For most of us, renting an apartment—especially in a large city—comes with a particular downside: limited space. But rest easy, as there are many ways in which you can create more space even in a small apartment and turn your rental living space into a cozy home.
The local moving process is a wonderful opportunity for all renters to remove some of their clutter and organize their new living arrangements in order to open up the living space in the new place.
Getting rid of clutter during the moving process is an effective way to open up space in your new home. Your move is an opportunity to take stock of the items you own, and assess how many of them you should keep versus how many you should get rid of. There are no hard and fast rules to determine what’s worth keeping and what’s worth kicking, but try not to get too attached to things you no longer need or use.
A good first category is items that you can sell, including stuff that you can buy again later, if needed. Selling unnecessary items means more space and extra cash for moving day or for the new apartment. Good things to sell include large or unique furniture pieces, since people are always looking to circumvent expensive furniture store prices and get uncommon trinkets. Media items with product codes like books, video games, DVDs, or vinyl records are also good candidates for a yard sale. Other items in your inventory like clothes, toys, or memorabilia might have resale value as well; it really depends on the individual item.
For items that cannot easily be sold, donating to charity is always a good option. Items without much resale value like secondhand clothes, blankets, and toys can often bring a lot of use and joy to others. Many charities will even pick up larger items, sparing you extra stress in the middle of the moving process. Along with various local charities, nationwide organizations like The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and Vietnam Veterans of America offer donation pickups if movers schedule in advance.
When all else fails, some items need to be tossed away. The best way to dispose of items is to recycle them, provided that’s possible. Some items like paper or glass are easily recyclable via conventional methods, but others like large metal items require a little extra work. Companies like 1-800-GOT-JUNK will often pick up large garbage and scrap metals. Some items just need to be dumped, and oftentimes there are rules when it comes to dumping these large items. Check with your property managers on each building’s rules and the city regulations. Also check for laws on when you are allowed to dispose of furniture and other large pieces of trash, and where they need to be placed to be disposed of properly.
Moving into a new apartment should be fun, and it’s the best opportunity many people get to play pretend as an interior designer. Unfortunately, trying to arrange a small rental apartment to maximize the amount of space can also be stressful. Savvy space-savers can choose instead to relish the challenge of organizing their small surroundings and utilize some good practices to create space in a small apartment.
1. Think vertically
Utilizing height is essential in a small rental apartment. Making the most of all three dimensions is key to maximizing all available space, especially when you don’t have much of it. High vertical shelving help organize items and reduce clutter. Go floor to ceiling, whenever possible! Spice racks or other mantles can be hung in the kitchen to help add more space for storing food items. Hooks that hang over doors or sliding drawers can add storage for coats, towels, and other hangable items.
2. Invest in multi-purpose furniture
Multi-purpose furniture can be immensely helpful for creating storage space. An ottoman becomes a place to stash some extra blankets and pillows. Bed risers or a higher bed frame expand the storage available in the bedroom, and you can invest in plastic or fabric cubes for depositing smaller items into categories. A partially hollowed out coffee table can fit a lot of toys or smaller objects. Furniture is an excellent hiding place for extra items and having a place for everything will definitely reduce clutter.
3. Treasure the closet
With a small apartment comes little closet space. To keep organized, try to sort items such as winter clothes or formalwear in the same closet, and rotate the frequently used items based on seasonal needs. You don’t have to keep all of your clothes at reach. Keep your moving boxes around and stack them in the closets to take advantage of all available vertical space. Closet space is rare in a small apartment so making the most of every inch is crucial.
4. Use outside resources
Sometimes renters need to make some space by removing items from their apartments without getting rid of them. Storage is an excellent option for larger items that are only useful at certain times of the year. Busy renters can hire a full-service storage company to handle all factors of storing their items. More price-conscious customers can utilize self-storage, storage pods, or simply hand off some extra items to friends or family members.
About the Author: Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 25 years of experience in the moving industry. As a New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing.