Whether you find yourself moving to a new apartment that’s smaller than your last; or maybe just wish you were more organized and want to use your move as the ideal opportunity to make that happen, here are a few tried-and-true storage and organization ideas to help make your new space all it can be!
- Downsize first. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how often people are just stymied by the thought of getting all of their belongings into their new apartment rather than focusing their energy on moving only the things they really want and need. Use your move as license to get rid of all the needless stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. Give superfluous stuff away to charity and remind yourself that those things can be a big blessing to someone else—not to mention a great tax credit for you. If you find yourself having to part with something meaningful, think about passing it along to a good friend who will value and care for it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll pack it all and go through it when you unpack on the other end…you won’t have the time or the energy on the back end of your move that you have now, before it occurs.
- De-Dupe. Do you have duplicates of two or more of something when you can easily get along with just one? There are lots of household and small furniture items that you might not need as many of as you might think—including towels and other linens; pots, pans and kitchen utensils; small tables; appliances; electronic items that perform singular functions covered by another multifunction one; etc. Compare, combine where you can and cast-off what you don’t need to carry along!
- Keep an open mind about furniture arrangement. You’re going to have a harder time making things work to its best advantage in your new apartment if you’re trying to make it look and feel exactly like the space you’re leaving behind. Remember that your leasing professional has seen how lots of other residents have made their spaces work and can probably give you fantastic advice about the best place to put your bed, dresser, sofa and TV. That chest-of-drawers that might be a tight fit in the bedroom could be an amazing storage and organization addition to the back of a walk-in closet. Go high if you need to…two low bookcases, for example, can be turned into one taller one with a little help from a good carpenter or a handy friend. Your furniture, itself, also offers storage opportunities you may not have thought of. Use the space under your bed for storing things like craft supplies, books and magazines, out-of-season clothing and extra linens…you’ll find storage bins in lots of shapes and sizes, including ones perfectly sized to fit under your bed at Walmart, Target and other major retailers.
- Don’t cram your closets—plan your closets! You don’t need the help of a fancy closet company to turn your closets into super storage systems. Chances are good that your new apartment’s closets already have at least one hanging rod and an upper shelf; but think about adding additional, inexpensive modular shelving in areas where you can multiply the storage space even more, including kitchen and bathroom cabinets and bedroom walk-ins. Another great way to multiply bedroom closet space is to go the double-rod route. Your maintenance team might even be willing to help. Hang two rods with one high up off of the floor for shirts and jackets to hang freely, then another one up higher for pants and skirts. Use the shelf above for hats, shoes, purses and other accessories. If you have a walk-in, think about adding a towel-style bar or wall hooks at the back of the closet for scarves and belts. Using only readily-available items, you have greatly multiplied your closet’s space and functionality.
- Choose furniture and décor elements that multi-task. Many people use a move into a new apartment as an opportunity to purchase new furniture and decor, so put careful thought into maximizing the storage possibilities of the items that you choose. For example, a sleeper sofa will turn your living room into an instant guest-room to make up for the spare room you might be leaving behind; and you can also find living room chairs that fold out into twin-sized beds. Small shelves and hooks will help you make use of the wealth of vertical space on all the walls that surround you. Hooks work equally well on doors and in closets, but be sure to hang them appropriately…your apartment maintenance team can offer advice on how to do this effectively without causing damage. A chest or trunk makes a terrific coffee table along with serving as a great place for books/videos, spare bedding, off-season clothing, and more. Kids’ beds with built-in storage drawers can take the place of a chest of drawers or dresser, leaving more floor space for play; and loft beds can save the room of a separate desk or computer workstation. A tall, old-fashioned dining room buffet makes a great movie, music, game and game system storage cabinet under a wall-mounted TV; often offering more cabinets and drawers than a newer TV table system does. Choose end tables with drawers instead of just legs. Buy a super-comfortable stool and designate one end of the kitchen bar as your computer workstation instead of making room for a desk. Put benches around the kitchen or dining room table that contain hidden storage bins. We’ve even seen dining room tables that turn into billiard and Ping-Pong tables to multiply your entertainment options!
Remember, when it comes to making the most of your space, with a little careful thought, some advance planning and a creative and open mind will go a long way to making your space perfectly lovable and livable for you, your family and all the friends you’ll entertain in your new apartment home!