When I moved from a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house to a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, I learned how to utilize every square inch of space in the new tiny space. If you're in a similar situation, here's are some of the ideas that I used.
As one of the most used rooms in the house, the kitchen requires a lot of organization. My aforementioned bigger house had more cabinets than I could use, but going to a house with a galley kitchen meant scaling back on the kitchen devices and using some creative ideas to store the things I wanted to keep.
1. Use the inside of cabinet doors to make space for bigger items.
I went to an office supply store and purchased two wire magazine storage racks—the kind that will stand on their own and are slanted to allow easy access. However, I attached them to the inside of the cabinet doors. One I used to store plastic wrap, wax paper, and aluminum foil—the boxes fit right in the racks. The other one was for the lids of all my plastic containers. It works like a charm and leaves plenty of room inside the cabinet for bigger items. The best part is that the items I am always searching for are right at hand without digging into a heap or boxes or plastic lids.
2. Repurpose office supplies.
While I was at the office supply store, I also purchased a wire file sorter. It fits into a bottom cabinet and I use it to store my cookie sheets and cake pans. The file sorter makes it much easier to get the pan I want without having to remove an entire stack.
3. Get cleaning products up in the air.
I didn’t have much room under the sink either, so I purchased a thin tension rod and mounted it under the sink. Then I was able to hang all my cleaning sprays on the rod, which left room for bulkier items underneath.
The new bathroom I moved into is much smaller than my older one. There's not much vanity space and barely any countertop space. This proved a challenge.
4. Hang jars for small items.
To store things I use the most, I found a nice looking wood board, attached shiny hose clamps to it, and then found some decorative jars that fit in the clamps. I then mounted the whole thing to the wall to store cotton swabs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, and a multitude of other everyday items. For storing really small things like bobby pins, I use some dollar store votive candle holders. They don’t take up much space and add a little pizazz to the tiny room.
5. Use baskets or coat racks for towels.
I also built a storage unit above the toilet. I used some flea market baskets and hung them on the wall above the toilet. I then rolled bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths and stored them inside the baskets.
To hang wet towels (because there was only one scrawny hook in there which I used for my robe) I attached a wooden coat rack to the back of the door. I don’t like over-the-door hangers, so the coat rack was my next best option. To make things better, the towels are out of sight when guests were over, at least until they close the door to use the room.
Under-the-bed storage is nice, but the only things I kept in those bins were off-season clothing and shoes. With the downsizing, the tricky part was going from a walk-in closet to a tiny single closet. But never fear—there are solutions.
6. Double up on hanger space.
The first thing I did was remove the one rod in the closet. I wanted two levels of hanging space, so the next step was to install a dual-layer rod. However, I also needed some space for the longer hanging clothes. The solution: hang the two-rod system from the ceiling of the closet and another rod for the longer clothes.
7. Treat scarves like clothing.
I have a ton of scarves, so to solve that dilemma I found a wooden hanger and hung shower curtain hooks on it. I then was able to slide my scarves into the loop of the curtain hook. Now the scarves only take up one hanger space and not an entire side of my dresser drawer.
8. Recycle cardboard.
One thing I cannot stand is a bunch of cords hanging all over the place. I did opt for a laptop instead of a desk top just to stop that madness, but I still have a printer and cell phone and a variety of other corded items that needed to be organized. My solution was to tie up all those loose ends by stuffing the excess cord into a toilet paper tube. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then invest in a roll of Velcro and use that to keep the cords tidy.
9. Label cords.
Besides all the cords hanging around, I also found it hard to figure out which cord went with which appliance. I found an easy way to keep track: on the end of each cord I attached a file folder label with the appliance it belongs to written on the label. That way, I didn’t try to charge my camcorder with my phone cord.
Sandy has a lot of home improvement background. She worked for a big box home improvement company for 12 years and wrote home improvement articles for the community newspaper for 2 years. From organic ways to keep deer out of the garden, to explaining how to winterize your house, Sandy can help you with all things DIY!
H.R. Helm is an accomplished DIY craftsman. He has been DIY since childhood and is now a septuagenarian. He is experienced in wood and metal construction, having designed and built several houses and metal buildings. He built every permanent building on his current homestead and did all the plumbing and electrical work.
He has several years experience as a professional cabinet builder, and he is an accomplished auto repairman, having operated an auto repair business for many years. He currently has a home shop where he sharpens and rebuilds saws, repairs lawn mowers, mobility scooters, hydraulic jacks, and anything else that comes along. He also builds custom tools for metal working.
Invention prototypes are another of his many accomplishments. He owned and operated a manufacturing business building Compact Utility Vehicles for homeowner use. H.R. enjoys making jams and jellies during fruit season along with cooking meals. He is committed to outdoor cooking in a Bar-B-Q pit he welded together several years ago. He maintains fruit and nut trees along with helping his wife with a vegetable garden. He farmed commercial garden produce for several years. It helps to have over 50 years of farming and ranching experience.
ASE Certified Master Auto Technician
Cross country truck driver -- over dimensional freight
Design Engineer/Project Manager for injection molded plastic company
Bus Driver/Substitute Teacher
Inventor with two patents (weight training &ndash; anti-rollback for manual wheelchair)
BS in Industrial Technology