Creative Storage for Small Spaces

When I designed my 700 square foot house, I knew I was going to need storage space. Even though I've downsized from a 2,400 square foot house with an overstuffed basement, attic and garage, and purged 75 percent of my things, I still have a lot of stuff.


The house was designed with built-in storage, the largest space being my storage attic over the bedroom/office. But pulling down the ladder and crawling up there is hardly convenient for everyday storage. Other built-in storage includes a 24” wide hall closet, kitchen cupboards, two PAX wardrobe units andin the bathroom, two vanity drawers and a tall narrow cabinet. Additionally, I have a dresser, two nightstands and four filing cabinet drawers. Let me tell you, every one of those spaces is stuffed, yet I still needed more storage.


In creating more storage, I had two challenges. One, I didn’t want to add more furniture. There simply isn’t room for anything more. Two, I didn’t want to make the place look cluttered. I had to get creative. And ultimately, these storage ideas made the place look less cluttered and more spacious.

My number one storage tip: Put a tablecloth on it. This one hides my emergency bottled water supply, magazines and a stock of toilet paper.

Utilize space under a table

By simply putting a tablecloth over a table you can hide a lot of storage from sight. I collect vintage tablecloths, which have a medley of uses. I’ll do a future post on that. You can also set a console table against a wall with a sofa in front of it. You'll not only have hidden storage under the table, but a nice place to display photos behind the sofa. I’ve always loved that look.

Vintage suitcases are not only useful for storage, but they also add texture to your décor.

Vintage suitcases

In my collection of vintage suitcases I store photos, reams of copy paper and other office supplies. The suitcases create a table for my router and keep the modem and cords hidden from sight. They can smell a little musty inside, so I wouldn’t store anything like clothes or fabric in them.

Use decorative baskets and boxes

Beautiful baskets always look great, take up little space and are excellent for hiding and consolidating clutter. All my Pilates/Yoga gear fits into two pink wicker baskets. I use another basket to hold magazines. A wicker box holds papers I need to go through. I use decorative boxes on top of my bookcase to store taxes and receipts. Pretty storage boxes in bookcases act as bookends and create more visually appealing bookcase displays. I even use a decorative box as a laptop stand. Another one hides paperwork on my desk.


When I eventually rent out my house for a while to go traveling, having my things in boxes, rather than drawers, will make it easy to pack my personal items away in a closet or the storage attic.

IKEA even has storage boxes in my signature warm pink.

Utilize under the bed space

IKEA makes several affordable and decorative under the bed storage boxes. Some have wheels, but I find with wood floors the cloth boxes slide out easily. The only downside is keeping them dusted.

This miniature teapot is too small to use for tea, but perfect for storing my coffee spoons.

Store everyday items in plain sight

In a small house there’s seldom room to hide every kitchen widget. Take the items you love the most and use the most and find creative ways to store them right out in the open. Tuck kitchen utensils in a decorative pitcher. Group kitchen or bathroom items on a pretty tray. You’ll get more joy looking at the things you love every day rather than having them hidden away.

My collection of vintage floral platters is put to good use when I entertain.

Use vertical space

Because I designed my house with lots of windows, I have very little wall space. Yet I still found a spot to hang my collection of floral platters. If you have the wall space, try hanging baskets by your front door to hold those last-minute items as you dash out the door. Use attractive and functional hooks to hang kitchen tools.


When planning vertical storage, don’t forget the inside of cupboard doors. I may glue cork tiles to the inside door of my IKEA PAX wardrobe so I can hang my jewelry on thumbtacks. This could also work for hanging kitchen tools inside your cabinets.


I’m thinking the best storage solution is to simply have less stuff. As I continue to purge and embrace my own version of minimalism, I’m hoping storage will become less and less of a challenge. I'd be interested to know what creative storage solutions you've come up with. Share below in the comments.

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Hi, I’m Lori Cronwell. As a writer and frequent traveler, I admire the values most Europeans embrace: choosing quality over quantity; residing in smaller, more sustainable homes; working less and spending more time with friends and family.
 

Those values were key in my decision to drastically downsize to a 700 sq. ft. accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with the goal of creating a simpler, more sumptuous life with time for travel.
 

Slow travel, that is. Spending more time in one place — even if it’s just a week. You'll not only spend less, you'll discover a deeper and more meaningful travel experience.

Please subscribe below and join me on a journey to find affordable ways to explore Europe in the slow lane and to live a more European lifestyle every day of our lives.