One of the first things people ask when they decide to live in a tiny home is, “How much will I have to downsize?”
Surprisingly, it may be less than you think.
Tiny homebuilders, and the owners who live in them have become storage savvy. The following 10 tips help tiny homeowners maximize their limited space, and help the rest of us make the most of the space we have.
1. Go Modular
You’ve heard of modular sofas where cube-like pieces get reconfigured multiple ways depending on the space. Imagine if each of those cubes doubled as a storage chest. Modular cubes work well in tiny homes because they do double duty, transforming a sofa into a bed, or if the homeowner needs more space, they can stack the units against a wall.
2. High Shelving
Instead of crown molding, try high shelving, which means constructing a shelf near the top of a wall or around the perimeter of a room. High storage options perfectly stores items you don’t need every day.
3. Cabinets Under the Stairs
Many time homeowners use the space under their stairs for cabinets, drawers, and cubbies. Take it one step further by using the higher steps to accommodate a hanging closet. If you prefer the look of a spiral staircase, build the steps with drawers underneath that swing out.
4. Outdoor Storage
When it comes to finding extra storage space in a tiny home, there’s no rule that says you only have your interior to work with. Tiny homeowner Bela Fishbeyn, who chronicles her family’s tiny home life on thisxlife, recommends setting up an outdoor storage area. “Switching to a tiny home generally means access to more outdoor space,” Fishbeyn says. “Do yourself a favor. Stop thinking that your living space needs to be storage space and set up an outdoor storage area instead. This may free up an entire room in your house!”
5. Cubbies and Drawers Under Sofas and Beds
These are a no-brainer, and one of the most utilized storage solutions in tiny homes. Depending on the size of the room, you can opt for drawers that go the full length of a bed and really make the most of the space.
6. Below the Floorboards
This is easiest to do when you’re building new, but it makes a lot of sense. Having a trapdoor on the floor to house things like sports or cleaning equipment isn’t just a fun feature, it stores things out of sight, and doesn’t take an inch away from your living space.
7. Nooks and Crannies
Look around any tiny home and take note of where you see empty space, like the spot above your refrigerator or between a bed and a nightstand. We get so used to seeing these dead spaces it becomes easy to overlook them, but these provide great opportunities to install shelving, cubbies, or custom cabinets that can house all sorts of things.
8. Under Shelves and Cabinets
It’s easy to forget the space below shelves and cabinets as a potential storage solution. In a kitchen, for example, try gluing Mason jar tops underneath a shelf or cabinet to take advantage of the storage space below the shelf, too. Fill the jars with spices and just twist them to lock them in place. You can do the same thing in a bathroom to keep Q-tips, cotton balls, and more essentials handy.
9. Overhead Cubes
Most people think of cabinet-style storage as having to go against a wall, but overhead storage cubes can work just as well as cabinets, especially in a kitchen where you tend to have a lot of items to store. (Just place them high enough to avoid accidental head bangs.) Since kitchen and pantry items tend to get used daily, consider foregoing doors and leaving them open, so everything is within easy to reach.
10. Rolling Cabinets
Putting casters on cabinets and bookcases instantly makes them mobile, so you can move them around depending on where you need them. This may not add extra space to your tiny home, but it makes the space itself more flexible, so you can make it work for you how and when you need it.
Do you have any tips or tricks to maximize space in a tiny, or regular, home? Let us know in the comments below.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.