I feel so lucky to have this talented blogger Flavia from Neat House Sweet Home guest posting for the Arts & Classy readers today. She is amazing and has some valuable tips that you can apply today in your home!
I have said it many times and I will say it again: I am obsessed with storage. Anything that can help me contain my belongings and keep clutter at bay, has my heart. But, at the same time, I have to face the fact that there are many changes I can not make at home.
Organizing your rental home could be a challenge sometimes. Mostly because you can not make permanent changes to the place and also because if you do change something (that is not permanent) you want to make sure you can take it with you when you leave.
I get you. I am a tenant myself and I struggle trying to get things done because – sadly- it is not my home. I can not build a mudroom, I can not rip the horrible wire shelving off the closets and I can’t stand the sight of vertical blinds. But, I am also a person that sees the glass half full, and today I want to share with you these 5 tips on organizing your rental home on a budget and still make it feel like it should: like home.
1. Think Outside The Box (and use a box)
As small as our laundry room is, we use the shelving wisely by thinking outside the box. With this, I mean we do not necessarily store laundry detergents and laundry related items only inside the small cupboard.
One stormy afternoon, I recycled mail boxes I had saved from a few deliveries, wrapped them up with scrapbook paper and made some labels. I realized that I could definitely use the space in the laundry room cabinet to store those lose ends that didn’t have a home, and the boxes were perfect to corral those things.
You too could use recycled boxes (shoe boxes anyone?), and make room for light bulbs, batteries, cables, outdoor toys, sunblock, bug repellent spray, etc. Basically, anything that doesn’t have a designated place at home could be store in small containers in your laundry room shelving.
2. Mix Style With Practicality
Let’s talk about your kitchen, shall we?
We have heard and read it many times: cluttered kitchen counters make a home look untidy and messy. I could not agree more. However, unless you are trying to sell your home (and we are talking about rentals here 😉 ) or the ‘home staging police’ is coming to visit, you can use your counter space as you wish!
Here are some ideas:
- Save cupboard or pantry space by creating a work station next to your stove. On a small tray, keep the everyday cooking essentials such as oils, salt and pepper shakers, utensils and even your fresh herbs (if you have a green thumb!).
- On a different corner, create a coffee station next to your coffee brewer. On a tray or small basket, keep an airtight container with coffee or a small bowl holding coffee pods. Add a couple of mugs, teaspoons, sugar and sweeteners and you have a coffee bar!
- Buy an inexpensive mail holder and place it on the kitchen counter. Use it to hold keys, receipts, loose change, phones and chargers, and mail -of course-. If you keep up with the receipts and mail daily, your counter will not look cluttered, I promise!. An inexpensively organized junk drawer saves you a lot of trouble too.
3. Use Up the Wall Space
At your rental, you can’t build an extra room, knock down a wall or install a built-in cabinet. That’s when you have to start thinking on how to use the most out of the space you have.
Let’s use a bathroom as an example. If you live in a small rental, chances are that a bathroom for the family, serves also as a guest bathroom and as a powder room for when you have company.
A small and practical cabinet hung on the wall above the toilet, can serve as stylish storage for towels, washcloths and the like. Leaving the space under the sink available to hide the non decorative and not-so-pretty stuff like toilet paper, trash bags, hair styling gear, toiletries, razor blades, shampoo, even detergents.
4. Think Hidden Storage
If you live in a small apartment, you know you must use every available square inch wisely. In an apartment, there isn’t a basement – or an attic for that matter- where you can ‘hoard’ boxes full of seasonal items.
But, no matter where you live, you will always have a couple of suitcases that you use for travel. Those suitcases are probably stored under a bed or on the top shelf of the spare (or kids?) room closet.
Use the room inside the suitcases to store seasonal items. Whether it is your Christmas (or any holiday) decorations or your winter clothes and gear, a suitcase is always a great choice. Not only your items will be at your fingertips when you need them, but they will be well kept year round. Your clothes (or anything really) will be protected from dust and inclement weather. Not to mention, you can save a big chunk of money by ditching the pricey (and money pit!) storage unit.
5. Disguise That Ugly Wire Shelving
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I wish I could rip the wire shelving off every closet in the house. But I can’t.
My main problem with the wire is the cracks. Ugh!, if you place something that is not big, stable or wide enough, then it wobbles and either falls through the wire or just falls sideways on the shelf. It is really annoying. My best advice to you is: purchase inexpensive baskets.
Baskets or decorative boxes are sold at every dollar store, craft store or superstore, for cheap. Keep an eye out for sales, usually once a month!. If you move out, you can take your baskets with you and, they are so versatile!
I transformed my underutilized and tiny master bathroom closet just by placing a basket on each wire shelf.
Where Do I Start?
Organizing your small rental is not difficult at all. And being on a budget does not make the task impossible. Basically, imagination and baskets, old boxes or plastic containers can help you do the job. Thinking outside the box (or inside 😉 ) will open a world of ideas.
Have a small foyer? Purchase a vintage secretaire (they are abundant and cheap at flea markets and state sales) and transform it into your ‘welcome station’. When open, it can serve as your home office.
As always, in organization, DIY and home decor, the possibilities are endless. And the rules are made to be broken in order to add character and personal touch.
Have fun organizing!