Tuesday, July 29, 2014

46 Renter Friendly Organizing Tips

Although I haven't lived in a rental for many years now, I am often asked about organizing and storage solutions that are rental friendly.  Some of you have been long time apartment dwellers, military families, have decided to downsize or are living within a rental property temporarily, and need tips that don't require built-ins and installing wall storage.  You need solutions that are versatile, inexpensive and can transition from place to place.


Many of these tips can be used in any small space, apartment or not, but they also take into consideration that no drilling or hammering can take place.  Here are my top room by room tips.


In The Entryway

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  • Utilize a tall bookcase as a temporary closet.  With adjustable shelving, boots and shoes are able to be stored below while a few hooks above offer hanging storage.  Add in craft drawers for hats, mittens and mail as well as a small tray to collect daily personal necessities.
  • Credenzas also make great entryway storage with the ability to conceal footwear below while adding a lamp and tray creates a drop zone above. 
  • Pop a small storage ottoman near the entry to act as a place to sit while putting on shoes, as well as providing a place to conceal outerwear clutter.
  • If your entry door is made from steel, consider magnetic hooks which can be attached to the back of the door for hanging outwear, umbrellas and totes.




In The Living Room

  • Although we are not renters, our DIY "built in" bookcases are renter friendly!  They hold everything for our family/living room such as electronic components, board games, family photos and mementos, books and craft supplies for the boys.  They consist of a series of bookcases pieced together and have been a major storage win!
  • Conceal media and memorabilia within decorative boxes to reduce visual clutter.
  • In a rental, storage ottomans will be your best friend in almost any space.  In the living room, utilize them to store video game controllers, games or toys for the littles.
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  • Collapsible television trays work well as sofa end tables because they can also double as a place to dine or work.




In The Kitchen

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  • Add a stand-in wire shelving or a rolling cart to hold small appliances, cookbooks, bulky cookware and bake-ware as well as serving dishes and barware.
  • Command Strips are a renter's best friend in almost any space.  Not only are they perfect for holding measuring cups, bibs and utensils on the insides of cabinets, they also work well to hold small baskets and tension rods which allow you to get really creative with cabinet storage.  They also rock for getting utensils and cookware off of the limited counter space and up on the walls.
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  • Utilize over the door pockets and organizers for additional food and pantry storage.
  • Maximize cabinet storage by adding in wire shelf inserts and shelf baskets, which allow items to be stacked without becoming cumbersome to take out and put away.
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  • Stackable bins and baskets used within cabinets for dry food packaging and the fridge for yogurts and snacks will maximize any vertical space.




In The Bathroom

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  • Take advantage of the cabinet doors by adding over-the-door baskets to hold hair tools and cleaning supplies.
  • Most vanity cabinets do not come with built-in shelving {I always question this but suppose it is to accommodate plumbing}, so make the most of the vertical area with open faced stackable baskets.  They are ideal for toiletries, linens and paper products.
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  • Consider utilizing a narrow bookcase to act as a stand in linen closet.  Baskets can be added to corral daily essentials while towels and linens can stack on the open shelving.
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  • Use the space behind the toilet by adding in a narrow bathroom etagere which will allow you to keep your oral care products tucked away behind closed doors.  Within the cabinet, utilize small stacking shelves and Command bins to hold smaller cosmetics and toiletries.
  • Add over the door organizers and hooks to hold towels and linens.  If floor space is so limited that no cabinet space is available, stock a tote with daily toiletries and hair tools and hang on a hook behind the door.



In The Laundry Room

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  • Many rentals are not equipped with a washer and dryer within the unit, so laundry organization can become even more tricky.  Stock a caddy with daily laundering essentials such as detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover and lint brushes, which you can "grab and go" on laundry day.  Diaper, cleaning or shower caddies all work well for this purpose.
  • Use laundry sacks hung on the back of the door to sort clothing.  Not only do the laundry sacks take up very little space {and no floor space}, they are easy to transport to the washer.
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  • Invest in a small, collapsible drying rack which is light weight enough to hang on the back of the bathroom door with some Command Hooks, and can be placed in the shower to dry daily delicate items.
  • If the rental does contain a washer/dryer, narrow rolling carts are a great solution for storing daily laundry care items.
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  • As with all rooms and closets in the home, take advantage of doors to add over-the-door storage.



In The Bedroom

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  • I have always boasted about creating custom closet solutions, and many think that this cannot be done in a rental.  But it can!  I am a GIANT fan of the Closetmaid Selections pieces sold at most home improvement stores, because they stack and mix and match to meet your individual storage needs.  In a variety of sizes, they offer shoe racks, drawers and cubbies which can be paired with a variety of bins and baskets.  Definitely a smart way to maximize bedroom storage without having to install a high end closet.
  • Use a storage ottoman at the end of the bed to act as a bench while getting ready each day as well as storage for oversized bedding and linens.
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  • Add risers to your bed frame to allow for underbed storage containers or drawers.  These drawers are fantastic for holding off-season clothing, exercise equipment and all of your other miscellaneous possessions that need a tucked away place to call home.
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  • Consider adding a small desk to act as a makeup vanity, which can house your daily beauty supplies and free up space in the bath.
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  • Don't forget the back of the door to add hooks, Command Caddies and shoe pockets, which work wonders for storing accessories, shoes and handbags.





