You might remember the age-old saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place,” and while the expression has become somewhat cliché, the sentiment is still valid. This is because excess clutter makes it difficult to find things, but if our things have specific places they go, and we’re diligent in putting our things away when we’ve finished using them, our spaces can stay organized and clutter-free, helping to create a safer, more tranquil environment inside our homes.
Organization is important in any home, but it’s vitally important in small homes, where space is limited. Fortunately, though, there are many products you can purchase to help you organize and make your home work for you, not against you.
Before you begin, it’s important to declutter your spaces. This can mean tossing out or donating items you no longer want or need. You could even host a sale, but the amount of money you make from selling your items may not be worth the time and effort it will take to organize a successful sale. You’ll have to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Once you’ve decluttered your spaces, you can begin to think about making new purchases.
Rule to remember: If you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s probably safe to toss it out or donate it to a friend or a charitable organization.
The home you buy may come with bathroom medicine cabinets, or you may instead have a mirror above your bathroom sink. If you have only a mirror, your storage options are more limited, increasing the likelihood of clutter. Removing the mirrors and upgrading to a medicine cabinet with shelving can give you needed space for items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other regularly used personal hygiene products. You can even purchase separate jars and containers to hold individual items within the medicine cabinet. A lot of what you’ll be storing in your medicine cabinet can cause damage if spilled, so as a precaution, install removable shelf-liners before you begin placing items into the cabinet.
Freestanding over the toilet organizers are common and easy to install, but in a small bathroom, even they can take up needed floor space. Consider instead mounting a well-designed wall cabinet to help keep your bathroom tidy. As with the medicine cabinet, install shelf-liners before placing items into the cabinet. In the event of a spill, you’ll be glad you did.
Along with a paper towel dispenser, consider a coordinating wall-mounted soap dispenser. These dispensers are available in several colors and styles, including infrared sensors for touchless operation and locking lids to prevent foreign contaminates. A wall-mounted soap dispenser reduces counter clutter, making it quick and easy to clean the countertops.
Shower caddy organizers are useful, but if they’re installed in the shower corner, they can increase the effort required to clean the shower and trap moisture in the corner, causing the growth of mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria. Mold and mildew create health hazards and unsightly stains and lead to the premature deterioration of the shower’s caulking.
Storing items under the bathroom sink is the most common, readily available location in many homes, but it’s not necessarily the best option. Depending on how your plumbing lines are installed, you’ll want to be careful to store items in a way that doesn’t put unnecessary pressure on the water lines, which could cause leaks.
As with other cabinets, line the bottom of your sink cabinet with removable shelf liner before placing items into the cabinet. Bathroom cleansers can be especially damaging to cabinetry. If it’s possible, create a separate cleaning cabinet somewhere else in the house, like a laundry room or garage, that’s out of the reach of small children and devoted entirely to housekeeping products like cleansers, rags, sponges, and other cleaning items. If you can, reserve the cabinet space under the sink for dry items like toilet paper and spare paper towels. You’ll need them readily accessible when it’s time to re-stock the paper products, and in the event of a water leak, the toilet paper and paper towels will help absorb water, too, further reducing the chance of damage to the cabinetry. If you have to store cleansers under the sink, consider keeping them inside a plastic tote with a lid.
If you search the internet for the term kitchen organization, the possibilities seem endless, and there are a lot of really excellent kitchen organization products on the market. From spice racks to cutlery, to coffee, to wine, there’s an organizer for just about everything. The key is to find the right combination of organizers for your specific needs and your particular kitchen. Depending on the organizers you choose, you may be able to install them yourself, or you may have to call your contractor.
Pro tip: The more items that can be installed on the ceiling and walls, like pans, paper towels, and cutlery, the more space you have on the counter and in the cabinets, making it easier to keep these areas clean and disinfected.
Kitchen appliances have come a long way over the years, and just like organizers, there seems to be an appliance for everything. If space is an issue, you’ll need to be especially mindful when choosing appliances. Look for appliances that perform multiple functions, like a stand mixer with attachments, a pressure cooker that crisps, bakes, broils, dehydrates, and makes yogurt all in the same machine, or even a washing machine that steams and dries.
Floating storage is another great option for organizing. These also come in a variety of choices, from tables and ironing boards to beds, desks, and entertainment centers. Their functional designs make them excellent additions to many spaces like kitchens, laundry rooms, and even bedrooms.
In the bedroom, a properly placed floating desk can double as a nightstand, workstation, or even a vanity for your beauty supplies when paired with a coordinating wall cabinet. And having them mounted on the wall frees up valuable floor space underneath for things like shoes or laundry baskets.
Living in a small space can be incredibly challenging, but with a bit of ingenuity, it is possible to have both a functional and beautiful living space that’s easy to care for and clutter-free. Remember, though, that having an organized home doesn’t mean things will be tidy all the time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if clutter starts to form again. Life happens, but having a designated place to put away your things will make it much easier when you have the time and energy to clean and organize.