18 Genius Apartment Living Hacks You Need to Know to Stay Organized, According to the Pros

Updated on October 31st, 2022

Living in an apartment has its perks but getting it to stay organized isn’t one. And while we’re all for living the minimalist lifestyle and downsizing, sometimes that’s easier said than done without the option of custom storage or walk-in closets. But being short on space doesn’t mean you’re resigned to living in a perpetual cycle of trying to find more hiding space for your stuff. Whether you’re a city-dweller renting an apartment in Chicago or neighborhood-hopping to your new Miami rental, we’ve got you covered. 

We reached out to organizing experts for their best apartment living hacks to achieve a beautifully curated space. Read on to find out how to maximize your space and tame the clutter.

Have designated zones for each item

1) Purging anything you don’t need is the best apartment living hack when organizing a small space. After a good purge, contain and label – give everything its own place and have a place for everything. We often work with clients in apartments who can’t permanently alter their spaces, so we recommend purchasing flexible bins and labels that can work in multiple spaces. When they move, those bins can be reused in a new space. –Clearly Organized NC

Audit your items and keep the necessities

2) The biggest challenge to staying organized in an apartment is keeping only what you love or use, as there is no room for extra “stuff.” Living in a small square footage home can be challenging, but it can work with a few organizing tricks. Make sure you are using all of the vertical space around. It could be shelves, baskets, and or hooks for your keys, umbrellas, or light jackets. Creating zones will also maximize your space. –Think Inside the Boxx

Make life easier by keeping everyday items within reach

3) Keep items you use every day easily accessible. For items you don’t use as often, place them in hidden storage spaces such as drawers or cabinets, or get creative and use under-bed space for those super small bedrooms. –Two Organized

Commit to an organizing solution that works for your needs

4) The biggest mistake I see when organizing clothing is the lack of consideration for maintaining the systems you have in place. An Instagram-worthy closet is mesmerizing, but is it practical for everyday life? Plan how you will use your space throughout each season, what you need easy access to, and the likelihood you can sustain order day-to-day. –The Nitpicky Home

Vertical storage is your friend

5) A “tower” of shelves has a small footprint and can be used for kitchen items (pretty mixing bowls), in a bathroom (towels), and in a family room (books). Remember, it’s also important to purge and pass on unwanted items. You can’t fit a quarter’s worth of stuff in a space the size of a dime. –Las Vegas Professional Organizers

6) Use a towel rack on the wall to hold towels to give yourself extra cabinet space. Install shelves over the toilet to add storage, and use drawer organizers for every drawer. Invest in under-the-sink organizers and install organizers inside the cabinet doors. Don’t forget about using the back of the door for another storage option! –Jens Pro Organizing

7) Place a single shelf above your mirror to store items you aren’t reaching for daily or a few decorative shelves up one wall for style and function. Using stackable drawers for small items and a tension rod to hang bottles under the sink will take advantage of every inch of cabinet space. –Neat on Demand

8) Install a tension shower curtain rod over a washer and or dryer and put all of the empty hangers there. That way, any hanging clothes can be put on hangers right from the dryer, and the closet isn’t full of empty hangers. Another apartment living hack to maximize space is to roll towels and put them under the sink rather than products. A towel is a towel and won’t get lost under the sink. –Bless This Mess Home Organizing

Opt for clear containers

9) Use clear containers when organizing your pantry, closet, or garage. Clear storage containers save you time by making it easy to find what you’re looking for. They also save you money by providing a visual reminder of what you already have, preventing things from going bad and unnecessary purchases. –The Organized Mermaid

Apartment living hacks to organize a kitchen

10) In a tight kitchen, keeping your spices on a wall rack away from the stove and window is best. Spices quickly lose their potency when exposed to heat, moisture, and sunlight. Avoid the cabinet over the stove. –Avance Organizing

11) When working with limited cabinetry, don’t forget that you can also utilize wall space. Increase the amount of storage you have by adding shelves where possible and hooks to hang cookware, utensils, and linens where possible. –SORT Organization Services

12) Keep a small kitchen efficient by having only one of each of the tools you use regularly. Take advantage of every bit of space by using heavy-duty adhesive hooks inside doors or cabinets to hang items, install pullouts to easily utilize cabinet depth, and keep big items you use only a few times a year in a labeled storage bin. You can then store less used items in an easily accessible space such as a closet, in-suite laundry room, or storage room. –Top-Notch Concierge & Organizers

13) Get rid of that junk drawer. Kitchen drawers are valuable real estate, meaning they are easy to access and should be filled with things you need easy access to. There is no need to have a junk drawer in your kitchen. If something is truly junk, recycle it, donate it, or throw it out. Otherwise, it’s a valued possession and needs a proper home. –Sustainable Organizers

Apartment living hacks to organize a bathroom

Be mindful of the items you store in your bathroom

14) Managing inventory is key. While organizing may take up space, since you’ll be adding products such as bins, baskets, and shelves into your space, you’ll be giving your belongings more space to breathe in return. Keep one of what you use handy and a backup (backstock) in a separate location. When you run out, you can grab a new bottle from your backstock and purchase a replacement. Many of your products will expire, so don’t purchase too far ahead, maybe 3-6 months at most. Keep toiletry items that you only use for special occasions with other items that you also use for those occasions (e.g., travel toiletries with your suitcase, costume makeup with the corresponding outfits, etc.). If your bathroom is on the smaller side, this will help save space for what’s most important. –Tidy Spruce

15) Be as selective as possible about your possessions when organizing a small bathroom or any small space. The square footage of your space dictates how much you can realistically and comfortably fit, so use vertical space as much as possible. For example, adding a small hanging shelf or a standing shelf unit over a toilet can add additional storage without breaking the bank. –Golden West Organizing

16) Don’t hold onto bath-related things that were gifts if you know you’ll never use them. Bathroom items have expiration dates; if you never use them, they’re just taking up space. It’s okay to throw things away or give them away if you know you don’t want them. You can also put your most-used items into drawers if you have them. Contacts and dental in the top drawer, hair accessories in the second drawer, and skincare in the bottom or deepest drawer. If you don’t have drawers or they’re very shallow, measure under your sink to see if a small plastic drawer bin can fit and organize them underneath. And remember, always label. –Get Organized by Sam

Group like items together to make getting ready a breeze

17) Organizing by category in small spaces is essential, but be hypercritical about the things you use often. House those together in the most accessible location. Not only will this help speed up your morning routine, but you can see at a glance what items you’re running low on. –Organize Louisville

18) Use floating wall shelves next to the vanity to keep daily-use items within reach or above the toilet for toilet paper, towels, air fresheners, and decor. Group overstock or less frequently used products in stackable drawers or bins under the sink to use vertical cabinet space. The use of vertical space is one of the most effective solutions for maximizing storage and keeping countertops clutter-free. –Sorted Spaces & Design

Hannah is part of the content marketing team and covers topics related to home trends, personal finance, decor, and more. She particularly enjoys writing about real estate trends and home improvement.
Scroll to Top