When I moved across the country with my two toddlers, I downsized from a tri-level house with a garage, basement with an addition and a half acre of land to an apartment. Which had none of those things. And let me tell you, I had my eyes on alllll the best products for organizing small spaces.
If you search for those things now, you will definitely fall into like 1,402 rabbit holes of all the crazy and genius products that are out there. I know, because that’s what happened to me. But today I’m just going to focus on the best products I’m actually using. We have made our apartment work really well for our family of 4, even with NO extra storage or land.
Related: Want another way to make your home reflect YOU–for insanely cheap prices? Check out my printable wall art on Etsy in the Black Door Shop. You can even get 20% off your order with the code 20OFF. 🙂
Organizational Items for Small Spaces
Magnetic Knife Block
When you’re organizing small spaces, the most important tip is to actually utilize the space you have available. These magnetic knife holders are a perfect example.
I had actually gotten rid of our wooden knife block long before I bought this magnetic strip. The biggest thing we lost in our move was counter space. You can see pictures of our old kitchen here.
I definitely don’t recommend anyone to put their sharp knives laying in a drawer… that’s just an accident waiting to happen, especially if you have kids. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using these magnetic strips until the end of time.
This is the exact set I bought. It seemed like the best deal for a set of two, but you’ll have to look around Amazon to find more choices.
Plastic Drawer Bins
Honestly, bins and baskets just bring me joy. It’s a strange obsession.
For your fridge, kitchen drawers, and bathroom drawers, I recommend using bins that do not have angled sides. The angles take up extra room that kind of defeats the purpose of organizing your extra small spaces.
I especially love bins like these because they are shallow, easy to clean, and not angled. I do use these Sterilite baskets or similar kinds for other things, but not for the kitchen or bathroom. You want to be able to wash anything in those rooms easily, and to take up as little space as possible.
Note: When it comes to organization, I have discovered that it’s not one-size-fits-all. Organization that works for you might not work for other people, and that’s totally fine.
That’s why some of you probably cried when you saw the picture above. That picture is probably not going to viral on Pinterest, but it does create functional, easy organization in my home. THAT’S what I really care about.
Under Cabinet Organizer
These standing shelves are probably the most basic idea, but they are a perfect example of utilizing every inch of space you have. I like to have some extras on hand for any time I reorganize cabinets.
I see this kind online a lot, but you have to know that they’re pretty flimsy. These are much better quality. They are sturdier, and the gaps are much smaller so I’m less limited by what I put on top. I also think these hanging bins are great to utilize the height in your cabinets, too.
Side note: Not all organization items are created equal. There are some that I just friggin hate.
This is one of them; stackable drawers. That specific one is terribly designed, ugly, and would take up way too much of your cabinet! Organizing small spaces also means you need to realistically set things up for success.
And those drawer things are not effective for me. I’m in such a rush when I’m using my bathroom stuff becuase my kids are almost always whining outside the door. I need to be able to put things away in one swift movement or I just won’t put them away at all.
Paper Towel Holder
I admit–this is not a very exciting or pretty product. BUT, it’s definitely important to maximize and organize small spaces.
That’s why I got rid of the standing PT holder I had and bought this one.
But here’s a quick tip about where to install that one. At first, I thought I would put it on the inside of a cabinet door. But I realized a few problems with that location. If you are renting like I am, you probably can’t drill into your cabinet doors.
And if you have young kids, you probably have a lot of your cabinet doors baby proofed. You also probably have a lot of situations where a kid (or two, or three…) are crying and holding onto your knees while you’re touching raw chicken. Sooooo, in those situations, you have to put the chicken down, get to the sink, wash your hands…. AND THEN UNLOCK A BABY PROOF CABINET JUST TO DRY YOUR HANDS WHILE YOUR CHILD IS SCREAMING AND CLINGING TO YOUR LEGS?!
Awww heck no girlfriend.
…All of that to say, think about the location of your paper towel holder. It might be better to put your paper towel holder on the wall near your sink.
Broom and Mop Holder
Another thing we lost in the move was a full-size cabinet, which I had used for our brooms and cleaning supplies. Thankfully, I had a few handy corners in our apartment to hang our mops and brooms so they aren’t just sitting all over the place.
I bought this mop and broom holder. It works very well, but I can’t say I’m completely over the moon about it. My supplies are a little bit squished in there, and it doesn’t have the fanciest look. If I had to choose again, I would try these separate wall mounters or maybe this one. The only negative of having separate ones is that you have to install each of them, instead of just doing the whole thing once.
Ohhhhhh, guys. I could go on and on about command hooks. As I said in my curtain tieback post, I am not sponsored in any way by Command, BUT I SHOULD BE. Because these little sticky things might just be my best friends. I felt this way when we owned our house, and now that we’re back to renting, my bond with Command is even stronger.
The best part is that there are 14,000 different kinds so you can use them for SO MANY THINGS. Here are some examples.
The big hooks go in our closets to hold our jackets and bags, on the side of cabinets to hold plastic bags, and on doors for big towels.
I use the velcro-y kind to hang heavy pictures, canvases, our full-length mirror, and this chalkboard.
For smaller picture frames or posters or anything lighter, I use the poster strips.
There is no shortage of ways Command hooks & strips can be used. If you’re renting, I would just buy them by the dang bucket.
The Best Storage Solutions for Small Spaces
I might be about to save you a crap ton of time, because I legitimately spent HOURS looking for our storage ottoman. That’s partly because I had something really specific in mind, and partly because I have a sick obsession with researching products.
But I finally chose this ottoman from Target. It’s the right size and color for my living room, and I love the tufts. And after having it for a few months I absolutely recommend it.
If you have room for an ottoman, I really think it’s an awesome way to hide storage. My kids use it every single day, for most of the day. And when it’s time to clean up, they just throw all their toys back inside. It is the perfect blend of function, organization, and design for our family.
Okay, I might be cheating with this one a little bit. Because this is not something you can buy, and I’m not even ready to teach you how to make it yet! My baaad.
Reason #2 that this is not the best category–I don’t have any pictures yet. I hope you can forgive me.
But I had to include it in this list anyway. It might not be everyone’s style (my husband had his doubts), but I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED with it.
Plus, it’s a perfect way to keep books, picture frames, and a few baskets of the random crap all together. The bottom two shelves are perfect for my kids, and the top ones are perfect for our things.
Basically, it’s like this one, except I am not nearly sophisticated enough to put live flowers and wine on mine.
So in our living room, the ottoman and the storage ladder are all we use for storage, and it gives us plenty of space. My goal for you when you read this blog is to help you find solutions like this one for your home and your family. You should love to look at the things in your home, and you should be able to live in it peacefully.
Now, this is a pretty big version of storage space, so make sure you have a place to put this. But we had a wall and an open spot right beside our kitchen, so I used that space to make more storage.
This is the cabinet I chose… and it was worth every single penny. This is where I keep all of my pots and pans, my crockpot, AND our snacks.
I’ve actually been wanting to get a second one to put right beside it, but I can’t decide for sure.
Love Your Home
I’m not sure what your ideal living situation would be, but I want you to think about the home you have now. What do you love about it, and what do you hate? Is it as functional and beautiful as you want it to be?
If it isn’t–what specific areas do you struggle with? What changes can you make?