OK friends, surely I have forgotten a thing or two since I haven't lived in an apartment for 13 years now, so help a gal out.  What else do you have to add that has been a small space life saver?  


46 comments:

  1. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks Jennifer! Love the idea of the laundry hanging from the door! Great ideas!

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  2. The container store now has little caddies that can go inside your medicine cabinet and keep everything beautifully organized - they are less than $10 each I believe and have changed my life!!!

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    1. Oooh! I will have to check those out! Thanks for the tip!

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  3. As a college student, I can't always relate to your posts, but this one is on point for me! A note on Command Strips: I've used these every where for the past 4 years, with no problem, UNTIL my sister's Bachelorette party we were having at my aunt's beach condo. I hung up a banner, and taking it down was an absolutely horrible experience. No one wants to break out spackle while hungover! So my advice is to double check in an inconspicuous place if the Command Strips will damage your walls. I don't know if it was the salty air, how long it has been since painted, the kind of paint, or just my bad luck, but double checking is always safest!!!

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    1. Oh no! I have never seen that happen and I use them frequently. Thanks for the warning Sarah!

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  4. I have used the Trofast drawer system from Ikea inside a couple of closets for extra storage in our rental. I also have a very awkward and small but deep pantry. I use plastic storage boxes and trays as 'drawers' so I don't lose stuff in the very back. You have a great round up of ideas here though! I rely on 3M command hooks a lot particularly. They really work great. I use them for extra coat hooks, hanging pictures obviously, hanging stuff on the walls of our laundry closet (ie, mop, spare flashlight, bbq tools etc.), hanging the kids backpacks (their large hooks hold a fully loaded backpack!) and anything else I can think of. Love to get things off the floor!

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  5. A lot of rentals and small condos have a laundry closet with a stackable washer and dryer that leaves no usable space on either side, and where the door closes flush against the washer. This was the problem I faced in a condo I used to own, but I found a way to utilize the only few inches of available space in the upper half of the closet. There's a diagram and explanation on my blog:
    http://www.blueistyle.blogspot.com/2013/02/organizing-with-style-turning-laundry.html

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  6. I definitely think you nailed the most important part of apartment living: if in doubt, go vertical! This includes doors and command hooks, but also floating shelves (if your landlord allows you to drill holes in the walls). Normally, if you're allowed to hang frames, you can hang floating shelves as well, which can be used for anything from holding photo frames (less holes!), to coralling make-up, nail polish, children's books or mail that needs sorting. Anything that clears up counter or floor space, I'm all for!
    Great post, as always :)

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  7. Great ideas. I have an over the door ironing board. I have a bar stool that doubles as an end table. I love the target dollar aisle for inexpensive organizing. I live in a studio condo & I love your blog for ideas.

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  8. I'm so glad you did this! My husband and I are currently in a rental for at least another six or seven months until we are able to look at purchasing our first home, LOOOOOVE these tips!

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  9. This post has just made me want to go straight out and buy storage solutions! Some amazing ideas for reorganisation, love it!

    Eve & Faye x
    Sugar Spun Sisters - A blog about clothes, cosmetics & coeliac disease

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  10. How I wish Command Strips had existed when I was a renter. I use them at home and in my classroom now! One thing that really got me by as a renter was a hanging sweater organizer. It was canvas, so if for some reason I didn't need it, I could fold it up and store it with no problems. I used it as a closet divider and to store my t-shirts and other small items. It attached to the closet rod with velcro.

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    1. Oooh yes! Love those things! So great for so many purposes!

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  11. so many good ideas! i live in an apartment and i have drawers under my bed and i still don't have enough room for all my clothes!

    Julianne
    http://reallifesurreallife.blogspot.com

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  12. I wish my brain worked like yours!

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  13. Such great ideas Jen :) This will be so helpful to so many xoxo

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  14. Whoever designed our kitchen was either a man or a woman who never cooked!! It's very small and there is no dining area, enter the norden gateleg table from Ikea. What a godsend!! It folds flat against the wall or pops out to seat four! And with six drawers storage is totally taken care of. I love that thing.

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  15. Thank you! I rent and sometimes get really sick of not being able to do very much. This has given me so many great ideas :)

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  16. For some reason these "InLinkz" are making it near impossible to actually read the post. My scroll bar goes out of control when I try to scroll past them. Bummer.

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    1. So sorry! I will try and fix asap! I see it happening on my end now too. Thanks for the heads up!

