Organizing a Small Space? Here Are 8 Mistakes to Avoid


In some circumstances, square footage is a luxury, and so is storage space. So when it comes to renting, one of the biggest challenges for the majority of renters, small apartment-dwellers, but also those who live in small homes is where to put everything. However, it’s super easy to make mistakes when you try to organize everything from linens to pantry, and cleaning products.

If you’ve had enough of all the clutter and you simply want MORE SPACE in your home, fret not! You’ve come to the right place. After many discussions with professional organizers, we’ve made a comprehensive list of mistakes you need to avoid if you want to make the most out of your space. Let’s see!

small space
Photo by Ground Picture from Shutterstock

You’re not realistic when it comes to the size of your home

It’s very important to understand that smaller spaces don’t have any kind of limitations. For example, a studio apartment will automatically have less storage space than a three-bedroom house. Probably the biggest mistake could be that you have too much stuff. When it comes to space, you have to be as realistic as you can.

This doesn’t mean that your space is way too small or that you need extra bins. The best solution for this kind of situation is to live according to how much room space you have on your hand. So even if you might be tempted to get those fabulous boots that you’ve waited for so long, you have to consider getting rid of something else first.

You’re not taking advantage of vertical space

Do you have a hard time finding enough room for everything? Well, you could always start thinking vertically. There’s enough usable room on the back of the doors, behind a toilet, or even on an empty wall in your bedroom. If you have a storage problem, try getting more creative and imagine all kinds of shelves and storage items in places you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.

When it comes to implementing vertical storage, there are many ways to do so. You could get a tall bookcase for books, games, and a dining hutch for extra kitchen storage. Use literally ALL THE SPACE by adding a couple of hooks such as Command Hooks, for additional hanging space and utilizing the back of doors with accessory organizers.

You’re not decluttering as much as you should

When it comes to small spaces, decluttering very often is just something you need to take into consideration. Why is that? Well, a smaller space won’t allow you the luxury of letting things pile up, or stashing items in your closet if it’s already too cramped.

This doesn’t mean that you have to thoroughly clean and declutter everything on a daily basis. A little this, a little that can take you very far away, especially when it comes to wasting an entire weekend organizing your things.

This way, you will continue to have a functional and efficient space. If you can’t find the time to do this daily, at least make sure you schedule a monthly decluttering session in every room.

small space
Photo by PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek from Shutterstock

You’re not as creative with your storage as you could be

Have a look at all the items that you really want to display in your space. Do they make you happy? Are they really that useful? After answering these two questions, consider picking and deciding on a couple of items that you want to keep closer and out in the space.

Then, get as creative as you can with the storage. Ideally, you would store the things where you need them, but that’s not really possible in smaller spaces. Even if your towels would generally stay in the bathroom, having your sheets and towels under the bed, or organized in the coat closet isn’t all that bad! If you know where you can find everything, it’s organized, and neat, then that’s great.

You buy stuff before measuring your space

I know it must be awfully tempting to buy tons of clear organizers, wicker baskets, and anything else that might look appealing. However, before you add to the cart, make sure you measure the space you’ve got and come up with an organizing plan. Why is that? Well, when it comes to smaller spaces, organizing all the products, like bins, baskets, and drawer dividers is highly important.

You need to make sure that they will fit perfectly, which is why you have to measure every inch before buying anything. There are a ton of products that you can choose from, and it can get a bit overwhelming to figure out exactly what you need to buy. Measuring is probably the most important step, especially if you’re dealing with tight dimensions.

You bought TOO MANY organizing products

On the same note, it’s super easy to buy a ton of organizing products, and you SHOULDN’T fall into that trap. Before investing in new bins or baskets, you could assess a couple of things first. First, do you have enough room for all the new bins and baskets? Also, which storage spaces do you want to fill?

You have to remember that working with a small space implies organizing everything in a different manner than you would do with a bigger space. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to be considerate about it. As long as you plan accordingly, great things can come out!

small space
Photo by mady70 from Shutterstock

You’re over-buying in bulk

Buying in bulk is a wonderful way to save more money, but it’s not always such a good idea for those who lack storage space. When you live in a smaller place, you are forced to make a couple of hard decisions about what you can and cannot buy, especially if we’re talking about buying in bulk.

So many people out there have an NYC-based kitchen (which is small in most cases), but they still buy in bulk as if they’d have a suburban pantry. The whole point is to be a little bit selective. For instance, you will definitely use the giant case of toilet paper you bought, but it’s not that wise to buy a 6-pack of mayonnaise, especially if you don’t have a place to store it.

A quick fix for this issue is to consider what’s in store for next-day delivery, so you won’t have to wait longer if you run out. But buying in bulk? I think that would be too much of a hassle for you AND your space.

You overstuff your shelves

No storage rule will ever tell you that every square inch of shelf has to be crammed with stuff. As a matter of fact, there’s a rapid way to lose track of all the things you’ve got and create horrible, unwanted clutter. Instead, you could always alternate vertical and horizontal elements.

If a portion of a shelf has plenty of books or containers, just give the other side a visual pause with a photo or any other collectible. Also, consider using mobile storage. This way, when you’ll host new guests, you will be able to move out of the way everything that you don’t need that evening.

If you were looking forward to reading this article, then we have something else that you might like: Dining Room 101: How to Decor It Like a Pro (10 Tips)

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