Our apartment is small. There’s just no getting around it. Sometimes, it feels like we are living inside a dollhouse. Coming in at around 900 square feet, our apartment is not atrociously small. In fact, it’s a first world problem to even complain about that much space. But much of those 900 square feet is wasted in nonsensical things like a second bathroom and a patio that’s too small to use. Storage is a huge issue and we had to get creative.
So, how did we embrace the chaos of our small space? I took to the wonderful world of Pinterest and the carnival that is my mind and created an apartment we love.
We had to do a lot of improvisation. If our apartment was a jazz song, it would be seriously cool. These are what books we had left after we went through and purged the ones we didn’t need anyone. They are sitting on the ground under an end table that serves as our entertainment center. They look cute and our bookshelf went on to bigger and better things. You see, when you live in a small space it’s important to use every piece of furniture to the best of its ability.
I use baskets for everything. I use them to store blankets, toiletries, baby toys, tea bags. EVERYTHING. As you can see, I have more lotions here than any one girl needs, but they are stored on top of my toliet in a cute basket, so they are taking up space I wasn’t using anyway. Baskets help you contain items that might otherwise be strewn about. One thing you learn in a small apartment is that they are easy to clean and easy to get dirty. You can find cheap baskets at thrift stores, Michaels, TJ Maxx, Target and Ross.
If you’re not good at thinking outside the box, don’t worry. Just create a Pinterest account and let the magic begin. These Ikea spice racks hold all of the toiletries I use every day. It frees up drawers in my bathroom, keeps my counters from looking cluttered and gives me easy access to my things in the morning.I have a small basket (more baskets) sitting on my husbands bathroom counter to keep his things together. He doesn’t have enough for shelving units to be necessary. One day, we’ll paint them to make it a little more fun!
Living in a small apartment means using every inch of available space. I have DVDs under my couch, boxes slid under my dresser, and things on top of my fridge. If you have OCD like me, this can make you feel short of breath. Don’t worry. I never see any of the stuff hiding under random furniture. Out of sight, out of mind. For the things I do have to see, like on top of the fridge, I make sure they look presentable, almost like decorations more than extra storage. Plus I try to put out things that look pretty, but also need somewhere to go.
Our cabinets are so small that these pans would never have fit. Putting them under the stove turned out to be a nightmare. Putting them in the stove turned out to be dangerous. So, I had the idea of hanging the on the wall. They look good and they free up space in our kitchen. We use wall space a lot. This is very important when you’re in a small apartment. When it doubt, hang it on the wall. (Note: not recommended for socks and underwear.)
I like to cook and I like my food to taste like things. That combo means I have lots of spices. Being a fantastic 5’2, storing the spices above our stove made me feel like I was trying out for little league basketball every day. I often had to push spices out with the tips of my fingers and try to catch them with my very far from cat like reflexes only to find out it was basil, not oregeno. Make things accessible. If you use lots of coffee mugs, consider hanging them from the bottom of the cabinets. If you use your blender more often than your toaster consider storing the blender and putting out the toaster. You can make practical and pretty work at the same time, even in a small apartment.
This is a shoe organizer. I have several of them located throughout the house on doors to store odds and ends. No one sees them and you can store all kinds of things in them. This one is hanging in our nursery, so it stores stuff like butt cream and diapers, but I have another that stores shoes. These are cheap and can be used for so many things. Just go to Target and buy a few. You will not regret it.
Our pantry is a sad joke. Seriously, it was like playing Tetris every time I had to unload groceries. We didn’t buy things sometimes because “it wouldn’t fit in the pantry”. I would have to remove 16 things before I could get to what I needed. Our washer and dryer closet it in our kitchen and waste a ton of good kitchen storage space. I got the idea of putting drawers in there to store the dry goods we don’t use every day. Now we can buy BOGO coffee at Publix without fretting over where we’ll put it. Strausbaugh family 1: Small apartment: 0.
Remember that bookshelf I told you about? Here it is. Repainted and re-purposed. I really wanted a hutch for our dining room, but we didn’t have the room or money for the one I wanted. That was when I got the idea to use our bookshelf. My husband painted it and it fits perfectly in our dining room, holding appliances that are too big for our small kitchen, along with some odds, ends and necessities (like booze). Instead of purchasing new furniture, try to think of new ways to use what you already have.
Living in an apartment is hard because there’s only so much you can do to make it yours. We decided to start making our furniture into pieces that we really love. Our coffee table, which my husband owned throughout his college years, was less than beautiful. It was functional and that’s what we needed. The top was scratched and we really hated it. One day, after I decided to paint my toe nails on the table, thereby removing a chunk of paint, I decided the table needed a makeover. I had the idea of doing a mosaic design and my husband brilliantly executed the plan. Now we don’t need to use coasters (um, because let’s be honest, my husband wasn’t using them anyway) and it’s a unique piece of furniture in our house that is exactly what we wanted.