Living in a small space? Does it feel like you can’t escape the clutter? Yeah, same. Living in small spaces can be great! Less to clean, more intimate, lower utility costs, etc. But with these benefits, come some serious cons as it can be a challenge to not feel completely taken over by the things in your home.
I’ve been there and am sharing all of the hacks that I’ve learned that have given me back my sanity while living in small spaces.
We have sold our home and are not immediately going into buying another home. So, in the meantime, for a few months, my family of 4 are staying in a two bedroom apartment. Luckily having two young boys makes it easy for them to share a space for this brief period in our lives, but being in such a smaller space compared to the home we just sold has gotten my creative juices flowing on all of the ways to live in smaller spaces.
These hacks were the biggest difference maker for enjoying time in a smaller space. You might even say that it made my space feel even larger. 😜
Let me know some tips and tricks you might have for living in small spaces in the comments below!
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Hack #1: Buy the right sized furniture
I actually learned this lesson when I got my first apartment at 19! I was so excited to have my own place and really wanted a sectional. Did I consider the size I would need for my space? No. Did I measure anything? Of course not. I just went to the furniture store and bought whatever looked good to me. I’ll never forget the day they showed up to deliver the sectional and it wouldn’t fit in my tiny living room. So much so that I had to put part of it in storage 🤣😭. Of course, this is the moment in time that I learned all about measuring for spaces lol. Seems obvious now, but hey, I was a silly kid. It is moments like these in life that teach us.
When buying furniture, always measure your space and only buy what is absolutely needed for that space. You may want more, but I promise, the “less is more” mentality here will be essential to not feeling crammed in a tight space. And trust me when I tell you to ALWAYS MEASURE! The sectional I bought didn’t look near as big as it turned out to be, while sitting in the middle of a giant show room floor.
Hack #2: There’s a place for everything & everything has it’s place
“Say it louder for the people in the back!” I can’t shout this hack loud enough. Organization is so important, and even more so in smaller spaces. Having a place to put everything at the end of the day will seriously help you keep your sanity. When you’re not organized in a small space, it always feels like there’s nowhere to put stuff when you’re cleaning up. This also helps keep things from piling up on counter tops, or hanging over chairs, etc.
Take some time, pour a glass of wine, and go to town on your cabinets and drawers, dressers and closets. Organize like you’ve never organized before. And don’t just shove stuff anywhere. Really take the time to have a strategy for where things will go at the end of the day. This will help you tremendously. If things have a home, you’re more likely to put them there. This is also a great tip for kids. Toys should have places to go so that when it’s time to clean up, it’s simple and clear.
Hack #3: Purge regularly
This hack can be combined with Hack #2 on your “drink wine & go to town” day. Purging things that you no longer need can be almost as refreshing as a vacation! Hey, I said almost. 😜 Go through each cabinet, draw, closet, bin, under the bed, and anywhere things can end up and make the decision of keep or donate. If it no longer brings you joy or is something that you use, get it gone. This will clear up space and clutter in your home quicker than you think.
I would advise doing this at least every 3 months. You’ll be surprised just how quickly you accumulate things. Also, doing this regularly makes it less of a chore than when it’s done annually.
Hack #4: Clean a little EVERY DAY
Yes, every day. I don’t mean deep clean here. You can save those for weekly, or bi-weekly or monthly (depending on your cleaning schedule), but cleaning up a little every day can help your small space feel clear and open.
I have noticed, living in a smaller space again, that it can feel messy very quickly. I find myself straightening far more often than when we lived in our old house. I have found that straightening our little space every night as part of my ‘bedtime routine’ has helped me wake fresh and ready for the next day knowing I don’t have to start with a big cleaning job from days of neglect. (Don’t worry, that still happens occasionally because, let’s face it, we’re all human)
Hack #5: Think outside the box
Sometimes in life we have to get creative to get what we want. Sometimes we have to apply this creativity to our living situations. When moving into this smaller space, we made a couple of furniture decisions to help maximize our space tremendously.
For example, I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old boy. Both are sharing a room currently. We also don’t have any type of playroom. So, we wanted to maximize the space in their room as much as possible so they could have efficient play space while having all of the furniture they needed. The best decision we made was buying a trundle bed. You can see the one we have here. It does appear to be sold out at the moment, but you can see similar ones below the image on the site! It’s a full size bed with a twin size trundle under it (see pictures below). So we have two beds, but it only takes the space of one, leaving the kiddos ample play space during the day! This will also be repurposed in the future and will be perfect for my oldest child’s room when we move for when friends come to stay!
Pro-tip: If you are living in a temporary small space (maybe building a home, waiting to buy, etc.) and you need furniture that you don’t already have to fill the temp space, either buy something you’ll use in a new place, or buy really cheap so when you move, it wont break the bank or your heart if you have to resell or donate it.
Another space saving purchase we made was a shoe cabinet to use instead of a night stand. If you’re anything like me (or my husband) you have a lot of shoes and they can be tricky to store in small spaces. This shoe storage cabinet holds about 12-16 pairs of shoes and was the perfect height to double as a nightstand. One on each side of our bed. Are they the most beautiful night stands in the world?….No, but, they get the job done and save us a ton of space in the closet for other things.
When thinking of a solution, try and consider ways you can incorporate storage. Ottomans, benches, end tables, coffee tables, storage beds etc. all can work well to help maximize small spaces.
Here are a couple of examples of furniture with storage:
Hack #6: Essentials only, please
This is a great tip to keep in mind when living in smaller spaces. Of course, easier said than done and is probably a tip better for those who might only be living in smaller spaces temporarily.
Making sure you don’t over crowd your storage and space with things you might not need for the time being can really help save your sanity. For example, I miss all of my Luminara candles and various decor items, but since our space is limited, and we’re here in this apartment temporarily, it made more sense to not “over stuff” the apartment, and to leave those items safely tucked away in storage, until we find them their forever space.
So, when planning a stay in a smaller space, really consider what is necessary and what can be lived without for that period of time.
Hack #7: Don’t be afraid of storage
Storage sounds unappealing, trust me, paying to store items is not my favorite thing to do. However, if utilized correctly can be very valuable. If you’re in a smaller space that does not have storage, consider renting a storage space nearby to keep all of those non-essentials we talked about in Hack #6. This of course would go for holiday decor, home decor, furniture for the future, extra clothing, toys (this is great if you do a toy rotation with your kids).
However, the cost of storage can be expensive, so consider the amount of time you’ll need it for and the value of the items you’re storing. Calculate if it may be worth it to sell the items you might not be able to use for the foreseeable future, and re-buy them with the money saved by not paying for a storage unit.
Hack #8: Seasonal swap
This hack can kind of go hand and hand with Hack#7 but I felt it deserved its own hack number simply because of how beneficial it is to do this. Every season (really every spring and fall), I rotate the clothes in my closet to match the upcoming season. Every girl’s dream is to have a huge walk-in closet with ample space for every piece of clothing, accessories, and shoes their heart desires…but let’s face it, this is real life and we’re not all that lucky 😅 If you’re like me and you have to really maximize your closet space (or have a husband that has possibly more clothes than you), then this is a vital hack for saving space in your closet.
In the spring, I will bring out my spring/summer clothes and pack up my fall/winter clothes. Then in the fall, I will pack up my spring/summer clothes, and put out my fall/winter clothes.
ProTip: When storing clothes for a period of time, include a couple of dryer sheets throughout the storage container to keep them fresh!
I hope you really enjoyed some of this hacks for living in small spaces. Thanks for reading! Please comment below, and let me know if you liked these hacks and some of your small space living tips and tricks.
Lady Life Hack