How to Furnish a Small Space

Solving a Small Space Storage Problem

One of the biggest inherent disadvantages of small living spaces is the lack of storage. You can either curse your luck, or embrace the concept of less being more. If you're not the type of person who needs to hire a team of experts to get organized, being spatially challenged may be just the impetus you need to get your act together.

From the time we're born, we start accumulating stuff. Some of it is necessary for a little while and then loses its usefulness, and some of it is around to stay, like your high school yearbook picture. Understanding what you need and what you don't might mean the difference between enjoying a small space and being miserable in one.

Get organized by taking stock of all of your stuff. Think of it as an inventory. Mark items that you need and distinguish them from those that you just want because they make you feel good. Make a third category for items that you don't need and a fourth for trash. With this system, you should be able to reduce your burden of belongings, but you have to be ruthless. Go from room to room and start reorganizing stuff under the new system. After a few hours, you should have boxes with necessities; items that you want to keep, but can be stored; stuff to donate and a pile of trash that you can discard.

To make the most of the space you have, break your storage into distinct areas: concealed, such as closets and cabinets, and open, such as bookshelves, counters and tables. Be creative. You may not want to go to the extreme of using your oven to store your winter sweaters, but barring that, storage is a precious commodity, so make as much of it as possible, and guard it well [source: Scott].

Now comes the hard part: maintaining the new order of things. If you think of your small space as a self-sustaining environment in which you have what you really need, then for every new thing you bring in, something else will have to go. This is a little extreme, but it's a good concept to keep in mind if you don't want clutter creeping back in.

In the next section, we'll investigate some solutions for specific rooms in your small living space.