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Living in Small Spaces: How to Organize for a Clear Mind

With the increasing prevalence of minimalism, more people are reconsidering how the needless things they own impact their mental well-being. If you live in a small space with limited square footage, this may be a sign to apply the principles of owning less and eliminating unnecessary clutter to enjoy more space. With the right strategies and tools, small-space living can be functional and stylish. 

Living in Small Spaces

Living in a small space can be exhausting, especially when it comes to organizing and keeping everything tidy. With limited storage and living areas, it can be challenging to keep clutter at bay and find a place for everything. Here are 15 valuable tips to organize home clutter and have a clearer mind.

1. Add a Mudroom

With a mudroom, you can make the most out of the small space in your home’s entryway. It may already be a typical home feature in Asian homes, but it’s also becoming a permanent fixture in American households.

Most people leverage the mudroom in two ways — for storing items and for decorative purposes. You can personalize it according to your preference, like installing decorative hooks and stationing medium-sized open storage for dirty shoes, bags, and coats. Some put bowls for keys. However you use it, a mudroom is a helpful extra space to organize everyday stuff you bring when you leave home.

2. Build a Wall-Mounted Organizer

If your home has a tight entryway area that directly opens to the living room, wall-mounted hooks can conveniently provide a functional organization solution. Like a mudroom, you can use the excess space to hang hats, coats, and wet umbrellas. It boosts your mood and relieves anxiety if the first thing you see when you open the door is a tidy and organized entryway.

Wall mounts are straightforward and affordable to install. You can purchase a mounted rack online or at a home-improvement store and use wood glue or a power drill to secure it. After this improvement, you can provide visitors a space to hang their stuff so it doesn’t spread into your living or dining room and cause you needless stress.

3. Install a Corner Drawer

After your home’s entryway, your kitchen is the next spot you can optimize by installing blind corner cabinets. The cooking area naturally requires a lot of space for storing dishware, condiments, and cleaning tools.

Instead of ignoring the clutter, corner cabinets can provide extra areas for stowing away kitchen utensils. A neat kitchen with things in their rightful places can help improve your mood and make preparing meals less stressful.

4. Elevate With Open Shelves

Open shelves expand your storage, making an accessible area for everyday dishware like mugs, glasses, and plates. Moreover, open shelves are affordable and can be your next DIY project. A minor home upgrade like this can help you solve clutter problems in the kitchen.

5. Get Creative With Extra Spaces

Did you know cooking for yourself has amazing psychological benefits? Surprisingly, it can stabilize your mood, improve your sleep, and increase your stress resilience. With that, you want to maintain a clean and orderly kitchen to make cooking convenient.

Another way to tidy your kitchen and get inspired to cook every day is to maximize the limited space. You can install a cabinet above your refrigerator or attach a magnetic spice rack to its side to organize your salt and pepper shakers, strainers, and paper towels. Check your entire kitchen for corners or narrow openings where you can cleverly insert versatile storage units.

6. Categorize Kitchen Essentials

Perhaps you already have enough space, and you need to sort your kitchen tools. According to experts, categorization is fundamental to our thinking abilities. From ideas to possessions, it can help to simplify something complex and improve new experiences.

It’s easier for the brain and less mentally stressful to locate kitchen items if you put them in categories according to functions. For example, you can place rarely used appliances on high shelves and store heavy ones — like a toaster or coffee maker you only use once or twice daily — in lower and easy-to-reach cabinets.

7. Convert a Corner Into a Panty

If you have a small kitchen of 150 square feet or less, exploit every bit of space by transforming the corner into a mini-pantry. Here, you can store your non-perishable items — like canned goods, dry food, rice, and other staples — and stack similar items up on top of each other to fit more things.

If you love to cook, you must have these extra square feet for storing goods and ingredients for your favorite recipes. This way, you can buy everything in a single grocery trip.

