SOS! Need help with a very small cottage

I rent a small 1950's cottage. We have very little storage and 2 closets. Very small rooms and no matter what I try everything looks cluttered. My house is very primitive country.
  19 answers
  • Pam Pam on May 16, 2012
    Buy baskets for storage of kitchen gadgets and samll appliances over the upper cabinets in kitchen. Use them in the bathroom for bath stuff and hair appliances etc. Go to Goodwill, flea markets, Habitat for Humanity for bookcases, paint them a complimentary color, and buy baskets that fit in the openings for storage of stuff. Any furniture that has a shelf, add baskets for storage. You will be surprised at how many places you can find to hide clutter. Buy some of those underbed storage bags and vacumn the air out to flatten them. You can hide several under your bed for extra linens, coverlets, pillows, seasonal clothes, etc. If you can move you couch away from the walls, stack storage containers behind it, paint a large board to put on top just low enough that it does not show over the top of the couch. Yu can cover with a large table cloth. Put a few things like a lamp, a few books and brick-a-brack for decoration on top and you have a sofa table. Only you will know that its all storage.

  • Kathy R Kathy R on May 16, 2012
    Small furniture is best for small places.

  • Tracy W Tracy W on May 16, 2012
    Paint with light colors, and don't use heavy curtains - if u can get away with sheers (or nothing) on your windows;or, maybe cafe' curtains.

  • Carol J Carol J on May 16, 2012
    I love Pam's response above. I also have a small house with few closets and made doors for some bookcases out of shutters - gives lots of storage and no one needs to look at it all. Also be sure to go to the ceiling with as much as you can to maximize the space.

  • Victoria D Victoria D on May 16, 2012
    have you try to build up? I mean use bookshelves I am in that process my cottage is a small 540 sq feet trailer with two small invented closets.

  • Terry J Terry J on May 16, 2012
    Instead of end tables or coffee table get old luggage and store inside. Old tins in the kitchen. Maybe a shirt around the bathroom sink. If you look at the sites above and use your imagination and think outside the box, literally.

  • Pam Pam on May 16, 2012
    Thanks Carol. I live in a one bedroom condo so I have the same problems with lack of closets and storage space. I bought a large pine armoire some years ago from a Walmart. I did a crackle finish, wind base color and white over top with the crackle and antiqued it with brown paste shoe polish. I them buffed it off and decopodged beautiful coorddinating fabric inside the doors. Everyone thinks it's an antique piece. I never tell them it was a Walmart find for $125. It holds so much in my bedroom. It has a french style to it and looks pretty. Keep your eyes open for pieces and mind open for ideas on how to finish into something beautiful.

  • Terri J Terri J on May 16, 2012
    Get anything that can have multiple uses - small chest for coffee table, wooden crates for end tables (just cover them), a little bench to store things in w/ coat hooks above for coats, can store pots/pans etc in oven.

  • Deborah E Deborah E on May 17, 2012
    Also, if yo can go up, even better. A hanging pan rack in the kitchen would help a lot on storage space and puts everything at your fingertips.

    • Dawn B Dawn B on Jan 22, 2015
      @Deborah E Can't go up- I'm 5'2" and just about touch the ceilings

  • Dawn B Dawn B on Jul 22, 2012
    Thank you for all your ideas!!!

  • Terri J Terri J on Jul 22, 2012
    Dawn B - you may also want to check w/ KMS Woodworks as he has a smaill cabin, and I am sure he probably has even more ideas. I also thought that maybe you could build a rafter like storage area for things you may not need that often. I would put something like that though over top of things where you can't bump your head.

    • Dawn B Dawn B on Jan 22, 2015
      @Terri J I'm 5'2" and can almost touch our ceilings lol

    Well, this probably isn't what you want to hear, but the first thing you need to do is get rid of everything you don't need. If you don't love it or use it, get rid of it. I freecycled a bunch of stuff last year; you know, stuff you aren't using but is too good to throw away. I could have had a yard sale, but I'd rather have my weekend. Get rid of those clothes that are a size you haven't worn in years. Get rid of that pretty soup tureen when you never make soup. Things that really have some value can be sold on Ebay - even clothes. Here are some good ideas. .

  • Darla Darla on Nov 05, 2014
    To make things less visually cluttered, get them out of sight. One way to do this is curtains, shades or doors on the front of your shelves. Another way is use of rhythm - use groups of containers that are alike (except for labels) instead of a bunch of assorted containers.

  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 14, 2015
    Agrees w/ others to get rid of stuff you haven't used in a year or more first then see what you've got for space. Do you have a regular ceiling or is your ceiling open to the rafters? If you have rafters you might be able to make a loft for storage maybe using your bedroom or kitchen as your base. You might even be able to put in stairs on the side of the cottage going up to the loft instead of the traditional ladder. If you don't have rafters, you can buy steamer trunks or even old-fashioned suitcases that are stacked to place less used items in like seasonal decorations.(i.e Halloween or Christmas) If you have the wall space you can get 2-3 bookshelves to put side by side. Then use decorative boxes or baskets to store whatever items you want. Hope this helps

  • Pat880866 Pat880866 on Mar 02, 2015
    In my old house I used garbage pails with circular pieces on top covered by floor length tablecloths for nightstands and even some lamp tables. I filled these with off season clothes and other items.

  • Shaz Mahmood Shaz Mahmood on Jun 28, 2015
    Try to build or buy small kitchen like cabinets in rooms above door n bed..try a lot of shelving..when floor space is less..try to think above...p.s. Keep a small steps ladder as well

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jun 30, 2015
    storage ottomans and benches... Check Ikea catalogue online for vertical storage ideas...

  • Debbi Morrow-Carlson Debbi Morrow-Carlson on Jan 20, 2016
    Another space is the wall on the inside and above your closet doors. Hang things you don't use so often there. A narrow shelf along the perimeter of the wall close to the ceiling can become a great place to display things without them cluttering up your table tops. You can also raise the bed to make space underneath for storage.They make drawers on wheels that slide in an out easily. A bed skirt hides them from view.

  • Fran McCarty Fran McCarty on Jan 22, 2016
    Use the storage under beds. Purchase bookshelves from thrift store and use baskets to store stuff. Also use baskets to store stuff under the coffee table. Or if extra seating is needed, use a milk basket and cut plywood top to fit it. Cover with foam, material and skirting to make a seat with hidden storage.