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A studio apartment is the ultimate storage challenge, but with these tips you’ll be living spaciously and comfortable even in a small space.

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I moved into my first apartment—a St. Louis studio—with Frankie the pug almost exactly four months ago. It’s been a four-month learning experience, and I’m expecting to the lessons to keep coming until the day I move out! Here are my top five lessons so far.

5. Vertical storage is key in the closet.

I’m lucky to have shelves built in to my closet. They’re perfect for keeping my shoes lined up. I can’t stand sorting through boxes of shoes to find the right pair, and cleaning around them on the floor is more of a hassle than I need.

Shelves are cheap and easy to mount on the walls, if your landlords allow it. They keep your floors open (no moving furniture when you want to clean) and everything on them visible. You won’t lose a shoe or a sweater if it’s all out in the open, instead of hidden in a chest of drawers or a box.

 

storage for studio apartments

4. Vertical storage is key in the kitchen.

Actually, vertical storage is key wherever you can make it work. In a studio apartment or efficiency, counter space in the kitchen is at a premium. I’m pretty lucky to have about 4 square feet of it in my tiny galley kitchen. In addition to the minimal counter space, I’m working with two small drawers. In order to get the most out of my counters and drawers, I mounted a shelf and a curtain rod above the counter. This keeps my pots and pans and cooking utensils out of the way while keeping them easily accessible!

3. Avoid heavy furniture.

The bedroom and the living room occupy one rectangular space in most studios. When you’re living in such small quarters, dark, heavy furniture can make you feel even more cramped.

I opted for a very simple IKEA bedframe that takes up only a little more space than a plain old mattress on the floor would. It’s in a light, unfinished wood that matches the crate I’m using as a simple nightstand. As far as living room furniture goes, I chose a simple futon. Because it’s armless, it looks and feels much less bulky than a full-blown sofa would.

 

2. Keep clutter at bay.

It’s one thing when the desk in a big office gets a little cluttered with papers, utensils and “stuff.” But when you’re working with a tiny desk that lives out in the open in your living room (and bedroom), the “stuff” can really pile up and makes the whole room seem cluttered, and even smaller than it is. Any papers that need to be kept, I store in a big binder. My art supplies live in a plastic box on my bookshelf and any loose “stuff” stays in a black fabric cube.

Crate Table

 

1. Clean regularly.

This is the best advice I can offer. A studio apartment is so small that vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting is easy. But it’s also so small that not vacuuming, sweeping and dusting will make it feel even smaller. Letting the dirt (and/or pug fur!) build up is just as bad as letting the clutter build up—it’ll make your apartment feel even smaller than it is. And, as in any space, it’s much harder and more time consuming when you’re not cleaning on a regular basis.

READ ALSO:  The Benefits of Climate Controlled Storage: Why You Should Upgrade

The task of fitting three or four rooms into one seems daunting, but as long as you’re ready to take on the challenge, a studio apartment can feel like home. Just remember the lessons I’ve learned and you’ll love your tiny home in no time!

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