Getting your first apartment is an incredibly exciting rite of passage. You’re out of your parents’ house and completely independent — paying your own bills, doing your own laundry and (hopefully) cooking your own meals.
But if there’s one thing most first apartment situations have in common, it’s that they are too small and lack adequate storage space. All of your treasured belongings — from childhood photos to college diplomas — have to go somewhere (especially if your parents have been eyeballing your bedroom as the new office / den / rec room since you were 16). It’s time to get creative.
Five storage tips for your first apartment
1. Pack smart and downsize, if possible. The way you pack can save a lot of headaches later, especially as you try to move items into their designated storage spaces. Group things together by the room they’ll go in, and label each box accordingly. Plus, as you’re packing, consider ditching things you will never use again, so that you’re not taking up valuable storage space in your first apartment with items you don’t want. Fresh start!
2. Purchase furniture with built-in storage. Many furniture pieces can double as storage facilities, so take advantage. A unique old trunk can serve both as storage space for blankets and pillows, as well as an entryway table for pictures and knickknacks. Many inexpensive ottomans or side tables come with storage space inside, ready to be filled with items that won’t fit in the crammed closets of your first apartment.
3. Maximize wall space. Don’t overlook the storage space sitting right in front of your eyes — the walls. Many landlords won’t allow you to paint your first apartment, so add shelving to jazz up a boring white wall and store some smaller items.
In the living or dining rooms, floating shelves can be conversation starters — and storage facilities — for cool collections, past vacation souvenirs, or trendy décor pieces. Meanwhile, in an office or bedroom, shelves can act as storage facilities for supplies or accessories, and still look attractive if you organize the items in baskets or small wooden crates.
4. Don’t waste hidden storage spaces. Your first apartment might actually have more storage space than you think. Have you looked under the bed? With a few shallow totes, that’s a perfect storage facility. What about behind that chair in the corner of the living room? Sounds like a great place to stash umbrellas or a basket with extra towels or linens! An awkward nook might be just the place for another bookshelf.
5. Rent a self storage unit. Instead of cluttering up an already cramped first apartment even more, rent a self storage unit for things you don’t use often — or don’t need at all — for now. Free up closet space by taking holiday decorations or out-of-season clothes and jackets to your self storage unit. Likewise, if you’ve got an extra twin bed or old child-size desk, put them in storage until you have a use for them in the future. Take a moment and find a storage unit near you.
Renting a small self storage unit at Life Storage, for example, can often be far more cost effective than renting an apartment with more square footage. Check out our storage unit estimator online.
If there is one piece of advice to leave you with, it’s this — do your laundry regularly. It’ll save on storage space and no one wants to visit an apartment that smells like your gym clothes. Have fun!
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