You look around and feel like your home is bursting at the seams. Whether it's an apartment, a condo, or a house, you see clutter all over and know that you're running out of space—but you are not quite ready to make the move to someplace bigger.
No worries: There's no better time than the present to start anew and make the most out of the space you have—without shelling out big bucks for a serious renovation. With a little planning and some creative storage solutions, your home may turn out to have more space than you think.
First, start with the purge. Kitchen appliances and gadgets you haven't touched in a year? Put them in storage. Clothes that don't fit? Pack them up for goodwill. All of the junk mail, catalogs and unread magazines lying all over your home? Fill up the recycle bin. Now that you've gotten rid of a little bit of that clutter, it's time to make the most of the space that you've freed up.
1. Find a "nook"—then use it.
Do you have an unused alcove by your front door? Or a corner recess in a hallway that's collecting dust? Put it to good use by setting up some prefabricated bookshelves. You can even buy the components for a home office space that hangs from the wall. Small touches like these can move items—books, laptops, printer, CDs—out of your main living space and tuck them away to make your room less cluttered. These also tend to be smaller projects that you can do yourself, so you don't have to pay a professional. (Of course, if you live in rental space, you should check with your landlord before drilling holes in the wall.)
2. Look for furniture that does double-duty.
Don't overlook furniture that can double as a creative storage solution. Some ottomans, for example, can hold blankets, magazines, and even a toy or two. Consider a coffee table that doubles as a trunk, or a nightstand with multiple drawers. A kitchen island on wheels can store what your cabinets no longer will, and can also act as a bar cart when needed.
3. Think up, not out.
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that you need to invest in more spacious cabinets or new storage units, take a good look above eye level—vertical space is precious and often-overlooked real estate. Store infrequently used kitchen items on top of your kitchen cabinets—or consider installing small shelves high up in the living room for books, small speakers and other items that can stay out of reach.
4. Use the space under your bed.
Covered plastic bins are an inexpensive storage solution to make the most of the space under your bed. Look for containers that roll in and out on wheels, making access easier.
5. Overhaul your closet.
No need for costly renovations to make space in your closet. Many of the aforementioned solutions can also be used to great effect for storing clothes, like higher shelves and plastic bins. Don't have a lot of closet space? Use the door to hang a shoe rack, which can double as an organizer for jewelry, scarves, and other small accessories.