Next to square footage, the amount of available storage is usually among the first things potential renters ask about and seek when looking for an apartment. Unfortunately, storage is also the one thing many of us forego in favor of the perfect floor plan, kitchen amenities, location, etc. If you’ve found yourself in a tight rental without enough space to store all your stuff, don’t despair. Try one of these outside-the-storage-closet ideas for carving out more storage space in your place!
Take Advantage of Vertical Space in Closets
Most rental closets are outfitted with a single rod and shelf. While this arrangement is great when you own a lot of hanging clothes, it can also leave a lot of unused and wasted space. If you have extra closets or space within a closet that isn’t being fully utilized, consider adding extra bookcases into the base of the closet to take advantage of the remaining vertical space.
Even if you can’t fit an entire bookcase into your closet(s), consider adding just a few more shelves to create more space. Above, two extra floating shelves were added to take advantage of the open space below the included top shelf. Inexpensive floating shelves can be found in any size at most hardware stores, making this an easy and affordable closet option!
Use Vertical Space in Cabinets
If your kitchen, bath or laundry spaces are short on cabinets, employ similar strategies in the cabinets you do have to get more in them. Storage racks, shelf dividers, tiered drawer systems and baskets can help you squeeze more onto each shelf, ultimately allowing you to put more into each cabinet.
Use Storage-Focused Furniture
When closets and cabinets are in short supply, you may have to utilize furniture items to provide the storage you need. Trunks or storage ottomans work great as coffee tables; dressers can be outfitted to hold office or craft supplies; and cube shelves can double as media stands, side tables or entryway consoles. Instead of filling your space with purely pretty items, look for well-constructed pieces that are as functional as they are decorative.
Bookcases are the ultimate pieces of functional furniture when it comes to storage. Not only do they come in endless styles, sizes, finishes and price points, but they are the ideal way to store and display pretty much anything and everything. Several free-standing bookcases can be put together to create a renter-friendly “built in” with shelves upon shelves for storage. Or try utilizing cube shelves with bins and totes to store a lot in a clean and concealed way.
Take Advantage of Empty Space
Think you don’t have any space to add in more storage? Carefully consider every open nook and corner; look under every bed, dresser and couch; and rearrange storage closets or cabinets to create as much extra space as possible. In these empty spaces, add in rolling carts (above), flat Tupperware boxes, vacuum bags, crates, floating shelves (below), cube shelving or whatever will fit to use up those available inches.
Use the Wall
Last but not least, when looking for places to add in extra storage, don’t overlook the wall! Floating shelves are a great way to add in storage space to big, blank walls (get our tips here!), but also consider cubbies, hooks, racks, rods and other wall-mounted storage systems. When hanging storage systems on the wall, make sure they are aesthetically pleasing so they appear like décor as much as they do storage.
If your rental is short on traditional storage space, get creative with the closets, cabinets, open spaces and walls you do have. Add in hard-working items such as bookcases, floating shelves, functional furniture or wall-mounted storage systems that take advantage of any and all open space. With some creative thinking and smart solutions, you can optimize the space you have without pining for the storage you don’t!