my top 10 small space essentials

Every object in our house has to serve like 10 purposes (because #mytinybungalow), and, although there was a slight learning curve, I feel like after a few years I can safely say I understand how to live and function in a small space. I think I’ve actually kind of become a little obsessed, but that’s a whole other blog post. Anyway, if I had to narrow it down to my absolute must-have essentials for a small space, these would be it:

custom-ish closet system
This bad boy is hanging out at the top of the list because it is a lifesaver and 100% necessary. Completely custom closets can get expensive fast, so compromise with something that utilizes your small closet more than builder-grade systems, and even allows you to make some adjustments if necessary. We used Elfa from The Container Store, but Ikea has great options, too. I suggest waiting for a sale on Elfa and going with that option because the quality is soooo good.

baskets baskets baskets
If you’re living in a small house like ours and haven’t experienced the miracle of baskets yet, then hop to it! You’re seriously missing out. Baskets don’t just organize my stuff, they make me feel like I have my life put together. I have found them to be especially helpful in the bathroom. Here are some faves:

collapsible laundry baskets
I’ll admit, collapsible laundry baskets are something I didn’t think was ever super necessary until I lived in space where I literally had to decide between the laundry basket or one of my dogs. Even if you’re not living tiny, I guarantee you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one of these once you have one.

unexpected storage
I have done some serious recon on this subject and consider myself the unexpected storage master. You absolutely have to sneak it in everywhere when you have zero extra space, so take advantage of benches, TV credenzas, bed platforms, ottomans, etc..

rethink doors
If you run into issues in your home with door placement or the swing of it being in the way, think about sliding doors. Installing our barn door was probably one of the best things we’ve done in our house. It saved us weeks of construction, time and lots of headaches.

Part of decorating a small space is tricking the mind into thinking it has more space. Large mirrors can open spaces in ways you never thought possible. Pro tip: this works even better in a room with a monochromatic color palette. And bonus points if your mirror also has a bit of storage, like a shelf or hooks! Here are some that I loooove: 

s hooks
Not sure where or how to store something? Get a ‘s hook’! OK, so maybe it doesn’t work for every scenario, but hanging storage solutions have come in handy for us. I highly recommend taking a look at your kitchen and seeing where you can hang stuff versus taking up that oh-so-valuable counter space. I’ve even used them to hang my jeans!

shelf dividers
Behold the solution to all your cupboard storage woes — shelf dividers. If you take a quick peek into your bathroom, hall or kitchen cupboards right now, there’s probably tons of wasted overhead space between shelves. Take advantage with these lucite shelf dividers from The Container Store. You’ll thank me later, trust me.

hidden cords
If there’s one thing that makes a small room look crowded, it’s technology cords. If you’re not into hiding cords in your walls, all you need to do is get yourself a cord catch. They’ll change your space (and life), I’m telling you.

adjustable over-the-sink cutting board
Someone gave me one of these as a gift recently and it was like this miracle I didn’t know I needed. It has seriously been a game-changer during meal time in our house and I couldn’t recommend getting one more. The little basket on the side is great for holding compost before I’m able to take it outside to our bin, too!

Do you have any tips, tricks or hacks for small space essentials? If so, please share — I’d love to add them to my bag of tricks for tiny living!

photography by Ellie Lillstrom, styling by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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