8. Mount a Towel Rack

The bathroom is often the most disorganized home area, especially when you have kids. Next thing you know, shampoo bottles, bars of soap, and skin care products are on the sink, tub, and floor. Arriving home to this sight daily can trigger stress, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

A smart idea to take advantage of the space is to use the wall to create open or divided vertical storage for unused towels, washcloths, and other bath supplies. You can conveniently grab a towel or body bar if you run out and need them. The mounted open storage helps lessen bathroom clutter.

9. Attach a File Organizer

Hair straighteners and dryers can easily claim most of the space in your bathroom cabinets. Install a file organizer to the side of the sink to organize your hair care appliances and tame cluttered cords, which can cause a bundle of needless stress.

Use a file organizer that can fit all your tools and attach them to the hooks. You’ll prevent electrical hazards and create a relaxing environment in the bathroom.

10. Use a Tray Organizer

Another space-saving tip is utilizing a tray to separate bathroom essentials, so you don’t have to waste time rummaging through the drawers to find your face wash or makeup brush. With organizers, you can keep the drawer contents in order and separate your skin care products from makeup.

According to experts, organization can reduce stress, improve sleep, and give you the mental bandwidth to focus on other aspects of your life. When getting an organizer, pick one that fits in or is the same size as your drawer.

11. Utilize the Space Under the Sink

To hide clutter from your sight and reduce mental overload, leverage the space under the sink for extra storage. Get a two-tier cabinet or pull-out sliding basket to hold cleaning products like dishwashing liquid, laundry soap, and bleach. A minor change like this can neatly arrange your cleaning materials and solve your storage troubles.

12. Shift to Storage Bed

If your bed frame already has underneath storage, then great! You have sufficient space for out-of-season clothes, suitcases, and bulky linens. If not, strategize with shallow baskets or bins with lids you can easily position under the bed. This excess space can be used to store your best shoes, boots, and festive decorations.

Concealing stuff you don’t use daily under the bed will create a cleaner room and fewer obstructions in a small space. Plus, it minimizes mental fatigue and helps improve your sleeping habits and overall well-being.

 13. Declutter Your Wardrobe

If you have clothes you haven’t worn in months, it may be a good idea to let go of them. Deciding which pieces to keep and give away can be challenging. A good rule of thumb is to donate clothes you haven’t worn in at least a year to free up some space.

Start by removing everything from your closet and laying them on your bed, including your shoes and accessories. Put three baskets before you to separate which ones to keep, donate, or sell. Check each item individually and ask yourself when you last wore it. If the answer is last year, put it in a basket for sale or donation.

Keeping your outfits to a minimum can save money and time and avoid decision fatigue. People have limited decision-making energy, and the most successful people suggest using it for meaningful things. By automating your wardrobe — like how Richard Branson wears white shirts and jeans and Mark Zuckerberg has his signature gray T-shirt  — you’ll be less stressed and have the mental clarity to make better decisions.

14. Use the Ceiling Space

If there are seasonal extras you want to stash until you need them again — like bulky winter outfits and holiday costumes — take advantage of the ceiling space above your wardrobe. Buy some rectangular seagrass baskets for storing clothes you only wear during specific months. When it’s time to switch your wardrobe from summer to winter, you can do it seamlessly.

15. Think Like a Minimalist

Check for items you can remove throughout your entire home to expand the space optically. For example, swap bulky bedside tables in the bedroom with open vertical storage solutions. You can also replace it with a multipurpose nightstand with drawers for storing books or jewelry.

Minimalism can simplify your lifestyle and elevate your mental well-being. Its main principle is owning less and living mindfully with only necessary things.

A Clutter-Free Space Equals a Clear Mind

Clutter has multiple disadvantages to your mind. Owning too many unnecessary things can take a toll on your mental clarity.

You can live a happier and healthier life by maintaining an organized area and restricting your stuff to only what’s necessary. It takes creative thinking to strategize around expanding a small space. Give these 15 recommendations a try to solve storage woes and organize your home so it supports your mental health. Keep what’s essential and donate or sell stuff you don’t need.

Evelyn Long.
Evelyn Long
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Evelyn Long is a home living blogger with a passion for home organization and decluttering. She is the co-founder of Renovated and a contributor to other blogs like National Association of Realtors and Build Magazine.