’t have any room if you’re truly maximizing your storage space by using all available areas. The space under your bed can become your new closet, if necessary—it’s conveniently located and can hold a lot of items. Or, if you’ve managed to store a lot of items elsewhere, the space under the bed can become your long-term storage.
Whatever your approach, there are many options when it comes to keeping items under the bed. Drawers—store-bought or self-made—are great options if you need to use your stored items frequently, because they increase the ease of access to those items. Boxes and bags are better if you won’t be using the stored items very frequently.
Your bed probably isn’t the only place where you can keep extra items. Do a thorough walk-through of your house and determine where you have underutilized storage options. If you have an abundance of kitchen cabinetry, condense your pots and pans into one or two cabinets, leaving another cabinet free for non-kitchen items. Or maybe you can combine the contents of two of your bathroom drawers, freeing up one to store towels, pillowcases, or other items that need a place to stay. And since many people have separate CD and DVD storage racks, the entertainment center supporting or surrounding your TV may be completely empty. Fill it up with the games or puzzles that had been languishing in a corner, or use it to store books or magazines. Thinking about alternative places to put items will help you maximize the storage space in your apartment.
Using these tips and your own creativity will send you well on the way to storage solutions, even in an apartment with no closet space whatsoever.