Usually your first apartment will also be your smallest. This makes every square foot count. There are many DIY tricks out there to save space, but many of them involve installing shelving and other “built-in” features. Not only does this require a multitude of tools and carpentry knowledge, it also requires the permission of your landlord. For those who are unable to craft, their organization situation might seem hopeless. But fear not! There are some simple ways to make the most of your space without losing your security deposit (or your arm).
Have limited space to hang your towels, but don’t have the time or ability to install shelving? Find a short wooden ladder in a thrift store or on Craigslist and repurpose it. You simply lean it up against the bathroom wall and have additional space for your towels in no time. Pro tip from Melongings: works great for hanging shoes in your closet or stacking pillows in the living room too!
Magnetic Bathroom Rack
Not all knife racks belong in the kitchen. Purchase a cheap magnetic knife rack to place in your bathroom. These long, black magnetic strips are small and unimposing. Though they are usually hung up on the wall, it’s not a requirement. Regardless, it’s a surefire way to keep all those pesky bobby pins, nail clippers, and nail trimmers in the same place.
Second Shower Rod
For those tiny showers shared by multiple roommates, this is a DIY essential! On the other side of your shower (the part against the wall), hang up a tension curtain rod and shower curtain hooks. Then purchase some tiny, plastic baskets. Any waterproof material will do, and make sure these baskets have handles. You can then hang them up and have additional storage to place your various shower items.
Tension Curtain Rods
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Aren’t those things for the bathroom?” Oddly enough, tension curtain rods are one of the handiest tools when it comes to kitchen organization. If you have an open space between cabinets over the sink, place a tension curtain rod there. Then buy shower curtain hooks and hang your pots, pans, or cooking utensils up. This will give you plenty of much-needed cabinet space. You can also place small curtain rods vertically inside cabinets, dividing up your various kitchenwares with little fuss.
Repurposed Desk Organizer
Wire desk organizers meant to hold folders and condense space wasted by papers can be repurposed for kitchen use. Slide baking sheets, cutting boards, plates, or any other flat piece of kitchenware into the wire slots. It will keep them all in one place and easier to access than if they were piled up on each other.
Sick of having bags or sugar and flour go bad once they’ve been opened? Then look no further! It condenses the amount of space usually taken up by bags, reduces the chances of spillage, and seals air out of foods to make them last longer. The Mason jar is a cheap, easy, fix to this problem. There are even many DIY tutorials out there showing you how to fashionably label and decorate them.
With all the electronics we use nowadays, it’s almost impossible not to find a bundle of cords tangled up somewhere in your apartment. Is there anything more aggravating then needing to unplug something, then discovering that the cords are so tangled you can’t find the wire you’re looking for? Buy a cheap cord cover, cord manager, or Quirky’s Plug Hub. These will conceal your various electronic cords, while keeping them straight and tidy.
Suitcase Coffee Table
Not only is this DIY efficient, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing and will add a quirky touch to your living space! Find a big ol’ suitcase at a thrift store, paint it to suit your tastes, turn it on its side, and viola! You have yourself a great coffee table that doubles as storage space. Be sure to put some lovely coffee table books on top to complete the look.
Turning old crates into useful, portable storage space isn’t difficult. They just require a little sanding! If you live in an old industrial city, then these will be even easier to find. Just turn them on their side so the opening is facing outward, and you have yourself some fine looking shelving space. The best part: They are totally portable and not drilled into the wall. You can even stack them!
Silverware organizers and other drawer organizers aren’t just for the kitchen or office. If you have a dresser or vanity, properly utilizing the drawer space is very important. Use these organizers for efficiently storing makeup and jewelry. Without using this tip, we both know that your makeup brushes and earrings would just end up wasting precious surface space, or being stuffed haphazardly into a random drawer.
Never underestimate the power a good basket! Putting any sort of storage bin under your bed is a great use of space, but the rolling baskets are much more convenient if you need to grab something in a hurry.
Use Hangers to Their Fullest
Using your hangers wisely is the key to a spacious closet. If you have a larger wardrobe or a tiny closet, regular hangers just aren’t going to cut it. You can get the infomercial-endorsed WonderHangers, which can condense up to five regular hangers. You can create a DIY version of WonderHangers by purchasing soda pop cans and placing them around the neck of each hanger. Hangers with clips can also double as scarf or hat storage.
Photo credit: Rubbermaid