How to Organize a Home with Little Space

How to Organize a Home with Little Space

Living in a house with limited space can promote a more minimalist lifestyle but it can be hard to organize a small home effectively.  One of the best ways to thrive in a smaller-sized home is to establish a system to keep clutter and chaos from creeping in.

Here are six ideas to help you make the most of your existing space, despite having minimal square footage.

1. Be Deliberate and Discerning

2. Think Double Duty 

3. Hang It Up 

4. Go High and Low 

5. Hidden Storage is Your Friend 

6. Get Creative 

Every home has potential, regardless of its size, and having a function-first mentality goes a long way in making the most of a smaller home’s overall footprint.

Be Deliberate and Discerning

Your humble abode attracts clutter, just like any other home.  If you are tight on space, you need to adopt a discerning philosophy about what finds a home in your home.  So ask yourself:

  • Do I love this item or does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I truly need this item?
  • What purpose does this item serve?
  • Where will this item be stored in my home?
  • When was the last time I used (or wore) this item?
  • Would I miss this item if I no longer had it?
  • Is there another item I have that already fulfills the same or similar function?

Follow the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule, when it comes to purging and paring down your belongings. offers a great summary of the 80/20 rule as it pertains to home organization.

Also, be deliberate about future purchases and be mindful that whatever new thing you bring into your home. You need to know, ideally, where it will “live” before you buy it.  Figuring it out after the fact tends to lead to accumulated odds and ends you simply don’t have the space for.

A modest space to call home comes with organizational challenges. However, with some creative thinking, you can comfortably make your space work for you. 

Think Double Duty

Small home storage scarcity woes can be countered by thinking “double duty.”  This goes for any room in your house.  If you're short on storage space, get creative with pieces of furniture that can corral and contain, such as: 

  • Freestanding cabinets or full wall consoles can help storage overflow from teeny kitchens and can house pantry items , small appliances, dishes, entertainment/decor, or seasonal items.
  • Find coffee or end tables that have closed-door compartments or benches, trunks, and ottomans with lidded storage, all of which are perfect places to stash household items. They also provide additional places for you to sit.
  • Sleeper sofas or futons are great options to have on hand if you have overnight guests on occasion, while also providing additional places to sit.
  • If you are limited in an entry or foyer space or don’t have a coat closet, find a narrow hall tree with hooks and storage shelves to make entering and exiting far easier and tidier. 

Hang It Up

There are so many possibilities when you consider hanging things up rather than attempting to find a home for an item on a shelf, in a drawer, or within a bin/basket.   Utilizing an assortment of decorative hooks on walls in any room is a great way to stow hats, coats, bags, towels, jewelry, and many other miscellaneous items. Lush Home has compiled 33 decorative and functional ways to use hooks.

Hanging storage and pocket organizers, peg rails and multi-purpose racks also make sense for stashing smaller objects to free up necessary space for larger ones. Use the ceiling or a vertically mounted pot rack and open up cabinet space for other kitchen necessities. 

Go High Or Low

Don’t underestimate the amount of storage space you can glean from investing in a few floor-to-ceiling wall units in places where you are able.  Capitalizing on wall space can add more than ample storage capacity to hold oodles of household items. Floating shelves, for example, are a terrific way to showcase favorite photographs, trinkets, and mementos.  Stagger them on a wall as a delightful design accent.

Under the bed storage is another great place to take advantage of.  If your bed sits a touch too low for the average under-the-bed storage options, consider using bed frame risers to maximize the square footage underneath. This eHow article sums up how using bed frame risers 3-8 inches can increase your storage by the equivalent of several cubic feet. 

Hidden Storage is Your Friend

There is a treasure trove of out of sight and hidden places in your home that are perfect spaces to stash and store. Oftentimes there is “hidden” space right out in the open. 

  • The tops of cabinets and the refrigerator are prime places to coordinate matching storage solutions and put things up and away.
  • Slim rollout carts can be used in narrow nooks and crannies. Bring one into the laundry room to stash supplies (detergent, fabric softener, etc).
  • Alcoves and landings are typically underutilized spaces where shelving and decorative storage can be placed. Don't think an alcove can transform into a makeshift office ? Think again!
  • Corners are another overlooked space as they are often viewed as design challenges.  However, you can find furniture, bookcases, and shelves specifically meant to nestle in the dead space that corners are known for. 

Get Creative

Think beyond the conventional when it comes to organizing small spaces.  Living in a small home is doable if you think big. There are a bunch of creative ways to make more with less:

  • Be sure to maximize every inch of space, especially in your closets. Along the walls, the floor, leave no stone unturned. There are also tons of accessories suitable for nearly every closet size and configuration. Optimal Garage and Closets Inc. dives further into this topic in 6 Steps for Organizing Your Custom Closets .
  • Vacuum sealed storage bags are great for underneath a bed or high up in a closet for seasonal storage.
  • Blanket or towel ladders take up minimum floor space and rise to the occasion for better use of vertical storage.
  • If you are super tight on space for stashing away linens and blankets, bring in a small storage bench and place it at the foot of your bed.  You get the bonus of having extra seating and storage in the process. 

Final Thoughts

A small house can hold way more than initially meets the eye.  Being a smaller space dweller doesn’t mean that minimal storage and organization need to be mutually exclusive.  By consolidating, coordinating, and creatively containing, you can absolutely find organization in your small home.