Best organizing/storage items for a small bedroom
April 15, 2013 9:52 AM   Subscribe

So I'm trying to change my constantly messy room (which is small) and I've realized that besides daily cleaning, part of what needs to be done is changing the things I use to help store/organize my room. I've done some purging, and will need to do some more, but feel that I'm not getting the most out of what I'm using now (a bookcase, clothes drawer, small desk, small reach closet). I want to use my space more efficiently and be able to organize more of my things in the small space I have! So I'm looking for the best furniture/containers/DIY/storage options that you guys have. Also any websites that show options/ways of doing this would be great too. Don't have a price limit/low budget, but if it's $150+, please note why it's worth the money/time. Thanks!
posted by packfan88c to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
What stuff do you need to organise? I can tell you what I did with my makeup (depotted it into freestyle palettes, saved incredible amount of space) and nail polish (stack them in small vanity cases), but that's not useful if you're drowning in books or shisha pipes.
posted by mippy at 9:59 AM on April 15, 2013

I think one of the cleaverest things is to get a captain's bed. That will give you drawers under your bed.

You can store out of season clothes there, or things you don't need access to all the time.

Another option is to get plastic storage containers for under the bed. All big-box stores carry them.

I once saw a genius thing on a DIY show. They took the wall of a studio apartment and covered it floor to ceiling in shelves, it was pretty tall, so they added a library ladder. Here's an example from Apartment Therapy.

You can reduce your media by taking DVDs out of the plastic boxes and storing them in something like this.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:02 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

couldn't find the cost, but i was reminded of this
posted by maulik at 10:08 AM on April 15, 2013

posted by oceanjesse at 10:10 AM on April 15, 2013

Underbed storage is a great way to put away things you don't need very often. There are really thin storage tubs that can fit under even low beds. Googleable term is "underbed storage." I specifically made my bed higher up because I have a small apartment and I made it two storage tubs high and now have a "skirt" sort of thing around it so I can put a ton of stuff under it without it affecting the look of the room. Other things that should have a place because otherwise they go everywhere

- laundry and the laundry basket. I have this thing
- hanging stuff so like a rack or a few hooks right inside your door, or a place to hang stuff outside your room
- bath towel/robe if you go from the bathroom to the bedroom, there should be a place to put towels/robes to get them back to the bathroom
- jewlery - I have my earrings in a typesetter tray which means I don't have to fiddle with hanging them up but then they don't get all stuck together
- night table or something for little fiddly things you have near you when you sleep including a charging station if you keep your laptop/phone near you in bed
- place for hair doinkers if you are a person who has things in your hair that go out of your hair.

A lot of this depends on if you are sharing a larger place with other people (in which case much more goes in your room) or not (in which case I wouldn't keep many CDs/books in my room and have them in the living room) I usually try to figure out "how often do I need to access this?" and then try to make the most-accessed stuff most available and make the least accessed stuff put away in a place that might be less convenient.
posted by jessamyn at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Remember that the biggest mistake people make in organizing is thinking they need better containers to hold their stuff. What most people need is less stuff, not more containers.

Look for spots where you can install more shelving. Sometimes there is a huge gap on top of the top shelf of a closet where you can add more shelving.

Install some adjustable shelving above your desk.

Use baskets and bins to hold stuff that you don't use that often and store on shelves in closet. (Like bathing suits, scarves, mittens, etc.) Or, use under the bed storage.

If you have often find yourself with trash in your room, keep a bin with a garbage bag liner in your bedroom instead of walking out to the kitchen to throw it a way.
posted by Fairchild at 10:20 AM on April 15, 2013

If you are cleaning every day and your room still looks messy, it sounds like you have a lot of clutter. When your shelves are filled to the brim with odds and ends, your desk has all sorts of crap on it, the top of your dresser is a catch-all, etc. you immediately know and feel there isn't enough room for everything when you walk in. It feels very dorm-y.

IKEA really does have some excellent storage solutions. My sister, for instance, uses magazine file folders to organize all of her hairsprays, perfumes, and the like, keeping them out of site but easily accessible. And I love this Helmer thing because it has lots of thin drawers, so I use some for papers and documents and others for odds and ends. You just have to make sure everything is accessible enough that it won't be a chore to put it back.

Apartment Therapy, particularly the Small Spaces and Storage & Closets sections, might have some ideas. And you can put search terms like "Organize" into Houzz.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 10:24 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you having to store 'outside' things in your room as well (boots, coats, mail, towels, etc)?
posted by nelljie at 10:48 AM on April 15, 2013

Something that surprisingly helped with clothes clutter was drawer dividers for my dresser. I used OXO ones from BB&B that are 2 for $20. Steep, I know! I feel like I have doubled the capacity of my drawers though. I am small and have room for multiple rows of clothing in one drawer, this may be less useful for someone with larger size clothes like my husband. Before I just had a bra drawer, now I can fit slips and camis in there also. Two blobby piles of tees are now three neat rows of tees.

Another thing that has really helped me with clothing related messiness is having a good hamper set up. I have two of the same hamper. One is for lights, one is for darks and on the inside of the darks hamper I have pinned a sweater bag that bras and other super delicate things go in. There's a laundry bag for the dry cleaner right next to the hampers. Doing this has significantly helped me to be more organized, do laundry more efficiently and because I'm doing laundry more often I feel comfortable purging more. I donate to a shelter for homeless teens. Knowing how much they need my street clothes and work clothes (for interviews and transitioning to working) motivates me to get rid of all those clothes that haunt the back of my closet.
posted by dottiechang at 10:50 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Drawer dividers or bins in your drawers are great to separate things. Also you can get affordable bins to put on the shelves to hold accessories.
posted by radioamy at 12:14 PM on April 15, 2013

I also depotted all my makeup and sorted it by colour into freestyle palettes. Most of it is in hobby boxes (clear plastic containers with compartments) and bead boxes (smaller version of same). A hardware store should have the former, a bead shop will have the latter, for cheeeeeep.

