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How To Organize A Small House With No Storage

By November 11, 2022May 28th, 202412 Comments

Organizing a small house is a challenging project. It can sometimes feel almost impossible to organize a small house when there is no storage. That is when you need to be creative and think outside the box. As a professional organizer I am often asked how best to store things when there is no obvious or apparent place to store them. Here are my tips.

Tips to organize a small house with no storage

Evaluate what you own

Be critical as you decide what you are keeping. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Do you use it? If you know you use something and use it often keep it in a handy spot.

How often do you reach for this thing? If it is only once a year, is it something you can borrow from a friend?

Is it a treasure? Maybe it is something you truly love maybe because your child made it for you. Perhaps it is a verified collectible that you love having around. Keep these things. Remember, though, space is limited in your small house. The more you keep, the less space you have.

Declutter often

 Take 10 minutes everyday to declutter one small space. Use the Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time deck of cards for inspiration. You know you have 10 minutes every day to give to decluttering your home. When there is no storage space available, decluttering becomes even more important.

Organize a small house by installing shelves

Use vertical space and install shelves. Look up as you are evaluating the space available. Where can you put shelves? Even a single shelf or a pair of shelves can not only be useful but also decorative. Use them to hold glasses and dishes in the kitchen, books and knick-knacks in the office or bedroom, or extra towels in the bathroom.

You can even put skinny shelves on the back of doors. The Container Store has an Elfa system made specifically for the backs of a pantry door. This system is also perfect for the back of a bathroom door. Use it to hold extra rolls of toilet paper, boxes of tissue, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and anything else you need to. This Elfa system is particularly handy when the cupboard under the sink has limited or no available storage space.

Be creative with your furniture

Lack Of Space Interior Design Mistake. Sofa Furniture Does Not Fit

Think about size as well as space. You do not want to place one or 2 massive pieces of furniture in a small room. The furniture will overwhelm the room. Look for furniture that has clean lines and that will complement the space available.

Select pieces that have built in storage space. For instance, drawers under a bed, a hollow footstool, or a chair that can also be a stepping stool. It’s important when you want to organize a small house with no storage that the furniture in the house serves more than one purpose.

If the bed has built in drawers underneath it that gives you storage space for bulky clothes, extra blankets, another set of sheets, or anything else you want to store there.

A hollow footstool can hold any number of things including but not limited to board games, a throw blanket, or CDs or DVDs.

These are just a few examples of furniture with built in storage. I know you can find more options if you take the time to look outside the box.

Use storage bags

Use different sizes of storage bags to contain things instead of using boxes. You can slip large storage bags under furniture. This is great for blankets, towels, and out of season clothes.

Use small storage bags to separate collections of things. You will probably want to contain these bags in a box. It will be easy to find the group of things you’re looking for if they are all together in a storage bag. Store the box holding the collections out of the way on a high shelf.

Here are the benefits

When you take the time to organize a small house even though it has no storage you will have nothing extra. There will be no clutter shouting at you and nothing to trip over. The benefits are that when you have less stuff you have less to take care of. You will have the things you need, use, and love and little more than that because there’s no space. And you will have more time to spend with people you love and doing things you want to do.

For more tips like these sign up for my monthly newsletter and connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release Repurpose Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.


  • I’m a big fan of furniture with built-in storage. It’s a great solution to put things away when space is at a premium. Also, shelves in all their forms have been a lifesaver in our small condo. And baskets can easily be places on those shelves to store little bits and bobs while also leaving the shelves looking tidy.

  • John Trosko says:

    It is about finding more space but it’s also about lightening the load. You hit a wall when decor/hobbies collide with life’s necessities; office supplies, kitchen overflow, extra linens, you name it. It’s a painful process that can paralyze anyone. You’re right, you have to get down to less of what you don’t really need and make those tough decisions. Get some help and focus on the bigger picture. I prefer larger more substantial solutions like wall units or built-ins corner-to-corner over things like a storage ottoman or one pretty box.

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    I’m snack-size, and there’s only one of me, so even though I have only a one bedroom apartment, it’s more space than I need 99% of the time. That said, I couldn’t care less about furniture beyond a place to sit, sleep, and eat — and a place to keep all my books. But for clients who have small spaces, it’s always and adventure to find creative ways to give them more space. I’m a huge fan of storage ottomans and vertical storage, and of course, constantly winnowing what you have to be everything you need and want and nothing you don’t. Great tips for doing just that!

  • Seana+Turner says:

    Small spaces are challenging. It’s hard because often small spaces are rented, and then there are limits on what you can hang on the wall.

    I love storage ottomans. They can hold a lot and whatever is inside is very conveniently location. Frankly, I find myself wondering why all ottomans aren’t made for storage. Same goes for coffee tables! My daughter suggested storing out of season blankets and clothes between the mattress and boxspring, which I thought was a great and clever idea!

  • Great tips, Diane! This is my favorite topic. I have a smaller home and have to declutter often so we can continue living here. I love finding hidden spaces like under stairs, behind-the-door organizers, and cutting into walls to add extra storage in a bathroom or basement. We had a unique bump out in our bathroom and found that it was only hiding 1 pipe in it. We took the drywall down and made cubbies to hold my towels. It worked great, and the towels are near the shower. Yay!

  • Kim says:

    I am someone who lives in a small space and these are really great tips. I had to laugh at your photo of the couch, probably because I can so relate. Lol

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