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Last updated: March 16, 2021 • Home Improvement

Storage Ideas for Small Spaces on a Budget

Many Americans are used to living in a small space, and this is increasingly a reality for those who need to downsize or move in with relatives. But nobody would want to give up on their valued possessions. Some organization and some new ideas may be required. Fortunately, storage solutions can be found both at home and away from it, and they are cost-effective too. 

A recent study has shown that while newly built houses in the US may on average have increased in size a little from 2010 to 2020, in some large cities they have shrunk considerably. New homes in San Diego lost 259 square feet during that time, while those in Denver and Phoenix shrunk by 197 and 167 square feet, respectively. In addition, apartments lost about 90 square feet on average. It’s still more desirable to own a house rather than rent it, however, and any US homeowners feeling a space squeeze right now— plus those who are thinking of buying a place —  simply need to take a step back and address the issue. In particular, they will want to know how they can have ready access to all the possessions they and anybody living with them will require.

To solve this problem, we look at how anybody who lives in a small space and doesn’t have a huge budget can make use of storage, both in the home and by renting a self storage unit. First, many things can simply be taken out of the way. Second, in order to find a home for things that have to stay, organizational techniques and underused spaces in the house can be brought into play. To help fully maximize a home’s space, we then discuss the advantages of renting a self storage unit, how to choose a suitable one, and the ways to use it most cost-effectively. 

The First Steps When Making Space in a Home

modern universal unisex kids view of room design

It is also of course always a good idea to declutter living spaces and to keep them that way. Children tend to accumulate a lot of toys and clothes, making it more difficult for those working from home at this time to maintain a tidy home office. Many things can simply be moved out, and homeowners may find that some items they once considered essential are not in fact as essential as they first thought. These items can be sorted into three categories: to be thrown away, donated to charity, or stored. There are various techniques designed to help decluttering, and even professional companies that specialize in providing the service. 

Renovating a house can create space, and the furniture can be put in storage while this is going on. If residents find they don’t actually need all of it, or now prefer space-saving designs instead, it could be left in storage in case it’s wanted again if they move to a larger accommodation. Toys and games can also be stored, as if a family expects any new arrivals – or if they know others who will have children soon — they could be in use again before long. Clothes not currently in fashion are also common items to be stored away, so winter coats or summer dresses are better there than using up space in a wardrobe in a house’s living quarters. Storage can be done at home or at a self-storage facility.

Home Storage Techniques for Making More Space

modern kitchen countertop ingredients

There are many ways to organize belongings so they can be stored effectively and make a home seem more spacious. Shelves are always a great solution, either as free-standing units or individual items which can be put up almost anywhere. For example, wall spaces above tables and doors are often great places to squeeze in extra shelves and they won’t get in anyone’s way there. In addition, many cabinets and cupboards are actually taller than the items stored inside, so shelves slotted in at the bottom or the top can provide extra space.

An awful lot of clutter accumulates in bedrooms, and many people have discovered the advantages of beds with drawers underneath where all manner of things can be stored. Being utilitarian spaces, kitchens are often fully prepped for storing all the utensils needed there, although wheeled baskets under tables are an addition not everybody has thought of. Hallways and passageways, though they often look bare, offer extra storage possibilities: Shoes can be arranged on shoe racks rather than kept on the floor freeing up that floor space. 

Utilizing a Home’s Out-of-the-Way Spaces for Storage

modern architecture interior design luxury hallway

There are places in a house which are often forgotten but which come into their own when storage is required. The space under a flight of stairs may be an awkward shape but it can still accommodate some shelves or hooks for clothes. While dumping things on the tops of cupboards is possible, it looks messy, so adding a proper piece of cabinetry is the elegant answer. Even ceilings can be utilized by hanging baskets from them — these could contain items that might otherwise be left on coffee tables and other surfaces, such as TV remotes, board games and magazines.

Attics are rarely visited but are of course classic places for storage, though they may well be full already — doing a thorough declutter here too will be a good idea. Basements are rightly considered inappropriate for storage if they suffer from dampness, but with a bit of investment — improving ventilation, sealing up holes or installing dehumidifiers — they can be brought into action. Anybody lucky enough to own a garden shed might want to keep just tools, plant pots and non-perishables in there! 

Renting a Self Storage Unit to Create Space and Save Money

Self storage is a very cost-effective solution when space is limited at home as it is much cheaper per square foot than residential property. Of course, that varies considerably across the country, and also with regard to which unit size is needed, which can be judged by looking at a size guide. Yardi Matrix reported that in September 2020 the average street rates for 10×10 non-climate-controlled units in San Francisco and Los Angeles were approaching $200 a month, while in many large Texas cities they can be rented for an average of less than $100. Prices tend to mirror local residential prices to a large extent, so while New York is pricy, for example, cities further down the East Coast offer cheaper rates. 

Many homeowners are proud to have garage space for a car or two, but if nobody is commuting to work at the moment then one of them might be surplus to requirements. Putting a vehicle in a storage unit is a great option, it is very safe, and it is often cheaper than people imagine — in many cities it can be less expensive than an outdoor parking space. A climate-controlled unit may not be necessary, but a car should be properly prepared if it is going to be in storage for a long time. The garage could then be used as an additional storage space, perhaps for leisure equipment, or maybe as a ‘man cave’ for the person who no longer gets to admire his ride every day! 

How to Use Self Storage Wisely

open self storage

Choosing a self storage facility close to home helps customers benefit from having quick and easy access to the possessions they keep there. If they store equipment for sports or vacationing, for example, with a short walk or drive it can be picked up on the way to where they are going. Alternatively, city residents looking to save money might consider a wide range of facilities, as those further out of town could offer lower rents and be ideal for items that won’t be needed for quite a long time. 

As with organizing and decluttering a house, a self storage locker should be packed sensibly, with attention paid to getting as much in as possible but without causing damage. Clothes can be put in any wardrobes that are in there or hung in boxes that keep them from creasing. There are also special boxes for electronics equipment, for example. Quality containers should be bought that can be stacked in order to utilize the unit’s full height, which is usually about 8’. A climate-controlled unit can be rented for storing delicate items or in areas with extreme weather conditions, but a regular locker is more cost-effective for most other items.

All in all, anybody living in a space they feel is a little too small has a lot of options to improve that situation, and they won’t need to break the bank. Some homeowners may feel they have more people per square foot under their roof than is ideal, while others who live alone may not have the funds for somewhere larger. But homeownership is still the best way to live for many, especially as a home can be adapted and furnished to address the demands for space. With a little home reorganization, and maybe also the benefit of a self storage unit, homeowners can maximize their living space and keep their prized possessions at hand.


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