5 Storage Ideas for Small Spaces on a Budget

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Do you love collecting stuff?

When I say stuff, I mean everything from office supplies to kitchenware, to books to craft items, and other odds and ends that you find yourself wondering if you might need at a later time.

When we pass by thrift stores, bargain shops, garage sales, we suddenly find ourselves purchasing items that we “need”, only to find them a few months later when we are decluttering, tossed to the bottom of our drawers and the back of our shelves, and we wonder “Why did I even buy that?”

If you’re a student living in a small dorm room or you live in an apartment or house with just one bedroom and barely enough resources to get by, finding storage that fits both your space and your budget can be quite challenging. A quick look around your place shows that you can’t add another shelf, and another quick look at your wallet says it’s not part of this month’s budget either.

Before you fall into despair and toss all ideas of cleaning and organizing out of the window, stop for a bit, and let’s take a quick look at the different creative and cheap solutions that can actually help you organize and tidy up your place. People are very much into DIY these days, as they seek to find ways to store their stuff without spending too much.

Here are some tips and tricks for storage spaces around the house that you might have overlooked and that might help you out and give you ideas as well. You can actually do some of them yourself, but we’ve placed some suggested items that you can buy, and made sure they are all affordable!

1. Under the stairs

If you live in a house or apartment with two (or more) floors, check to see if the area under the stairs is something you can use. More often than not, this place is overlooked as a storage area because we think we can’t put that much under it. Or we never think that the place under the stairs can serve as a storage space. Nevertheless, it’s a good place to store coats, shoes, boots, and other footwear.

Black 6-cube closet organizer
This modular 6-cube closet organizer works very well under the stairs.

Here are some affordable storage ideas for under the stairs:

  • 6-Cube Closet Organizer – you can easily stack these up in different ways to accommodate your needs and the shape of your stairs. Footwear, coats, and bags easily fit into these too.
  • 12-Pack Shoe Storage Boxes – these easy-to-clean boxes can be stacked up on top of each other. The clear plastic reveals what shoes are inside so you don’t have to open up all the boxes.
  • Coat Rack with Wheels – if there’s enough space underneath your stairs, it would be good to invest in a coat rack such as this, with its bottom shelf for shoes, side hooks for bags, coats, jackets, and its wheels that make it easy to conveniently pull out from under the stairs when you need to get your things.

2. In your bedroom

Most bedrooms have tons of underutilized storage, that you can use to store the things you aren’t using as frequently. There are multiple storage solutions for small bedrooms, and we’ve listed the best ones below:

Under the bed

Another great storage area that is often overlooked is the space under your bed. That little space is more than just an area for monsters to hide and dust to gather. You can actually turn it into a storage area! Here are some of the things you can store under your bed:

Under-bed drawer storage
Storage bags for under the bed are a great way to keep a lot of things organized while still being out of sight!
  • Clothes – out-of-season clothes, outerwear, clothes for special occasions can be stored in storage bags or storage cubes and placed under your bed. That way, you free up space in your closet and leave only the items you need on a weekly or monthly basis. You can switch up your summer wardrobe with your winter wear when the seasons change.
  • Shoes – check out these under-the-bed shoe organizers that can help you store anything from regular walking shoes to fancy pumps and boots
  • Books – if you love to read in bed, you’ll have no difficulty reaching out and grabbing one of your favorite novels to read. Check out these open storage bins that come with handles so you can easily pull them out.

Inside your closet and drawers

If you have a small bedroom and therefore only a small closet, worry not! There are a number of things you can do to maximize whatever storage you have.

Metal garment rack with storage shelves
A metal garment rack is actually a great and cheap way of organizing a closet.

You can get a garment rack that can hold your clothes, some shoes, and bags and other things you might want to store there. Some garment racks even come with hooks that can let you hang your hats, bags, coats, jackets, scarves, and more.

Speaking of hooks, installing hooks and hanging bags, coats, accessories, and other things on them save up a lot of space! You can install some on the back of your door or install them inside your closet to accommodate the storage of more items there.

Small modular boxes
These foldable clothes organizers come in different sizes and can be used for anything, and folded back down when they are not used.

If you’ve got drawers for your clothes, you can never go wrong with foldable clothes organizers that can help you organize everything, from your shirts to your underwear, lingerie, socks, ties, handkerchiefs, and more.

