Some Actually Useful Home Storage Solutions for Small Spaces
Spoiler: You're going to learn to love a lazy Susan.
Welcome to Someone Buy This!, a monthly shopping column featuring the fun, the frivolous, and the practical from a very discerning shopper.
Hello to everyone who rang in 2023 thinking "new year, same mess." I see you, I feel you and I’m here to help. One exciting byproduct of living in New York City is that you’re forced into seeking out and using every square inch of space you have. Your home doesn’t always have to be super tidy but if everything has a place, cleaning up feels less like scaling a mountain and more like a quick task you can do while listening to a podcast. To get to this place, you need functional storage solutions. Here are some home storage products that are not just cute boxes. (Okay – one of these is a cute box but I make a good case for it.)
(Be prepared: You’re going to see a lot of turntables in this column. That’s right, turntables. I refuse to use the term "lazy Susan" because frankly I don’t know Susan and can’t comment on her work ethic.)
Turntables for the kitchen
This turntable from IKEA is intended for your fridge but could work in a big cabinet. It’s a wider platform that should take up most if not an entire shelf in your fridge, allowing you to pull and spin to get to the condiments, leftovers or tasty treats of your choice.
I recommend this smaller, cabinet-sized turntable to hold your various cooking oils, vinegar, etc.
Lastly, here’s a cute-looking version you may wanna keep out on the counter!
A place for every pot
A common area of wasted space in kitchens is the above and/or behind the stove zone. I must have fallen into a really bizarre user group on TikTok because I’ve been getting countless videos about magnetic stove shelves lately.
These magnetic shelves snap on to the top of your stove and let you take advantage of that strip of space to store a timer, commonly used spices, or whatever else you want.
If your oven light switch is in the way, this Etsy seller makes custom magnetic shelves with light switch cutouts.
There are all kinds of options, including this simple wood riser.
For the teensiest of bathrooms
Until last summer, I had minimal storage and zero counter space in my bathroom. This was difficult for me as the kind of person who owns countless serums, lotions, etc. It may sound a bit dramatic but this shelf and its accompanying turntable from IKEA completely changed my life.
I got the shallow version of the shelf, which is the same depth as my medicine cabinet, and use the turntable for my daily products. It’s so helpful to be able to see and easily access everything. The open shelving also forces me to keep things tidy. This is a game-changer for a bathroom or even a kitchen–the turnstile could hold a ton of spices!
Tiny-bathroom-havers know that every bit of space counts. This rolling cart should fit perfectly in an unused narrow space and can hold a ton of stuff. My favorite part is the flat top which, depending on your bathroom layout, can give you a little bit more counter space.
For closets, foyers, and those weird little spots that should be an entryway but are too small to be anything else
These tension rod shelves are a great, renter-friendly way to customize a coat closet. They’re also great for cabinets where you need an extra bit of shelf space. I know they don’t look like it, but these shelves are super sturdy and very easy to remove if you end up wanting to use them in a different spot.
Okay, I know this is basically just a set of small boxes that fit into a bigger box but BUT they do so seamlessly. Think of what you could store in here. Seasonal decorations, shoes, purses! These boxes are waterproof and have a ribbed exterior that not only makes them look fancy, but also prevents slipping. At 10.5 inches tall, the shallow box will likely fit under your bed or sofa.
Why is shoe storage so hard? Why do we have to choose between ugly and shockingly expensive? Listen, I love looking at the Open Spaces entryway rack but can’t bring myself to fork over $184 for a shoe rack. No judgment, though!
If I were in the market for a shoe rack I’d go for this expandable one by Yamazaki. It expands to fit your space and can hold 12-16 pairs of shoes.
I recently got this simple, hanging hamper in an effort to keep my closet floor clear. It hangs on an over-the-door hook and is easy to unhook and carry to my building’s laundry room. It’s not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen but I wanted something very basic and functional but not meshy, (I hate mesh hampers.)
For all your other storage and organizational needs
I am not what you’d call a "handy" person but I do own a very basic set of tools. They currently live in a plastic box with a ziplock bag full of loose screws and bolts. It’s not a very glamorous or functional situation, which is why I’ve been on the hunt for a tool box… a cute one. I found this one by Metalplus at Mari Kondo’s online store (which has some great stuff, by the way).
I never really considered the storage potential of headboards until recently when my partner built himself an affordable version of this one.
If building your own furniture is not feasible for you and you’d like to not spend $2500, this storage headboard is a good pick. The long shelf on top can hold your glass of water, phone and maybe a small lamp. There are cubbies on each side big enough for books, your tablet, or whatever else you need within arm’s reach in bed.
And while we’re on the topic of beds: Sorry not sorry to bring up Mari Kondo again but these under bed storage bins from her Container Store collab are very good. I hate wrestling with a zipper and love that these just pop right open. And they’re nice to look at!
If you want to spend less, IKEA has a not-as-pretty option that opens in a similar, easy way.
My monitor riser is one of my favorite home office purchases. I highly recommend getting one if you use a monitor or just a laptop. You can tuck post-its, notebooks and various chargers (can Apple just agree on one charger, please?) in the shelves underneath to eliminate desk clutter. This thing is great.
This swivel organizer is meant for your desk but you can use it to store jewelry or other small accessories. The four stacked compartments are so satisfying to rotate open and closed.
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