Use these apartment organization hacks to keep every room in tip-top shape

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Clean and organized drawer of perfume and makeup
(Image credit: Simply Sam)

Apartments can be a challenge to organize because, for the most part, space is limited. You simply don’t have the square footage you do in a house. An additional challenge of these spaces for renters is that closets, kitchens, and bathrooms were most likely designed in a way that was cost-effective for the landlord, but not necessarily optimal for organizing an apartment.

Still, this doesn't mean you’re bound to be disorganized, but you need to think creatively. Here are apartment organization hacks that are useful for every room in your home.

Bedroom organization hacks

One of the easiest ways to store extra clothing, shoes, and accessories is under the bed. "Never underestimate under-the-bed storage," says Sam Lund, professional organizer and CEO of Simply Sam (opens in new tab). "In any apartment, it’s always great to keep your seasonal items under your bed in storage containers so they don’t take up precious real estate."

Before clicking "add to cart," be sure to measure the space so you order the right-sized containers. She also suggests adding a storage shelf to one side of the closet for long-term storage. "We just did this in an apartment closet and it really helped our client stay organized with all their files, memories, and camping without getting a storage unit."

Another recommendation from Lund is to use slim hangers in the closet because they take up less space than other types of hangers do. It will also look the most aesthetically pleasing. "We are currently loving what’s called ‘non-slip rubberized hangers,'" she notes. "They are slim, things don’t fall off, and they don’t catch on things like velvet hangers do."

 Living room organization hacks

Living rooms are rife with opportunities for storage if you know how to do it properly. Storage furniture such as sofas and ottomans can be very useful for stashing linens or even off-season clothing. 

"Purchase furniture with hidden storage," says Lund. "This helps prevent things from getting dusty but also you can use clear containers inside to make things easily organized that maybe wouldn’t look great in a dining room or family room. Organize your cords, lightbulbs, pens, craft supplies, games, etc. in these cabinets."

Bathroom organization hacks

Between beauty and personal care products, and larger items such as towels and toilet paper, bathrooms — especially the area under the sink can become very messy if everything isn’t properly contained. Small stackable drawers are a great hack to keep these areas more organized. 

“They make so many lovely options now that go under the sink to create more space," explains Lund. "My favorites are the ones that are tall and skinny so you can stack another one on top and still have space beside it."

Kitchen organization hacks

While many people think of decanting as the best way to keep a kitchen organized, the costs of those plastic containers can add up quite quickly. They also aren’t the only ways to save space. Consider using nesting and stacking dishware to get the most from every square inch. “Nesting and stacking dishware is huge," says Lund. "I know that we all end up with mismatched stuff at some point but it makes a huge difference to splurge on a matching set that also saves space."

Lund also likes using vertical pan dividers. "Don’t lay those pans, cutting boards, and cookie sheets flat," she notes. "Stack them vertically. When we lived in an apartment we actually put this on top of our fridge to maximize space."

Nesting pans are also an option, as is the Always Pan (opens in new tab) from Our Place, which can replace eight different items in your kitchen. 

It’s also important to think about what you actually use. If you don’t cook a lot or only cook specific things, there’s no reason to buy more than a few pots and pans. Remember, it’s always easier to buy more as opposed to scaling down.

Helpful organization tips for any room

Vertical storage can be incredibly useful in small spaces such as apartments. Apartment dwellers must take advantage of every extra inch of space. “I always say to my clients would you rather see your stuff or be disorganized?” explains Lund. “Don’t underestimate height. Get a lightweight step stool and use your whole space from floor to ceiling for storage. You’ll be surprised by how seeing everything makes a big difference.”

For example, if you have a lot of knickknacks or collections and you aren’t sure where to put them, consider installing a decorative shelf in the living room or bedroom. Display, don’t hide your treasures. 

Another helpful hack is taking advantage of over-the-door storage. While many people use this for closets and bathrooms, know that any door in your home can be a great place to store things away, according to Lund. “Over-the-door storage can make a huge difference–we love them for cleaning supplies, bathroom items, and creating a small Mudroom when you don’t have an entryway!” 

Amanda Lauren

Hi, I’m Amanda Lauren. I’m a design expert and interior stylist who writes for Real Homes, Forbes, Real Simple among other publications. I live in Los Angeles in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park with my husband, and two dogs, Lulu and Milo. We also have a baby coming in spring 2023. I’m a big believer in finding beautiful things at all price points. There are so many places to find affordable things, you just have to look for them. If you don't find it at first, look harder!