Living in a small house can be a challenge whether it’s your first flat away from home or your family is growing, and you need more space.
Squeezing more living room out of your existing four walls can feel impossible, but we’ve got a few ideas that may help:
There’s no rule that says you must keep all your possessions at home all the time. Think of all the things you don’t use for half the year:
- Garden tools
- Sports Kit
- Cookware or kitchen appliances
- DIY equipment
- Kids’ playthings, whether outdoor or simply out-of-favour
There are probably more in your personal list, especially if you include items that aren’t necessarily seasonal but which you only use occasionally, such as equipment or machines for hobbies you don’t currently do.
You won’t want to get rid of any of these things, but why not put them into self-storage? Companies such as Storage Post and others provide you with free locks and other amenities too, so you don’t have to worry once you put your stuff in storage. Other than that, there are two big advantages:
- You clear acres of space at home.
- Things feel new and fresh again when you haven’t been tripping over them for months on end.
Storage unit prices are probably less than you think. And you don’t need to rent an entire unit if your storage needs are modest. There are lockers too, which are very handy for just a few items or for keeping documents safe.
When you look around, the range of shelving is massive. From free standing ladder-styles to floating shelves or traditional shelving units, you’d be hard pressed not to find something that perfectly fits your decor, style, and space available.
Even if you think there’s no room for a shelf, you could be mistaken. A shelf over a door for instance, is unobtrusive but could take the place of a bookshelf in a living room. Or fit one over the bathroom door to tidy up toiletries, place spare towels, or stow spare loo rolls.
You could also fit narrow shelves on the ends of kitchen cabinets. A rail in front would provide somewhere for cookbooks, spice bottles, or a place for kids’ stuff if you need to keep an eye on youngsters while you’re cooking.
The variety in shelf design makes it possible to fit shelves in all the underused areas of the house from airing cupboards to under-stair cupboards, kids’ rooms, hallways, and porches.
Make furnishings work harder to free up space.
Storage furniture really helps you keep order in rooms all over the house. You don’t have to think so hard about where to put stuff as you’ll have plenty of hiding spaces for everyday small things.
- Storage beds (divan and ottoman styles) in bedrooms offer space for spare bedding and other linens, hobby stuff or toys and games.
- Footstools, occasional tables, decorative chests, or pretty baskets provide homes for living room items like charging cables and TV remotes, pens or notepaper and tablets.
- The humble bedroom wardrobe probably has more space than you think. Try separating clothes into long and short items, then putting a craft tower drawer unit in the bottom for accessories, smalls, or folded items. You could also install an extra rail or add hooks inside the door.
If things are getting on top of you, it can be hard to know where to start. You don’t want to add to any frustrations over space, so take things step by step and be kind to yourself. It helps massively if you can get the rest of the family on board. They’re probably feeling cramped too, so it shouldn’t be too hard a sell.
- Go room by room. Task older children with thinking what they’d like in their rooms to help keep it tidier or more organised and spacious.
- Keep lists. At first, just wander around jotting down areas of the house in need of storage solutions. List items for possible self storage that could free up space, including things you could swap out twice a year as seasons change.
- When you’re ready, return to the lists and go room by room again, this time sorting things to keep at home, things to store or broken things that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Arm yourself with boxes or bags so you don’t end up simply putting things back after you’ve looked at them.
- Avoid moving items into different rooms unless they belong in a different room. That just shifts the problem from one area to another.
It might be a bit of a painful process to start with, but the end result is huge.
You’ll find space you didn’t know you have, give yourself a lot more creative freedom, and generally find life becomes more relaxing and harmonious.