As someone who has lived in a single dorm room and a studio apartment, I understand the stress of trying to fit your entire life into 300 square feet. Suddenly, you realize just how many things you own.
I, too, love my many things. But fear not. It’s possible to make the most of every inch of your home. Whether you live in a dorm, apartment or house, these tips will help you maximize every square foot you have.
Use what you have
If your living space already has storage, use that to your greatest ability. Cabinets under the sink or countertop? Pack them full with cleaning supplies, cooking utensils and hygiene products.
If you’re running out of space horizontally, try looking vertically. Using Command Hooks and sticky putty can also utilize the wall space that may go unused. Hang cooking equipment, coats, robes and really anything with a strap or hole from your walls.
The more you buy, the less room you’ll have, so don’t shell out for expensive organizers if you already have the opportunity for storage included with your rent.
Buy compact and multi-purpose
Everything can have multiple uses, and living small necessitates it. Find decorations and appliances that can work for many situations.
For example, I have a small hand-held Dyson vacuum that works great on the floor and in small spaces. For my 300 square feet, the vacuum is simple, efficient and, most importantly, small.
Storage ottomans are great to rest your feet on or store any extra stuff you may have. Any furniture that folds up, from pull-out couches to lawn chairs, is great whenever you need extra room. The few feet of floor space you get back can take your living space from cramped to airy.
Storage, storage, storage
When you move in, you’ll realize just how little space you have for everything you own — which is why having many storage options is imperative.
I have three small rectangular baskets with lids that have come in handy more than once. Right now, they’re storing my DVD collection, camera gear and various cold medications, respectively.
Other small organizational items like desk and drawer organizers can come in handy to keep your clutter less cluttered. If you need bigger solutions, hanging shelves for closets or small modular bookshelves can have a small footprint and a big impact.
Most of all, make sure everything has a spot. Never leave something to find its own home, because it’ll turn into a pile. I’ll say I’m not the best at this — I’m writing this at my desk, which is currently piled with books, cables, papers and for some reason a Target dog plushie — but it’s good to at least have an idea of where things should go, should you decide to clean up.
And remember living small doesn’t mean living less. You don’t have to sacrifice your personality to make the most of your space. You just have to get creative.
This article is part of the Spring 2024 Housing & Living Guide, an IDS special publication.