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Living large in a small space

by Kristin Sullivan

We don’t always get to live in the space that we want. If you live in a large city, have a tight budget, or live alone — and almost all of us fit into at least one of those categories — chances are you have limited room in the place that you call home.

With that in mind, let’s consider how to break down your space to maximize its potential.

Carrie Delgado, the owner of Milwaukee Home Organizer believes that it is important to make the most out of the items we really enjoy. We should, she explains, surround ourselves with objects that bring us happiness while maintaining a functional environment.

“Each piece of furniture in a small space,” Delgado notes, “should provide not only appealing decor, but an opportunity to store items.”

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Space considerations: Solutions to common problem areas

LIVING SPACES
Adjust the area to suit your needs — and make the most of the space you have. “Shelving and desk space are essential in any room to create storage space,” Delgado says. “Look for ways you can add them to each room.”

Some popular options:

Add shelving all the way up the wall.

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Double the television stand as a shelf or desk.

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Use a shelf as a room divider.

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On the subject of room dividers: a small living room can also include a dining room or an office space if you find a way to break it up.

“Creating zones,” Delgado says, “in a room using creative dividers is also essential in a small apartment.”

KITCHEN
If your tiny apartment includes a tiny kitchen, Delgado recommends adding containers to maximize the available square footage.

“Use bins and baskets to categorize and contain items,” she says.“Take advantage of wall and floor space to add storage solutions.”

Bench seating at the table or drawer dividers for your utensils can also increase the space in an otherwise tight squeeze.

BATHROOM
You may need to get creative to create space in your bathroom — but it’s doable.

“Every inch of space must be creatively utilized,” Delgado says. “Shelves in tight spaces around the toilet work like a charm.”

Storage

Delgado advises going vertical on the vanity with multiple tiers of shelving, and placing narrow baskets or containers on the side of the bathtub.

Don’t overlook cabinets and doors — that vertical space can be valuable. “Take full advantage of cabinet and door space with pocket door hangers,” Delgado says.

There are some items in your bathroom that you won’t use daily. Delgado recommends storing those belongings above a door or window. If you add a shelf in those spaces, the items won’t take the much-needed space below.

CLOSET
The first trick to a clean closet: ultra-thin hangers. “They take up less space,” Delgado notes, “and are ideal for hanging any type of clothing.”

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Delgado suggests loading your closet with pocket door hangers, hooks, and rods. Canvas shelf hangers can be added to make room for folded items.

“Smaller section shelving can be added above top shelf and on end closet walls,” Delgado says. “Use baskets, canvas boxes, or plastic bags to contain off season items.”

OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT
Simply owning an item, doesn’t make it essential to your living space. However, there may be special objects you want to keep even though they don’t fit into your everyday life. That’s fine — as long as you find a way to fit these possessions into your own idea of how you want your living space to be.

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“Many people have more belongings than they have the space to store them,” Delgado says. “In order to reclaim your space and make smaller living workable, have a vision of how you want your space to look and function. Then ask yourself if each item adds to that vision or detracts from it.”

Delagado recommeds asking yourself these questions: when was the last time I used this? Do I use item regularly? Is it functional? Do I love it? Do I have the space to store it? Am I willing to give something up to make room for it?

Based on these answers, you may decide to invest in a storage rental.

“For items that you love and know you will use when you relocate to a larger home,” Delgado explains, “temporary storage facilities are an option. Evaluate the cost of outside storage with what it would cost to replace these items, and make decisions accordingly.”

Kristin Sullivan

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