Clutter in Small Living Spaces

How to Stay Sane in Small Living Spaces – Part 1

Clutter in Small Living Spaces
Photo by Damian Gadal

How to Stay Sane in Small Living Spaces – Part 1

Tired of walking into cluttered rooms, lacking counter space in the kitchen when you're trying to cook dinner, seeing the heap of barely worn clothes growing on top of the treadmill? These things can happen in any size home, but can be especially frustrating in a small one.

Is it the clutter that annoys you the most or is it that you don't have anywhere to put stuff? Is it the growing heaps? Or is it the frustration associated with never using a particular item?

Organizing in small spaces can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. In this article series, I'll be sharing some tips that I've used in the past and now recently to help me stay sane in our small living spaces.


Somehow, over the years, you've accumulated "stuff". Maybe you received an item as a gift and sometime between then and now it got shoved in a closet or in a box in the basement. Or maybe you purchased the new popular thing that was going to change your life, used it for about a week, and then fell out of the groove. It got pushed to the side and eventually in the garage.

Purging is the first step to staying sane in small living spaces. When you're limited on storage space, holding onto things that you'll never use is simply insane. Whenever you open the closet, you see it and then your mind goes straight to the frustrating fact that you haven't had time to use it or that you still need to get rid of it.

Now is the perfect time to start getting rid of those things you're never going to use. Since this process can be very overwhelming, I suggest purging one small section at a time. It could be one shelf in the hall closet or one cabinet in the kitchen. Start small. If you have the time, try purging one small area every day. If time doesn't allow that often, give once a week a shot.

What things could you purge? Obviously, the things you'll never use. But also duplicates and triplicates of the things you really only need one of, like certain kitchen utensils. Have you accumulated six spatulas, three pizza cutters, two can openers, four sets of measuring cups? There are certainly times when you would want more than one of something, but consider how many you really need. And if you have the space in your kitchen drawer for all of the items, start considering which ones you could part with. If digging through the drawer searching for that one item you need stresses you out, it's time to take some things out.

But where do you put the stuff you've purged?

It's hard to commit to getting rid of something, especially if you're like me. So, put the stuff in a box and set it aside for a week or two. This gives you a chance to make sure you won't want to take anything back.

Once you've made your final decision about the fate of an item, set it aside for a garage sale, give it to a friend or family member, put it on consignment, or donate it.

Take back your small spaces by purging the things you don't need or want. You'll be so glad you did! Stay tuned for Part 2

Jody Calkins
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