How to Stay Organized in a Cramped Home

Posted in: I'm Moving, Organization

Even though we’re two home decor enthusiasts (who spend way too many hours browsing the aisles of HomeGoods and hitting up estate sales), we both live in pretty small spaces. Bridget lives in a small ranch in the suburbs of Chicago, while I have a 1,200 square foot condo downtown. Because we live in tight quarters, we’re forced to pare down the stuff in our homes on a regular basis and that is a-okay in our playbook.

Living small is big these days! People are doing their best to live with less, and we are big fans of this newfound minimalism. If you’re looking to get rid of the clutter and pare down to the essentials, we are here to help! Here’s how we stay organized in our small homes…without compromising style.

1. Purge baby purge!

Tangled-Electronic-CordsThe first (and most important!) step is to purge. It’s time to venture deep into your closets, drawers, and cupboards to get rid of anything you truly do not need. Create “toss”, “keep”, and “donate” piles and slowly go through your home room by room.

Some questions to ask yourself as you sort…

  1. When was the last time I used this?
  2. Do I like this?
  3. How much is this worth to me now?
  4. Will I miss this item if I never see it again?

Be strict with what you keep, because the only way to live with less is to get rid of the chaos and clutter. If you don’t use it on a regular basis, you don’t need to live with it in a small home. Period.

Here are some more tips on how to get started purging, and here’s a donation guide for all of your unwanted items.

2. Take Inventory


Now that you’re left with items you truly love, it’s time to take inventory of your possessions. Grouping similar items and coming up with a gameplan for their eventual home is a big part of this step. Often times items are haphazardly thrown into drawers and closets, without much thought. This is your time to come up with a thoughtful plan for all of your possessions. Perhaps that means putting umbrellas in the front coat closet. Or your DVD collection in the ottoman in the family room. If you need to map out your plan of attack, do it! This step is vital if you want a well-organized home space.

3. Get Organized


So you’ve purged and taken inventory of all of your stuff. Now it’s time to put that stuff away using your gameplan from #2. You don’t want to just randomly shove items into their new home. When organizing a closet or drawer, we find it best to always start with a clean slate. Take everything out of the space and start fresh. Then figure out the best way to neatly place the items back in their designated spot. Keep rarely used items out of reach, and keep everyday items right at hand. This might be a good time to purchase some organizational items like baskets, bins, and drawers and if you want to get real fancy…invest in pretty labels!

4. One Thing In = One Thing OutA woman hand carrying a bunch of colorful shopping bags

Your drawers and closets are in tip-top shape, but now comes the hard part…keeping it that way! Just because you’re living small, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to shop. But your motto needs to be “one thing in…one thing out.” This applies to anything you bring into your home (clothing, shoes, home decor, kitchen items, etc.). If you want to bring an item into your small space, then you need to immediately donate a used item.

5. Secret Storage


We are all about secret storage in our small homes. What’s secret storage? Well it’s a way of hiding your (organized) belongings in plain sight in an unobtrusive way. Benches, ottomans, dressers, and baskets are all great secret storage options. Buy items that can work double duty in your home and you’ll have a place for all of the essentials.

6. Keep Things Tidy

family-room-storage-organizedThings can get chaotic quickly when you live in a small space. Heck, even just bringing home groceries and work bags can fill up your space and make it look like a big mess. Of course, things won’t be squeaky clean 24/7, but keeping your living spaces tidy is a must in a small home. Take 10 minutes each morning and night to tidy up your couch, make the bed, and load the dishwasher.

So what do you say? Are you ready to live a big life in a small home? If we can do it, then you can too!


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