If Marie Condo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ has taught us anything it’s that organising our homes can be a therapy of its own. What seems to resonate with people about the self-styled ‘KonMari’ method is that, even in small spaces, there are plenty of clever ways to maximise storage and minimise clutter without having to throw out everything you own.
If there is a trick, it seems to revolve around how you retain a sense of style while providing a space for everything you need. And while this concept isn’t groundbreaking, there are always new and clever examples – especially if we study the lessons from designing and living in small spaces.
Here are 5 lessons to learn from organised small spaces:
We’ve all been guilty of holding on to something we don’t really need – whether it is a gift from a family member, or an aspirational outfit that is now three sizes too small! It takes a certain amount of discipline to cut through sentimentality and deflate the hope of future utility, but it is a habit we have to acquire if we are serious about creating an uncluttered home. To assist this aim, every few months we should do an audit of each room to see what may have crept in, and what we haven’t been using. It might seem hard to start, but once you get into the practice, it does hold a joy of its own.
Maximise on outdoor space
In smaller residences, the outdoors becomes even more important to the overall lifestyle of the home. Effectively, external areas can be additional living spaces and therefore need to invite a range of activities while also remaining open and spacious. Planning here is key; how you use the space, how it integrates with the indoors, and what storage is provided – all key considerations. Modular furniture that allows for different configurations is a great way to create more living options, so too tables, shade and seating options that can be folded away or decreased in size. Sliding doors and windows are great ways to maximise all available areas while providing a visual sense of space. While walls, fences, decks and entertainment areas can also be used to add additional storage options.
Maximise vertical space
Finding ways to use vertical space is one of the key tricks to adding storage options; often we forget the foot or two that leads to the ceiling. One extra shelf or a series of hooks can add an enormous amount of storage options, especially for odd sized objects such as guitars, bikes and cooking equipment. Similarly, standalone bookshelves and dressers often leave a lot of space above; even bedside tables have a habit of staying too small. Some bigger sized options or even custom-made cabinetry can make a world of difference.
Clever storage solutions
When every millimetre of storage counts, additional storage options can be cleverly employed throughout a house and are only limited by your imagination. Stairs can have whole cupboards placed underneath and even drawers under each step. Window seats and decorative shelves can have hidden storage with either drawers or lids. Indeed, any fixed structure within a home can be used for storage if the correct planning takes place. Don’t forget drop down roof storage or attic storage either.
Even in houses with a minimalist feel, furniture takes up a lot of real estate and should be considered a key strategic resource. Each bed, couch, bench and seat need to be assessed for its storage capabilities and also for its ability to be used in a variety of ways. A couch that becomes a fold-out bed, and desks that can become additional tables are two examples of maximising the utility of furniture. In small spaces, the rule of thumb tends to be that every item in your home should have a minimum of two distinct uses while providing hidden storage. Sure, it makes furniture shopping that bit harder, but it is well worth it when you experience the daily ‘magic’ of a well organised and tidy home.