My husband and I recently started renting a very small house in Culver City, California. I’m talking tiny: Two bedrooms, one bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry room–all stuffed in just over 800 square feet. Despite it’s size, it’s really a great little house with a huge backyard for our pups, Wally and Bella.

Our biggest problem is the lack of storage space. We only have two small closets, which don’t even begin to store all of my clothing, and a built-in shelving unit in the hallway outside of the bathroom. To top it off, there is no under-the-sink storage in our bathroom.

When we moved in, the shelving unit in the hallway quickly became a catchall, stuffed with everything that had yet to find a home and all of our bathroom items. As you can see in the “before” photo, it got scary.

Organization Before Photo

When I finally got up the courage to tackle the clutter, I knew I had to make the most of one of my only storage areas. Here are my four steps for organizing a small space:

1. Clear it Out

The first step to organizing a small space is to clear out the clutter. Sometimes you have to make a bigger mess before you start to clean! Taking everything out of the area allows you to really know what you’re working with–in terms of items, as well as space.

2. Sort it Out

Next, create categories by sorting all of your items into piles with similar items. For example, my piles were: things we don’t use very often, tools, candles and candle stick holders, towels and linens, hair accessories (hair dryer, curling irons, products, etc.), girly stuff (lotions, perfumes, nail polishes) and extra bathroom supplies.

3. Plan it Out

Before you start putting things away, make sure you have a solid plan of action. Grab a pencil and piece of paper to map out where each category of items will belong. I had six shelves to work with, so I drew six boxes on a piece of paper. Based on the sizes of each pile, I started to group categories. After a few scribbles, I had my plan.

4. Put it Away

I started at the top and worked my way down. The top shelf stores anything we don’t use often (as it’s hard to reach); the next shelf houses tools, candles and candle stick holders; the third shelf holds linens and towels; the next shelves store my hair accessories and girly stuff; and the bottom shelf holds extra bathroom supplies.

Organization After Photo

That’s it–four easy steps for organizing a small space. Though it seemed overwhelming at first, the whole project only took a couple of hours. I still want to put up a curtain to cover it, but what a difference a little organization makes!

Update: I bought a gray curtain at Target. Because of molding on the wall, I couldn’t use a curtain rod, so I just nailed it right to the wall at the top. Much better!

Organizing a Small Space - Complete