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  17. Hi Jen, first of all I want to say how much I love your blog :) As a fellow organizing junkie and label lover I have enjoyed all your projects and watching your home transform. Although we have totally different taste in decorating (I am a lover of all things colonial & primitive....my happy colors are black and brown) I appreciate the colors and style of your home. I am in a rental townhouse right now after being a home owner for over 24 years due to some life changes. I've embraced it as I believe you can make anyplace a home....I need to update my pics, doesn't look the same anymore, it's comfy and cozy. You can decorate and organize a rental with a little creativity and a lot of thought. When I update I'll be sure to share :) Blessings to you and your sweet family ~Kriss~

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  18. A great way to save and utilize space in the bathroom is adding another shower curtain rod inside the shower against the wall. Get shower curtain hooks and you can hang everything from your cleaners to your sponges from them. On the outside of the shower it can't be seen and when you have only a little space it makes everything easier. No damage done like holes in the wall and no over crammed cabinets!
    <a href="http://www.homegoodscentral.com”>homegoodsandsomuchmore</a>

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  19. These are great ideas. Finding ways to get extra storage. You should see under our bed... Maybe it's better if you don't :-)

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  20. These are great, thanks for sharing! Plan to implement a few into our home! Also, not sure how I missed your posting about it, or I did and it didn't stick, but finally got to my Parent's magazine yesterday at the gym and saw a little feature in there about you. Congrats!

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  21. I live in an apartment, and I have to say that these are really great storage and organization ideas for small space.

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  22. I got divorced and started out in a rent house. Then broke both sides of my ankle over two years ago, and now have to wear a steel boot. So I moved into a patio one bedroom apartment. All your ideas are spot on! I have figured out all kinds of ways to make it work. I had the stove taken out of my kitchen so I could bring in a portable washer/dryer that works out of one unit. So I had to make a lot of changes in the past few months. I'll get that post URL I just wrote the other day and show you guys. I love your tips!
    Brenda

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  23. Here we go. This is the URL to my kitchen without a stove...

    http://www.cozylittlehouse.com/2014/07/my-cooking-station-is-now-complete.html
    Brenda

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  24. Fantastic ideas! Even as a non-renter now, I still use a lot of these tips (and some others were new ideas to me!). Great post! I've got to go implement a few ideas right now...

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  25. Great ideas! My problem is my closet and bedroom are so tiny and I have SO much stuff in my apartment. I literally have NO free space and I don't know where to begin.

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    1. That is the hardest part I suppose, just diving in and beginning. Start small with a single drawer and purge items you don't need and don't see yourself using down the line. Less is more, especially in small spaces. Best of luck to you!!

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  26. Fabulous tips! We love our rental but we just couldn't find a way to make it all fit.

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  27. Can I hang hooks and such from a hollow core door (drilled holes as opposed to command strips)?

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    1. Hi fs!

      I would not recommend drilling into a hollow core door. They may make hooks/screws for that purpose, but it would forever damage the door as well.

      xoxo!

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  28. What terrific blog post with so many tips. And original. Organising tips are usually built-in-solution for home owners so this whas refreshing.

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  29. Awesome tips! I just moved into a new place and am actually struggling organizing my bookshelves so they look curated but not cluttered. Any tips for this??

    x
    Jess
    www.mossandmink.com

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    1. Hi Jess!

      Try alternating the arrangement of the books, some standing, some on their sides, maybe even turn the spine in on a few. Place small objects on the flat stacks and add in a few decorative book-ends.

      Hope that does the trick!
      Jen

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  30. Question about the closet solution shelving--when you're done/moving to a different apartment, does the new shelving stay or go with you?

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    1. Hi Mindy!

      The Closetmaid shelving stacks, but nothing needs to be affixed to the walls, so they can go with you anywhere. :)

      xo!

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  31. Thank you! These are great ideas to help organize my apartment!!! =)

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  32. I live in a house and I'm still going to use some of these tips! They're great. Thanks!

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  33. When I rented my first apartment, these tips would have been so helpful! I know it was hard to feel at home in a place that just wasn't "me"! Now that I own a home, these tips are still really helpful as the place grows with me! Thanks!

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  34. We have a HEMNES daybed in our daughters' room, as the room doesn't have a closet nor a dresser. In one drawer we store cloth diapers/wipes/underwear, another has daughter 1's clothes, and the final drawer has daughter 2's clothes.

    The daybed doubles as a big girl bed for daughter 1 and/or a guest bed when needed.

    We're considering a BRIMNES daybed for the TBD room to increase the storage and guest options.

    In addition to excellent storage help, my in-laws (who both have Parkinson's) absolutely love them! Happy parents= happy family and visits!

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  35. Great tips!! I just graduated college and I live in an apartment…I am always looking for ways to maximize the space I have and keep everything organized and clean!

    xo, Taylor

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  36. These are all great ideas! We have a one bedroom apt. and I literally have six storage ottomans. I know it's crazy but they really, really help! Plus, they look nice and are dispersed around the apt., so you don't notice them as much.

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  37. My fiance and I live in a rented condo with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We never use our bathtub since we have a stand up shower in our ensuite. I turned our bathtub into a storage closet over a year ago and am so glad I did. It's great for storing extra toilet paper and tissues and other bulky items that are hard to store.

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