Using floor-to-ceiling units is one way to maximize storage.

How to Hide Things Neatly in a Small Apartment

by Kris Gleba

People who support the social and architectural "Small House Movement" live in homes as small as 100 square feet. They know how to organize and make use of little to no storage. While your apartment may not be that small, piles of clutter can make any room seem minuscule and cramped. Take cues from those who endorse small space living by streamlining your belongings and investing in multiuse furnishings that offer double duty, such as replacing your coffee table with a trunk that can also store your guest linens. Strict adherence to the adage “a place for everything and everything in its place” also helps you to make big strides to hiding things neatly in your small apartment.

Maximize Concealed Storage

Take full advantage of cabinet and closet doors by carefully organizing as much stuff behind them as possible. Employ the storage potential of the doors themselves. Store cooking spices, paper clips and small crafting accessories in metal tins that stick to a sheet of metal screwed to the inside of the cabinet door. Outfit as many doors as possible with hanging organizers made of fabric or plastic. These organizers can hold more than just shoes. Use them in your child's room to hold toys, and in the bathroom to hold beauty supplies. Add shelves made of metal, plastic or bamboo to give extra storage to existing cabinet shelving. These shelves allow you to divide and safely stack more items such as dishes, towels or sweaters.

Maximize Open Storage

Shelving units made of lightweight medium-density fiberboard, commonly known as MDF may not offer the longevity and durability of wood, but they do offer extra storage and stacking space. Create a customized shelving floor-to-ceiling unit by stacking the open front and back units on top of each other horizontally, next to each other vertically or, if space allows, a combination of both. When stacking, be sure to bolt them to the wall securely. Use these in a playroom to store toys, either loose or in plastic bins, and in a casual living space for books and magazines. Store the latter in metal or plastic containers so that they do not slip and slide onto the floor.

Complementary Storage

Select storage that complements, but does not detract from your existing decor. Clear plastic bins are beneficial when used to hold extra batteries, but look mismatched when placed on shelves in the living areas. Choose bins of plastic in colors such as green or pink for children's rooms, but black for adult living spaces. Wicker bins add texture and complement country as well as shabby chic interiors. Hit flea markets and the antique shops to find metal bins once used in school lockers, or old leather or fabric suitcases. Store CDs and DVDs in the locker bins, and old tax returns plus other important paperwork in suitcases. Make or purchase decorative labels for each storage container.

Furniture as Storage

Furniture that doubles as storage is mandatory when you live in a small apartment. Outfit living spaces and bedrooms with ottomans and hassocks. Both provide seating without taking up valuable floor space as well as providing storage for items you do not always need, but are still useful, such as winter gloves, hats and scarves. Create a window seat, mudroom bench or a dining table bench with a horizontal MDF shelving unit. Cover with a cushion, or two, and outfit the open cubbies with decor-matching bins for more hidden storage.

About the Author

Lowell, Massachusetts-based writer Kris Gleba has been writing home decor articles since 2008. She enjoys all aspects of small home living, from complete gut remodels to ingenius home decorating that incorporates style and function. She has previously written for the “Athol Daily News.” She holds a degree in professional writing from Fitchburg State University.

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