Find Your Hidden Space

by Steve Hartung 05/05/2019

Whether you’re a young professional moving to an urban flat or an empty-nester looking to downsize, the challenge of living in a smaller space is sometimes daunting. The things you want (keepsakes, books, collections, specialty kitchen appliances) and the things you need (room for clothes, a home office, space for a guest) vie for the same square footage. How can you fit it all into your space without it being a cluttered mess? Find the hidden spaces in your home.

Of course, first up is getting rid of items you no longer use, want, or need. Once that’s done, take stock of what remains. Seasonal items should go on one list and everyday items on another.

Resourcefulness
Pass a critical eye over your furniture. Can you use space under, behind or above it? Will it do double duty?
  • A narrow bookshelf set behind your sofa provides storage for seasonal items and functions as a sofa table.
  • Stack vintage suitcases or trunks filled with blankets, seasonal clothing or keepsakes beside the bed or sofa as an end table.
  • Slide baskets under a coffee table for smaller items you use often. Or turn a cubby shelf into a coffee table for dual use.
  • Put storage bins under the bed for sweaters, blankets, or guest pillows.
  • Store sheets and extra blankets under your mattress.
  • Use a tall bookshelf behind your bed. It replaces the headboard and nightstands, then adds extra storage both above and behind the bed. Keep seasonal items on the lower shelves behind the mattress and items you use often in the exposed shelves above.
  • If you rarely bake, store pans in your oven. 
  • Typically eat take-out? Store extra dishes in that unused dishwasher.

Creativity
A little creative effort goes a long way when looking for space. Hack something you already own or an inexpensive purchase into multi-purpose storage.

  • Hang shower rings from a hanger to hold scarves, ties, or tank tops.
  • Install a towel bar to a closet wall below the hanging clothes and hang your heels over it, freeing up much-needed floor space. Or, use a peg rack or stick-on hooks to hang sports shoes and flats.
  • Use binder clips to hold computer and charging cords in place and off the floor.
  • If the space between your bed and the wall is too small for a side table or nightstand, hang a floating shelf to hold books, your cell-phone, and glasses.
  • Add cushions to the top of a low storage shelf to create extra seating.
  • Add stick-on hooks to the insides of cabinet doors to hold lids and cutting boards.

Ingenuity
Innovative storage is an industry all its own. Retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, IKEA, Target, and several online-only outlets specialize in dual-purpose pieces to help get the most use from a small space. Here are some you may find useful:

  • Look for an ottoman that makes into a sleeper. Use it as your coffee table, then pop it open for casual overnight guests.
  • Buy a platform bed with drawers or one that lifts on hinges to access storage underneath.
  • Install a table that hangs on the wall and folds down when not in use.
  • Install modular shelving with a deeper shelf at desk height for a home office solution.

No matter how small the space, there are ways to maximize it. If your home is on the market, ask your real estate professional which items to leave out and which to find a hidden home to make the best impression on a buyer. 

About the Author
Author

Steve Hartung

Steve's background in Real Estate goes back to his purchase of his first Napa home in 1987. He successfully negotiated over 100 leases, contracts, and/or purchases during his 10 years with a National Corporation, as the Fleet and Facilities Manager. He completed the UC Davis Business Management Program in 1999, his Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation course requirements in 2002, has received his e-Pro designation in 2002, is a Graduate of the REALTORS Institute 2004, and has completed his Council of Real Estate Specialist requirements in 2005. He obtained his California Real Estate Brokers license in 2006. In 2007 he obtained his Certified REO Broker designation. Steve believes in a higher standard for REALTORS after obtaining his California Real Estate SALESPERSONS License in 2002, Steve made it one of his goals to acquire the experience, knowledge, and education to pass the very difficult California Real Estate BROKERS License Exam, May 2006 he was issued his BROKERS License and with the changing Real Estate Market Steve trained and passed the required courses to obtain his Certification as a REO Broker. Steve has a working relationship with a number of Banks and Lendors to assist with buying and Selling Short Sale and Foreclosure (REO) properties. Steve has served on a number Boards and Committees such as the Napa Chapter of North Bay Association of REALTORS, Local Government Relations. Steve's work ethic, dedication, compassion, and honesty are qualities his customers have grown to appreciate. He is a very involved father, and coach, as well as being involved in adults sports programs. He has a strong commitment to his clients, friends, and family. He enjoys their confidence when welcoming their referrals. Steve's personal hands-on approach is what his clients like most.