Drums of powder are lined up in one of those plastic thingys that used to have tomatoes in it. This doesn't have a lid. It's the kind of thing that can go in a drawer whereas the boxes mentioned above seal and stack.

Finish dishwasher tablets used to be sold in oblong plastic boxes with dubious lids. All my lip balms are jammed into one of these. More relevant is the nail polishes which need to be stored standing up, as does anything liquid with a brush that dips into it.

By the principle of storing liquids upright, I ordered a couple of acrylic "lipstick trays" from eBay and filled one with mascara, one with liquid eyeliner. These were no more than $4 each.

However, it's really the boxes with lids that are important and if you can store something in a lidded stackable container, you should.

And of course this same principle applies to things that aren't makeup.

Like, earrings. (All in bead boxes grouped by colour)
posted by tel3path at 6:36 PM on April 15, 2013

Aside from having less stuff, one thing you should focus on is making sure that everything has an obvious Home. You can put stuff in larger containers all you want, but you have to remember what stuff goes in which containers, and where those containers go...

...and whether this arrangement makes sense to your normal routine. You might WANT your little fiddly stuff to live on the bookshelf, but if you always take earrings and glasses off and put them on the nightstand, that's where they should go.

And if you can't find obvious homes for certain things, maybe it's time to figure out why, and whether those things have homes anywhere in your life.
posted by Madamina at 8:18 PM on April 15, 2013

Boxes and labels. Get a bunch of co-ordinating boxes that stack neatly in several sizes that you would be happy to see in drawers, on shelves or the back of your cupboard. Not transparent ones! Then buy or make really nice colour-matched labels for each box. Either write on the labels with a sharpie if you have plenty and can remove them from the box, or use a wipe-off pen/chalk pen.

Take everything out of all your drawers etc, and dump it on your bed or floor. Sort it all out so like goes with like and you end up with a couple of dozen little piles. Then put each pile into an appropriate sized box and write on the label. Pack away. Every couple of weeks, go through and repack back into your little boxes. It feels dumb at first to have labels reminding you where everything goes, but because everything matches, the visual clutter will vanish and you will be able to find things and clear up in a few minutes.

Make sure you have a pretty hamper/basket somewhere in the room near the door where you can chuck things that don't have a permanent place in the bedroom to take and rehouse in the rest of the house.

I no longer have a nightstand. My nightstand is covered in plants to prevent me putting anything on it. I have a drawer for my computer to be put away in, but my husband has the only nightstand space because frankly, I can't be trusted with one. It becomes a tower of junk very rapidly. I hang my glasses on the headboard knob, and hand my phone to him to plugin on his side. Anything I bring to bed has to be chucked into the basket to go back out of the bedroom. If you are like me, minimize any actual available free space so you are forced to put things away.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:08 PM on April 15, 2013

Take a look at your storage furniture: how big is the inside of drawer as compared to the size of the furniture? There's a big tradeoff of style vs function, that it's easy to be unaware of. IKEA, for example, usually prioritizes practicality; it s a feature of the modern scandinavian style.

We had a 5-drawer full-height dresser with flush'mount drawers (not unlike this) and an IKEA 3-drawer MALM that was lower, sleeker and had a slightly smaller overallt footprint. I measured the inside of the drawers and calculated the storage volume of each dresser (multiply the 3 interior measurements of the drawer), and determined that in fact the small MALM would fit more stuff than the bigger dresser, because so much of hte bigger dresser was wasted space (tall decorative legs, empty space behind the face frame, for example, and thicker drawer slides that look more horizontal space than IKEA's). So we ditched all our storage in favor of 2 large scandinavian-style, and all of a sudden, all of our clothes would fit in just 2 dressers, instead of 3 dressers crammed full and overflowing onto the shelves.

I realize that you're not necessarily in a position to replace your furniture, but it's something to be aware of - is your current furniture space-efficient storage?? If not, start imagining what the perfect space-efficient storage item would be, and know exactly what you want so that when the stars align and you see the perfect piece of furniture, you'll recognize it and can make it happen. Also good to learn to recognize inefficicent storage designs so you don't accidentally lure yourself into buying "organizational tools" that are in reality a waste of space.
posted by aimedwander at 7:52 AM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I just spent three days creating a system and ordering all the stuff to organize our apartment better, so I feel you right now. Here's a Pinterest board I created w/ the ideas we're (mostly) using. If you follow the links, you'll find comes up a's really awesome.

Godspeed, and remember -- there's almost always a cheaper way to do it, but sometimes it just ain't worth the hassle.
posted by nosila at 10:07 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a very tiny room in a small apartment, so I don't have a lot of space for new storage furniture. I do have a closet so I have tried to maximize that space for storage. My favorite hack that has not been mentioned here yet was to use one of those over-the-door shoe organizers to put clothes in. I just roll up a couple of t-shirts and they fit perfectly in the little pouches.
posted by forkisbetter at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2013

nosila: "Here's a Pinterest board I created"

That's a nicely curated collection. There are a few ideas I want to implement right away.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:18 PM on April 16, 2013

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