Sort and deal
When you live in limited space (most of us do — no matter what the square footage!) you need to control the items in your life. That means dealing with your worldly inventory on a regular basis. Remember the truism that the more room you have, the more stuff you’ll find to fill it with? Those of you with small apartments can congratulate yourself on your space-imposed minimalism, but keeping your apartment decluttered means a regular process of purging. The cleaning and organizational site Flylady.net recommends a daily 15-minute regimen to make sure everything from mail to clothing gets sorted and put away before it becomes unmanageable.
Stow it away
In small spaces, storage is at a premium and that means ingenuity, or plain old double-duty is required. Look for pieces that contain their own storage. Consider chests for coffee tables, benches with under-seat space, or a kitchen table with folding leaves that can stand in as food-prep island. Hanging a decorative cloth over tables creates a hidden alcove for baskets and bins. And don’t forget thin storage boxes for under the bed.
Any kind of folding furniture is a great option for small spaces, from a desk with a hinged work surface to folding chairs for extra company.
Look up! Wall-mounted shelves, hanging pot racks and baskets, and the space above your kitchen cabinets can all be used as storage that is decorative as well. You might also have bicycles or other gear that can’t fit on the floor. Mount it on the wall and you’ve got conversation pieces as well! The back of every door and cabinet can also offer organizing opportunities, from rack space to hanging pocket storage. Drawer organizers in the kitchen, bathroom and office will help keep clutter off of surfaces and work areas. And don’t forget a hook for your keys, so you’ll always know where they are.
Extra shelves wherever you can put them — in kitchen cabinets, closets or linen cupboards, will make it easier to store everything away and keep it organized.
Get organized — and stay there
Now that you’ve found a place for everything, you need to remember to put it all back where it belongs. What system works best for you? There is really no substitute for putting things away as soon as you’re ready to put them down, but since we’re all usually too tired or distracted for that, taking a brief, daily run through your rooms and stowing everything where it belongs should suffice.
What about organizing tips for the new stuff that comes into your apartment everyday? Usually, paper is the problem. One option is to sort through mail as soon as you get home, filing away bills, bank statements and other keepers in a collapsible file box you keep near the door or wherever your sorting spot is. One of your folders will be for payables that you go though on an allotted day of the week.
Remember, in a small apartment, you don’t have the luxury of letting things pile up. Regularly sort through your stuff to get rid of the excess, create adequate storage for the things you need and make sure it all gets put away regularly. With a little daily effort, you’ll think you gained some square footage, without getting a raise in rent!
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