Storage in tiny spaces: a case study

Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.
~Leonardo Da Vinci

I have one closet. Okay, okay, really two. But one has a hot water heater taking up most of it. Not very useful. So, seriously, just the one. I’m really glad I started purging possessions when I had more closets, otherwise I’d not have been a very happy camper in this place. I also only have one drawer in the kitchen, and two small cabinets, four large cabinets, and some shelves under the bar. No pantry. And I have to share those with my roommate, who got the two small and one of the large and a bar shelf. And most of the counter top space, at the moment anyway.

So how the hell do I fit all of my crap into one closet and a meager amount of kitchen storage?

Well, for one, I don’t own a lot. That’s a biggie. The more storage you have, the more shit you tend to own. My mother told me that once, and it’s a lesson that holds very true.

Stack. Stackstackstackstack everything like you’re an interior decorator stuck in Kogoruhn. Microwave goes on top of the fridge. The pot goes into the colander, which also hold the pot’s lid when it’s not in use, and the colander sits in the frying pan. Tea goes on top of the salt, which sits in front of the pasta. The syrup, olive oil, and sugar jockey for first place in their own little column. All the spices go in the spice basket, regardless of how well or even if they all fit. Bowls go on top of plates if necessary, not so much now that I got rid of the tiny plates. All the utensils go in the drawer. All of them. In the fridge, the sour cream and milk sit on top of the eggs and the soda is pushed all the way to the back. My roommate has entirely too much food in there. In the closet, the bird feather box is stacked on top of the sleeping bag. The box for the computer monitor (which seemed like a good thing to hold on to at the time) is on top of another box. If it’s not hitting the ceiling, you’re doing it wrong.

Put stuff in stuff. The suitcase is going to take up the same amount of space empty or full. It holds shoes I wear infrequently and the quilts. The cooler holds the tarp and a few other small camping items. The cardboard box holds other boxes. The computer monitor box holds the Wii box (another item I felt somehow obligated to hang on to for some undefined period of time.) My bone cleaning supplies all go in the big boiling pot. Craft supplies all stack, along with the oversized books and my file of important documents.

Put stuff under stuff. I have a rubbermaid container for under the bed. The roommate’s closet door (which lacks a necessary component to actually hang) lives under the futon with the ferret food and ferret litter. The cat toys are all under the fridge, for reasons only those owned by cats can fathom. My roommate keeps her dirty clothes in her tiny washing machine.

Outsource. My printer comes with people to operate it for me. Unfortunately, they require a small sum before they’ll turn my printing over to me, but what the hell. Most of my books are at the library. A good place for books to be. I bet you can guess where the movies are at. Yea, they want some cash, too, but I guess they gotta eat.

Hang. Some of my neighbors do this. They hang pots, pans, and cups from the overhead cabinets and the wall. My jacket hangs off a hook on the back of my bedroom door. I could buy a bracket to hang the bicycle on, if I wanted to make it decor. I could hang the quilts, too. And the computer monitor. Wall shelves are easy to come by for books or more kitchen storage. Hell, the fire extinguisher hangs in this apartment, even though that’s not exactly a decor plus. I’m just glad it has one even though it looks like it hasn’t been off the wall in years.

This is just a starting point. With a little ingenuity and a imagination, crap can be stored just about anywhere.


2 Responses to “Storage in tiny spaces: a case study”

  1. I do many of the same things you do–I keep winter clothes/or summer clothes in my suitcase in the closet. I keep small stuff in containers (like shoe boxes etc) that I can stack. Under the bed storage is also a good move.

    our last apartment had no closets–not a one. In researching what to do with this kind of situation, I actually came across one person who hung his bike over his kitchen area, which I found kind of interesting. I also use free-standing clothes hanging racks covered in old sheets. Works for me.

    • Way back when they had armoires instead of closets. Of course, people didn’t have so much crap back in the days of armoires.

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