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There are perks to living in an apartment. It’s (usually) more cost effective than a single-family home, some have amenities like pools and gyms, there’s no pesky yard work, et cetera, et cetera. 

Unfortunately, there’s one glaring challenge to apartment living: the lack of space. Finding enough nooks and crannies for every odd and end can feel like a never-ending battle, especially if your “odds” far outnumber your “nooks.”

Nevertheless, apartment dwelling doesn’t have to feel cramped, regardless of your square footage. With a willingness to adapt to the surroundings, a little imagination, and some elbow grease, even those of us in the most compact spaces can start living large.

Great buys for apartment dwellers

Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home Book (Kindle Version)

Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home Book (Kindle Version)

This great place to get started with designing and decorating your apartment. I reference it for inspiration and ideas, and it’s a gold mine of useful advice.

 Neu Home Over the Door 6-Basket Hanging Storage Unit

Over-The-Door Hanging Basket Organizer

This is an efficient way to use the space on the back of a door — an area that too often goes unutilized. 

 Sauder Caraway Etagere

Over-The-Toilet Standing Cabinet

This is one of my most useful bathroom accessories, as it provides much-needed extra storage, and it looks good to boot. 

Hanging Broom and Mop Grippers

Hanging Broom and Mop Grippers

No need to take up pantry space with these handing broom and mop hangers, which attach to your wall with Command Hooks, so you’ll never have to worry about ripping off paint.

Convertible furniture

If you want to make the most of your furniture, then dual-use pieces are your best option. Consider a futon or a sofa-bed that allows a living room to double as a bedroom or a bedroom to double as an office.

Sauder Dakota Pass Lift-Top Coffee Table

If you have limited space for a dining area, you can get a coffee table that lifts and extends to serve as an eating surface in the living room. There are many types of dual-purpose furniture that can help you make the most of limited space.

Assess unutilized space

Walk through every room in the apartment and ask yourself if there’s any hidden storage space; in the bedroom, for example, underneath the bed is often an uncharted desert of wasted space. 

 Whitmor Zippered Underbed Bags

Consider under-bed storage bins for sweaters, linens, or other bulky items that you don’t need regularly. To increase storage capacity, you can buy bed risers (depending on your bed frame) and as much as double the amount of space. Just make sure you’re using a bed skirt that can keep your special hiding place under wraps. 

Get the most from your closets

Tension rod

Closets can offer a wealth of alternative uses with a little imagination. Removing closet doors and replacing them with a tension rod and curtains is often one of the first things I do in a new apartment. 

A fully accessible closet can easily house a small dresser or even a desk, freeing up floorspace and creating a secret mini-office. I’m writing this piece from my personal “clo-ffice” right now!

Hanging storage galore

Unused wall space is one of your greatest assets when it comes to maximizing the capacity of an apartment. Floating shelves can be useful for displaying photos and artwork as well as storing a small book collection or beloved knick knacks.

Prepac Wall Cabinet

Hanging cabinets can also add a tremendous amount of hidden storage. Perhaps the most useful addition I’ve made to my apartment comes in the form of these cabinets

If you use toggle bolts, you can hang this type of cabinet without making huge holes in the wall. They’re great for drywall because once you make a small hole, you can feed the toggle end in, and they open behind the drywall, creating a solid anchor for hanging almost anything. 

Jettison the junk

A big part of maximizing living space is keeping it free of extraneous junk. That’s not to say that there’s no room for sentimentality; however, it’s important to hone our skills of selectivity when deciding what to keep. 

A good rule of thumb espoused by decluttering guru Marie Kondo is to hold an item and ask yourself whether it “brings you joy.” If it does, you should feel no shame about keeping it. If it doesn’t, drop it like a bad habit. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, completely altered the way I view belongings. I highly recommend this read for anyone struggling to declutter a cramped apartment.

Tips for maximizing space in your apartment

  • Be on the lookout for hidden storage potential.

  • Only keep those items that have specific sentimental or practical value to you.

  • Don’t be too concerned with the “rules” of household space. You can make the space whatever you want.

  • Be adaptable. Look at the potential of each room and be willing to use it as efficiently as possible.

  • Use furniture and wall fixtures that can offer you more than one use or benefit.

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Adam Reeder writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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