Did you know the average American spends 2.5 days each year looking for lost possessions in their home? What's worse, lost items that go unfound cost a whopping $2.7 billion annually!
That's a lot of time and money wasted on lost stuff.
Anyone who has ever misplaced the television remote or stumbled over a pile of shoes in the dark knows firsthand the frustration that comes from lack of organization and an overabundance of stuff. If you live in a smaller home or apartment, this irritation can take on an outsized role in your life because you have limited solutions to the mess.
Television home improvement shows often show home redesigns or renovations to accommodate all that stuff. We've all watched as a professional designer takes small, cluttered spaces and turns them into trendy, gorgeous ones. But what happens if you don't have the budget or the knowledge to pull off such a drastic transformation?
Even small spaces and small budgets can still yield impressive results when it comes to home organization and storage. All it takes is a little bit of time and creativity!Best Storage Ideas for Small Spaces on a Budget
Taking the time to organize your home has so many benefits! If you're new to home organization, you might not be entirely sure where to start. Change doesn't have to be drastic to be significant. When it comes to home organization, it's best to start with a few simple, time-tested ideas to get your closets, your shelves, and your family on the right organizational track!
1. Clean out Your Possessions
This tip costs you $0 because it has nothing to do with buying plastic bins or boxes. Before you start to organize what you have, take some time to decide if you need all the stuff you have accumulated. You can do everything at once or, if it's too overwhelming, choose one closet or room each day. Get rid of the clothes, shoes, toys and anything else your family doesn't use anymore. Have a yard sale or donate items to the charity of your choice. If your children are old enough, get them involved in the process by asking them to sort through old toys, books, and sports paraphernalia to find unused items that are taking up precious space in your home.
2. Clean up Your Space
Sometimes storage and organization can seem impossible because you literally can't see what you have — or where you have to store it. Once you've gotten rid of stuff you don't use, take some time to hang up clothes that have been lying on the floor, put away books that never made it onto a bookshelf and file stray papers. Besides opening up the space you have, this is also an excellent way to identify the places where your storage options may be lacking. For example, as you file papers away, you may discover you need a bigger filing cabinet or more folders to accommodate all your paperwork.
3. Identify What You Need
Once you've cleaned out the stuff you don't need and cleared up the messes in your way, it's time to take a close look at what's left. Each room in your home has needs and challenges when it comes to storage. By identifying what those are, you can determine the best use of your time and money. For example, you might discover that you have a lot of shoes in your master bedroom closet, but no way to organize them. In this case, a shoe rack — on the floor or hanging, depending on the configuration of your closet — should be on your list of items to acquire.
4. Set a Budget
Once you've determined what you need — more shelving, shoe racks, plastic bins for attic storage — decide how much you can spend to get these items. Storage aids can quickly get expensive if you aren't specific about what you need and what you can pay. If your budget is small, take advantage of sales, secondhand stores and reputable online sites that allow you to buy these items used from other people. There are also some smart hacks for ways you can turn inexpensive household items into storage aids with little to no cost involved. Keep reading for some of our favorites!Best Storage Ideas for Closets on a Budget
One of the best tips when it comes to storage ideas on a budget is to improve the function of the closets in your home. After all, closets are for storage and, when you take time to organize them efficiently, they are an ideal way to keep your stuff close by, but out of sight. Closet organization systems can be pricey, but there are some clever ways to improve your closet organization on a budget.
1. PVC Pipes
We love the idea of using various sizes of PVC pipes for efficient and inexpensive closet storage. Cut the longer pipe into small shoe-length sections, then apply glue on the tops and sides to attach the pieces into a shoe rack. The best part about a PVC shoe rack is that it's a cinch to add pieces as you upgrade your shoe wardrobe. PVC pipe sections are handy to use for storing smaller items, such as socks or underwear, in drawers. You can also use the curved PVC connectors for accessory hangers. Mount them on the wall, then use them to house handbags, necklaces or scarves.
2. Add a Second Bar
Adding a second bar or rack to your closet can practically double the amount of usable space you have. Although you can install a permanent bar, tension rods are a great way to add vertical space to a closet without drilling holes or permanently changing the configuration of your closet. They also tend to be cheaper than hanging rods you'd bolt into a wall. Tension rods are available in various sizes, depending on the space where you want to hang them. Once they're securely in place, use them to store shoes, scarves, jewelry or even to hang clothing.
Just be sure you know how much weight your tension rods can handle before hanging heavy clothing on them. It won't help your home organizing goals if your clothes fall all the time.
3. Shower Curtain Hooks
Those little plastic hooks are a lifesaver when it comes to storing accessories and maximizing closet space. Place them on a sturdy hanger and then use them to hang scarves, jewelry, tank tops or even jeans. That's right — thread the hook through one of the belt loops on your jeans, and you'll have them visible and easy to select when you're ready to wear. This hack is especially handy if you have more closet space than drawer space since it helps maximize the number of items you can store in a closet, freeing up precious drawer space for other things.Best Storage Ideas for Bedrooms on a Budget
We love a clean, organized closet, but there's more to a home's organization than that, especially in the bedroom. One big challenge of home organization is finding efficient ways to store things in plain sight. Our favorite storage ideas for small bedrooms on a budget include the following.
