Small apartment? Even smaller budget? Read on for practical organization tips that will maximize and optimize the small spaces in your cramped and cluttered home. 

This is a how-to on making your home look and feel more spacious and comfortable, especially helpful for those of you residing in that cramped-between-jobs-just-graduated-transitioning-to-adulthood apartment, like me. I don’t know about you, but if my home is cluttered, my mind quickly follows suit and I start to lose it a little bit. Which, it kind of is right now. And I kind of am. But do as I say, not as I do! (In the middle of moving my fiancé into my place - we’re working on it.)

Now, hold on to your hats, I’m about to reveal to you my super top-secret technique for organizing anything and everything.

Alright, here goes nothing: Ensure that there is a place for everything and everything has a place!

You may have already guessed that I’m into clichésso you should also know that I’m not kidding—this is probably the most useful yet underutilized advice on the road to decluttering not only your home, but also your life. Cliché or no—if it works, it works.

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Start simple:

  • Put things back where they belong. Done watching a movie? Move it from your DVD player back into its case. Decided not to wear those pants today? Don’t leave them on the bed or floor. Hang them back up in the closet. Just do it. You will thank me later when you don't have to declutter.
  • Down with “junk” drawers! A catch-all storage space seems like a great idea on how to declutter your home at first, but, trust me; you don’t want to go there. Eventually, that drawer will fill up and then you’ll need another one, and another, and, soon enough, the junk will take over. They are toxic, I tell you, toxic.

I know that old habits die hard. (Sorry, another cliché. I can’t help it, it’s the truth.) But it will be worth it ten times over. Sometimes living with the mess seems like the easy way out of a painfully long and tedious process, but you will feel so much better after you get it together and organize your home! Remember that you deserve to love the space you live in, no matter how big or small. Don’t ever settle for less.

Want the transformation without the effort of strenuous household organization? Storage furniture is your new best friend. From coffee tables to ottomans, and even litter boxes, they have it all. There are options for every budget!

For example, old and worn luggage and trunks from your local thrift store are an easy and inexpensive way to add extra storage to a room. Added bonus: They give your decor a chic, vintage appeal, as well as a cool place to organize your things!

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Organizing Tips  Vintage Luggage Trunk Ottoman for Living Room Storage Wall Clock Area Rug Velvet Couch

Images Via Belle Maison

Organization Tips  Vintage Luggage Trunk Night Stand for Bedroom

Another great multi-purpose item for your living room is the storage ottoman. It packs three convenient uses into one small piece of furniture. It’s a foot rest, a storage space, and can even be used for extra seating for guests. Depending on your budget and skill set, you can either buy or DIY. Personally, I usually opt for DIY. I love to craft, and love having unique handmade pieces in my home that I know nobody else will have. But this item, unlike most, is one that you can actually purchase relatively cheap in-store. The DIY is definitely cheaper, at right around $30, not including time and effort.

The Buy

Here are a couple storage ottomans that you can buy from Target for under $60. (Don’t you just love Target? If I could marry a business entity, it would most definitely be Target.)

Organization Tips Target Storage Cube Ottoman in Black With Hinge Top

Via Target

Organization Tips Target Round Storage Ottoman in Gray

Via Target

The DIY

I’ll take you step-by-step through the project, but remember that all the specifications (size, color, etc.) are completely up to you! (Instructions adapted from SawdustGirl.)

Materials: 

  • 3/4″ (thickness) lumber of your choice cut (measure twice, cut once!) into the following pieces 

               **2 pc. 16 1/2″ x 14″ 

               **2 pc. 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ 

               **2 pc. 14″ x 14″ 

               **2 pc. scrap strips or 4 scrap blocks of lumber (any size) 

  • high-quality wood glue 
  • finish nails and/or 1 3/4″ wood screws (this tutorial uses both a 16 gauge nail gun and SPAX MDF screws) 
  • felt or plastic bumpers (to protect your floors) 
  • staple gun and batting/fabric for upholstering (est. 1 yd.) ​​

Remember, safety first! Always use appropriate gear to protect your eyes, ears, lungs, etc. 

1. Place the two 14″ wide side pieces so they will be parallel. *Use some butcher paper to measure and draw out the ottoman’s foot print to help keep your pieces aligned.*

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 1

2. Attach the 12 1/2″ wide side pieces inside the 14″ wide pieces to create a 14″ x 14″ square box. Hold together using a combination of wood glue, screws, and nails (or all three for extra security).

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 2

3. Attach a 14″ x 14″ piece on the bottom of the box, securing with your previously chosen method.

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 3

4. Attach cleats on to the top piece to keep the lid in place. Here, a scrap of wood about 1″ wide by 12 1/2″ long is used, but you could use 4 smaller blocks of wood if you placed one in each corner. *Be sure to leave 3/4″ of space on all sides of the outside of the cleats so that they will fit snugly inside the box.*

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 4a
Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 4b

5. Time to upholster. There are many different ways to do this. Here, we start by stapling on some batting, then sew the fabric into a loop, pull onto the box, fold the edges over, and finish by stapling onto the top lip and onto the bottom of the box. *Remember that it doesn’t matter how messy your fabric stapling job looks on the inside because you will rarely see that!*

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Step 5

6. Last step! Attach bumpers on the bottom of your benches so that the staples/nails on the bottom won’t scrape up your floors.

Organization Tips DIY Storage Ottoman Final

Images for DIY Storage Ottoman Via SawdustGirl.com

And, voila! You have a super cute, super unique foot rest, bench, and storage container all in one! Whether you’re a DIY-er or prefer to shop in-store, make your home, no matter how big or small, work for you with these simple home organization tips! 

This is a make-it-work moment!

Fashion Consultant Tim Gunn Organization Tips
Tim Gunn 
Fashion Consultant/My Idol                 

I hope you all enjoyed this post and found it helpful! If so, please share with friends and family you feel may enjoy it as well. We at FMW, along with our readers, look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts in the comments section below.

**Featured image via Zillow