In January, I moved into a studio apartment in Los Angeles. As shoeboxes go, this one was at least a roomy shoe box—but the problem-solving began immediately. Where would I store my collection of seemingly identical white sneakers? Did I have room for a full-size bed? And the most important conundrum of all: Where one earth would I stash my air fryer? When you’re working with a small space, the questions never cease. That’s why we asked L.A.-based home organizational specialist, Jacqui Knapp, to spill her secrets for tackling a space that lacks, well, space.
Whenever she gets hired to transform a small space, Knapp says her strategy is twofold. First, she sticks with the basics and fights clutter at all costs. “I’m all about strategically placing things where people can see them easily, and they can continue to keep them organized in the future,” says. “With small spaces, nothing should just be there because there’s room for it. It has to have a real reason to be there.” Second, Knapp recommends building every room from the ground up. In other words, try to keep everything at eye level or above so that you can see it and make use of it.
As you’ll see in Knapp’s shopping list below, the key to small spaces is storage, storage, and (say it with me now) storage. Keep scrolling to see what she recommends for turning your shoebox into a haven.
The 8 Items Everyone Needs for Small Spaces
This cart can be whatever you want it to be. Fill it with spirits, art and crafts, linens, cleaning products, cookbooks—the choice is yours. This cart’s slim design means it can squeeze into tiny places (think: the space between the sink and the toilet, or the nook between the couch and the wall).
So your closet is small… or non-existent? These stackable storage bins are great for stashing your shoes or packing up bulkier items like sweaters or coats. Knapp also loves them for toy storage. So if your little one has a tiny bedroom, consider stacking these underneath the bed so their play things will be easy to pack away at the end of the day.
Is there anything less fun than playing the “where the hell are my keys?” game the moment before you need to walk out the door? A simple key ring is a total game-changer—at least, once you get into the habit of actually using it. It’s also a great place to hang your reusable grocery bags, sunglasses, purse, or anything else you might want to grab on your way out the door.
Yes! More storage. These tall wicker baskets are ideal for stashing things in corners or giving your plants a new, aesthetically-pleasing home. “I love using these for yoga mat and accessory storage. It’s also great for blankets and kids toys,” says Knapp.
But what about your miscellaneous sports equipment? Resistance bands? Yoga blocks? Ankle weights? Put everything in one place with these unobtrusive mesh bins. If you have a maximalist beauty routine, these are also a great place to stash your many creams and serums so they don’t take over the bathroom sink.
Junk drawer no more. Use this elaborate organizational system to address the chaos that is your silverware or desk drawer. If you own a lot of makeup, this set is also excellent for getting all your lipsticks, eyebrow gels, and mascaras in order.
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