1. Wall Shelves
No need to take up precious floor space with bookcases when you can mount all the shelves you need on the wall. Consider placing wall shelving over the doorway or around the bed to create a visually appealing configuration. Or, ditch the traditional headboard and install floor-to-ceiling shelves behind your bed. The higher shelves can create the illusion of a headboard using decorative items and books, while the lower shelves that remain hidden by the bed can provide more functional storage space.
2. Decorative Boxes
Craft stores and home stores are full of decorative boxes to complement just about any kind of decor. Select ones that match your style, fill them with items you need to store, then arrange them artfully under a nightstand or in the corner of your bedroom. They'll look like a carefully chosen decoration but can hold accessories, books, mementos or other small items you need to store. This solution also works well in a bathroom where you have limited cabinet space for makeup and toiletries.
3. Under-the-Bed Storage
Another smart way to maximize your storage is to stash stuff under the bed. Once you've measured the amount of space between the bottom of your bed and the floor, you can purchase shallow plastic bins. Some even come with wheels on them to make pulling them out a breeze. Bins or boxes keep your stuff organized, and their lids keep dust bunnies out of your belongings. If your budget is a little bit larger, consider purchasing a bed frame that has shelving or storage built into it.
4. Rotate Seasonally
If you're someone who loves clothes and shoes, you probably have a closet bursting at the seams with all your latest purchases. But that wool sweater, those snow boots and the parka you bought on winter clearance are taking up more space than you realize. One way to keep your bedroom space neat and tidy is to swap out clothes and shoes with the seasons. When it's warm out, store your winter items in a plastic bin in the attic or another closet you don't use daily. In the colder months, pack away those flip-flops and swimsuits, opening up space to bring out all your favorite pairs of boots. If you don't have much room for these seasonal items, consider using vacuum bags to reduce the amount of storage space they require.Best Storage Ideas for Your Kitchen on a Budget
Kitchen storage gets tricky. Even small appliances can take up a lot of room. And don't get us started on food storage! There are loads of ideas out there when it comes to maximizing a tiny kitchen, but these four are ones no kitchen should be without.
1. Get Serious About Drawer Dividers
We've all been there — you spend 10 minutes rooting around for a can opener, and by the time you're back at the stove, dinner has burned or a pot has boiled over. Save yourself the time and hassle by giving everything a proper place. Drawer dividers aren't only for silverware. Incorporate ones to divide up knives, cooking utensils and other small objects you want to keep handy. You can purchase drawer dividers of various sizes at just about any big-box or home store near you. But if your budget won't allow for store-bought dividers, consider using pieces of cardboard to mark your spaces.
2. Use Space Above Your Cabinets
Traditionally, the area above the refrigerator and cabinets has been for decor — think your mom's rustic baskets and old wine bottles. But these spots are prime real estate when it comes to kitchen storage. Store cookbooks, fancy platters, pitchers and other serving items above your cabinets. Over your refrigerator, keep a slow cooker or other appliances you use regularly. The space above your fridge is also a good spot to add a wine rack if you're passionate about your vino. Make sure it doesn't receive direct sunlight to prevent premature aging.
3. Cover the Stovetop
If you've got a small kitchen, you've probably found yourself using your stovetop as a countertop when things get tight. Although we love this idea, a slip of the knife or a drop of a jar can spell disaster if you have a flat-top stove. So consider building or purchasing stove top covers. Place these wooden covers over the top of the stove when it's not in use, extending your countertops and giving you a flat, safe surface for chopping, slicing and mixing.
4. Install Shelving
Open shelving is a tidy way to decorate your walls and store your kitchen items. Hang freestanding shelves, then use them to display your dishes, special china or serving items you received as wedding presents. Let them hold your cookbooks, canisters of dried goods, spices and more. Kitchen shelving also lets you cultivate an herb garden and spice up your favorite dishes. By using empty wall space in your kitchen, you add a visual element to your space, as well as practical storage. These shelves free up space in your cabinets for food storage or to hide those pesky small appliances that have been cluttering your countertops.
Organizing a small house on a budget can be challenging. However, the results of cleaning up your space are worth the effort. An organized space is relaxing, and when you can unwind in your home, you'll fall in love with it all over again. But, even with the best intentions, a home's organization may not result in a clean, tranquil home you can enjoy. There are times when attempts at rearranging your belongings reveal it's time to find a home that's better suited to your family and your lifestyle.
If it's time to find a new place to call home — with plenty of storage to go around — let SK Builders and McAlister Realty help. For more than 20 years, we've partnered to help residents in upstate South Carolina find the right house in the perfect spot. Whether you're looking to build your dream home or hoping to move into an existing property, our experienced professionals can help. Contact us to start your dream home search today.