7 Organizational Hacks for Small Spaces

Organizing and decluttering is hard, especially when you don’t have much room to begin with. Stay neat and tidy with these organizational hacks for even the tightest of spaces.

It’s almost scary how clutter creeps up no matter how organized you feel, or how big your home is. Once you get comfortable in a space, it’s easy to start making little piles that only tend to get bigger. When you’re in a rush, you toss things into the pantry or cabinet to worry about later, which never happens.

Clutter is often the direct result of not knowing how to store things the right way. Anything simply left out becomes clutter by default. Then, it just sits. This isn’t as big a deal if you’ve got plenty of space, but if you don’t, a lack of organization quickly becomes a problem.

Figuring out how to keep your home clutter-free, even in a small space, isn’t always easy, but these organizational hacks can help.

1. Compile and condense

Organizational hacks - 1 - compile and condense

“With a bit of creativity and organization, even the tiniest rooms can be neat and tidy,” according to Wayfair. This especially rings true when it comes to the kitchen and countertops.

It’s natural to want to keep certain items close-at-hand when cooking, but with limited counter space, and lots of cooking utensils and small appliances, surface area is at a premium. Piling it all onto the counter makes it hard to locate the specific item you need while in the middle of preparing a meal. It’s best to organize.

Using decorative canisters or containers can give the countertop clutter a cleaner look, and free up space. Combine all your cooking utensils into a single container that you can push back into a corner. Leave out a decorative bowl to hold grab-and-go food like fruit. Consider getting a bread box to keep things even more sorted.

If you have a spare cabinet in your kitchen, use it to store small appliances you’d normally keep out on your counter, but don’t use every day. Things like the toaster oven, a coffee bean grinder, or even the blender don’t have to sit out on the counter. It only takes seconds to bring them out when you need them, and keeping them all together means you’ll always know where they’re hiding.

2. Organize your drawers

Organizational hacks - 2 - organize drawers

Every little spot in your existing storage space is usable with the right organizers. I’m talking about your drawers. To optimize these spots in your kitchen and bathroom, use silverware organizers. They transform a single drawer in the kitchen into a storage spot for spoons, knives, forks, and serving pieces. In the bathroom, they’ll keep your brushes, hair bands, barrettes, and more all from mixing up together in an unruly pile.

Small tension rods can also do wonders compartmentalizing a drawer for better organization. Create rows to make spice storage easier or use them to separate your toothbrush, flossers and toothpaste.

3. Make furniture do double duty

Organizational hacks - 3 - Make furniture do double duty

Finding comfortable, cozy furniture can pose its own challenge. But when you have a small space, the bulkier your couch or other living room furniture is, the more area you sacrifice. Get the best of both worlds with furniture that has built-in storage.

An ottoman is the perfect example of a single furniture piece with multiple functions. You can use it as a footrest placed in front of your comfy chair or couch. You can add a decorative tray to the top, transforming your ottoman into another “table,” perfect for munchies in front of the TV. One of the best organizational hacks is using a storage ottoman. You can flip it open and toss in whatever is cluttering up your living room. This means organizing books, board games, blankets, or even parts of your gaming console. It removes clutter without adding an additional storage piece to the room.

Beds can work for you in this way too, if they come with built-in storage. In fact, a bed takes up so much room that having it double as a storage unit can do wonders when it comes to staying organized.

4. Hide the clutter

Organizational hacks - 4 - hide the clutter

While we’re talking about furniture, making space-saving choices as you buy new pieces can help a lot when your rooms are small. They also allow you to keep things put together without adding a huge footprint to your space.

Fold-up desks not only install into the wall, but contain all your at-home office supplies in a space you can close up when you need a little more room. They let you stay organized when working from home without having to permanently convert coveted space into an office.

5. Hang it up

Organizational hacks - 5 - hang it up

When you have a small space, the floor fills up fast. You’ve got to put your furniture down and have enough area to walk around. You can’t put everything on the floor. So, utilize your walls. Shelving today doesn’t have to stick out too far. It can have a minimalist feel, while still being functional.

Make sure to think about what you want to put on your shelves before you pick them out. If trying to find a place for books, choose a shelf sturdy enough to support extra weight. If looking to add some storage to your bathroom, consider a glass shelf to match the aesthetic. You can even replace that plain mirror over the sink with a mirror/medicine cabinet combo.

6. Go vertical

Organizational hacks - 6 go vertical

Thinking vertically leads to a number of great organizational hacks and storage ideas. Yes, it’s nice to reach everything while still standing on two feet, but that leaves unused space above your head. Step stools are compact and easy to store. They’re well worth using if it gets clutter arranged and off the floor.

In a small space, getting extra-tall shelves or a free-standing closet that reaches a little above average height can help solve the problem of, “where does all this stuff go?” A standard linen tower, for example, can hold all your towels, but with a little extra height it can also store your sheets. Putting in an over-the-toilet piece also lets you organize up. It means more storage in a spot you didn’t even think of using. And, more storage means better organized.

You can also add a free-standing shelving unit to the kitchen. Use the bottom half to store cookbooks and placemats. Keep the top spots free for platters and trays you only use for entertaining.

Putting the items you don’t use often on the tippy top of these tall storage pieces means you won’t even need to use that step stool too often.

7. Zip and store

Organizational hacks - 7 - zip and store

Using the closet as a catch-all is a frequent side effect of dealing with putting a smaller space together. It’s easy to dump everything into the closet, close the door, and forget about it. You’re then left with a disorganized mess where you can’t find anything you need.

Give your closet a break, and keep it coordinated, even in a small space. Purchase storage containers that fit under furniture. They zip up and are often made of a hardy fabric to protect whatever you store in them. They slide under the bed, but may also fit under dressers. You can even stack them on the high shelves in your closet.

Use them to store whatever you don’t need right now. They can hold craft supplies that only come out on special occasions. They can hold an entire season’s worth of clothing, so you only have out what you’re wearing now. With a variety of sizes and shapes, you’ll find these shallow storage containers really make a difference when you need to keep a small space organized.

Organizational hacks no matter the home size

Whether you live in a large home or have just enough space, keeping things situated right helps in so many ways. Not only is it easier to find things, but it means your house looks neat and tidy all the time. This comes in handy when you decide it’s time to sell.

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Kyle Spearin

Kyle is Sundae's Real Estate Editor. As both an investor and content marketing professional, Kyle combines his passion for real estate investing and educational background with his love of helping others. His experience with real estate tech companies, including contributing to BiggerPockets Pro, gives him insight into markets across the United States.