If you store your shoes in your room and think that keeping all the shoe boxes just takes so much space (because, yes, in honesty, they sometimes do), then maybe you want to hang a shoe organizer over your bedroom door or closet door. This will help your room stay tidy by keeping your shoes off the floor. They are easily accessible too, for any time that you’re off somewhere and you need them. (These over-the-door shoe organizers can also serve as a place to put your cleaning supplies if you have a basement, garage, or storage room.)

3. In your bathroom/laundry room

As bathrooms are one of the smaller rooms in a house, it can be quite challenging to find space to utilize. Nevertheless, here are some great storage solutions for small bathrooms you can get inspiration from when it comes to finding storage space under a budget:

Bathroom mirror with a small cabinet
A wall mounted bathroom mirror cabinet serves multiple purposes and enables you to store small items over your sink.
  • Instead of getting a cabinet and a mirror separately, get a cabinet with mirrors for its doors. You’ll find that you can store quite a lot on its shelves, from toothbrushes to toothpaste to medicines, soaps, and more.
  • Install floating shelves on top of your toilet or beside your sink. Some of these come with hooks and rods where you can hang your towels. You can store toilet paper, soap, scented candles, and other bathroom accessories on the shelves. You can also actually hang up additional hooks just in case you might need them.
  • Get a shower caddy to hang underneath your shower so all the shampoo, body soap, loofahs, and other bath essentials are stored there and you don’t need to find space for them elsewhere.
  • Instead of leaving your dirty laundry lying around, put them in waterproof laundry baskets such as these. They will save you space and make your place look a lot neater.

4. In your living room

Living rooms should be somewhat tidied up and properly organized, because this is where you spend time relaxing and zoning out. This is definitely not the place you want to look at things laying around. There are some things you can do though, in order to increase the storage space in your living room.

Use multipurpose furniture

Multi-purpose laptop stand and storage box
This multipurpose cube holds a laptop on top, and has plenty of storage space underneath.

I’m such a big fan of multipurpose furniture because it accomplishes two goals at once: adding to the aesthetics of your place and providing storage. When thinking about what couch or chairs or ottomans to buy, don’t just get any. If you have a small space, you’ll want to be thinking, “What kind of furniture can I buy that will help me save space and that also fits the budget that I have?” Fortunately, there are multipurpose cubes such as these that can store items, serve as an ottoman for you to sit on, and even as a mini table for your laptop when you want to do some work.

Think vertical!

When it comes to storing other items, think vertical. Attach floating shelves to your walls, like what you did for your bathroom and use those shelves to store your things, from books to arts and crafts supplies, and even those little collectible items you might want to keep on display.

You can even opt to get a wooden or metal shelf that is open on all sides and use it as both a storage and a room divider. To help you further organize your items, you can get open storage baskets and stack them in neat rows on the bottom or top level of your shelf.

5. In your kitchen

Because pots, pans, and skillets come in different shapes and sizes, they can be a bit difficult to store in a way that saves space. Here’s an idea: get a rack that holds up to 5 skillets put on top of one another.

Metal rack for skillets
A metal rack is a great way of keeping all your skillets neatly organized inside a cabinet or directly on a countertop.

Even as you keep your pans all neat and tidy, make sure you do the same for your cooking utensils. There are some very nifty spice racks that help organize your spices and seasonings and can serve as a place to hang your spatulas, cooking utensils, and can even hold some cutlery too. As a matter of fact, where you can and where you have empty space, add shelves to help you store your things and to keep your place as neat and tidy as you can.

Just as it is with your bathroom and bedroom, it would be good to install hooks to hang up aprons, potholders, and even some of your cooking utensils. You’ll never know how handy a bunch of hooks will be if you hang them in just the right spot.

You can also opt to utilize the space above your refrigerator by putting a couple of baskets and put chopping boards, some pots and pans, cookbooks, and cooking utensils there.

Be creative!

There’s no limit to creative thinking when you’re looking for storage space even if you live in a small place.

The goal is to expand your horizon and think outside of the box, looking for places where you can put your things and being creative as well in terms of looking for shelves, baskets, and other items that can help you make sure your things are stored neatly.

If you have a limited budget, check for what you can DIY or visit some thrift stores and bargain shops–not to splurge unnecessarily, mind you, but perhaps they have a nice shelf or two or another piece of furniture that you can put in your kitchen and bathroom that fits just right in terms of what you can spend and what you’re looking for.