22 Life-Changing Ways to Organize Your Small Apartment

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Before my husband and I moved in January, our last apartment of four years was fully loaded…but not in a good way. You literally couldn’t squeeze a toothpick into a drawer or closet without an explosion. We were an Amazon order away from utilizing the oven for sweater storage and the microwave for shoes. So, in our new place, I wanted to focus on A) getting rid of all the useless sh*t we accumulated over the last four years, and B) finding the best ways to utilize our new storage spaces!

It sounds simple, but organizing your things in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing and functional for your everyday needs is actually really hard! Before starting this journey, I’d seen many organizational upgrades from the professionals at Imagine It Done, a New York City-based organizing service, and I knew I had to reach out for serious help!

Like everyone, I needed a game plan that factored in my routines and life and alllllll of my things, so hiring someone to teach me their ways (and also do the heavy lifting) seemed like a good idea.

We collaborated on the bathroom (Beauty products! Toiletries! Towels! UGH!) and my closet. Honestly, I learned so much! Starting with a five-step process from Lisa Jacobs, founder and CEO of Imagine It Dones. The steps: edit, categorize, contain, curate, and personalize.

Whether you can afford to hire a professional organizer (I was lucky to get Imagine It Done’s service fee comped for our collaboration) or just need a quarantine project, here’s everything I learned about chic organization from the pros. Shall we?

If you have open wall space in your closet (or, honestly, wherever), add floating shelves immediately. You will thank me later! These create additional space for shoes and handbags. Bonus: Color-coding your shoes on the floating shelves creates a fun accent wall.

If you’re the queen of breaking, losing, or just forgetting what sunglasses you own, an acrylic nail polish wall display was basically made for you! This storage solution is chic and allows you to easily see what you own in the blink of an eye (heh). Bonus, if you have extra room, you can also utilize the space to store perfumes.

I’m not quite sure how I lived my first 30 years of life without drawer dividers. Yes, these literally allow you to create compartments or zones within your drawers. Essentially turning one drawer into two or even… THREE!

These are a must for storing linens and seasonal clothing (or literally anything). They minimize clutter and keeps everything in one place. Plus, wicker or metallic baskets can really elevate your space. Additionally, adding labels with bin clips will remind you what is stored in each basket, especially if your bins are stored above eye-level. Jacobs says, “The overall aesthetic is the most important factor in considering function for day-to-day living. If you see what you have, you know what you have—make sure to label bins if you cannot see the contents.”

My apartment has very high ceilings (not complaining!), which means some shelving and storage are out of reach. We have a ladder that was left by the previous tenant of the apartment, but pulling it out of the closet was not convenient. The Imagine it done team recommended this beautiful Hasegawa step ladder in white, and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs to reach things in high places on a regular basis. I love that it stands on its own, it’s lightweight, and looks like it’s part of our space. This specific ladder comes in different colors, which can add a fun poppy design moment.

Before reorganizing my closet, my hanger collection looked like a group of distant cousins, three times removed. Having a uniform set of hangers, like non-slip or acrylic, streamlines the look of your space while also maximizing the room you do have, especially if you’re still using those bulky plastic or wood hangers.

My bags were falling on top of each and this handy acrylic organizer with individual compartments prevents exactly that from happening. It’s also aesthetically pleasing and acts as a great design moment in your space.

These are the magical unicorn of closet hacks—trust me. They have changed my life! These save soooooo much space by keeping clothes uniformly folded, which makes your drawers and closets feel bigger. Additionally, they prevent your clothes from wrinkling. Genius!

These are my favorite purchase of 2021. Shelf dividers keep your perfectly folded clothing piles (via your new folding boards <3) in perfectly folded piles. They are also great for managing bulkier items like sweaters and jeans. A true closet miracle!!!

Command hooks are great for hat storage because they help preserve the shape of your hats (important!) while showcasing them in an elevated way.

Boot stuffers also help maintain the shape of your boots and keep them from falling on top of each other. The result is an aesthetically attractive look for your shoe display!

If you have lots of shoes like me or limited closet space in general, these maximize storage space and prevent your shoes from smooshing each other.

I thought there was no good way to store belts and accessories so that they’re easily accessible and look pretty. But I was wrong! Acrylic drawers are perfect for accessory storage since you can see exactly what you have within arm’s reach.

Acrylic drawer organizers are an absolute must! I use these inside my acrylic drawers to organize individual pieces of jewelry by category. For example, I have one for everyday necklaces, one for rings, and another for earrings.

If you have tons of jewelry like me, a hanging jewelry organizer will save your life! I love that it also utilizes the open space on your door, which for many people often goes unused.

These are the best storage hack for keeping clothing, accessories, and toiletries organized while still being able to see what you own.

These are especially great if your bathroom shelving is really deep like mine, they allow you to see your skincare products without them getting hidden in the back of the shelf.

Adding tiered shelving to your bathroom counters is one of my favorite hacks for makeup and skincare product organization! It lifts products off the surface creating space for additional storage.

I literally own 200 lipsticks but was using one before I bought the acrylic lipstick organizer. This storage hack allows you to slot each lipstick into a designated compartment so you can see everything you own!

We had a space underneath our sink in the bathroom that was not being utilized so I purchased a cart to store everyday products for easy access. I love how chic the cart looks in our bathroom and if you’re like me and have tons of make-up and beauty products this storage solution makes the every day products super easy to find!

There are pros and cons to every small apartment. One of the cons for me is that my new apartment doesn’t have a bathtub, so there’s no ledge or storage space for shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. Instead of keeping everything on the floor, I bought this standing adjustable shower caddy—and it’s been absolutely life changing. It keeps all our products off the ground and organized to perfection.

It can be hard to justify utilizing precious space on a hamper. For years I threw the dirty laundry in laundry bags smushed at the bottom of my closet. But not anymore my friends! I now have a beautiful hamper that adds an elevated look to my space and keeps my dirty clothes off the ground and the bottom of my closet space free.

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