Homes in Miami may well be some of the country’s sunniest, but they are not among the largest. A typical single family home in Miami offers about 1,550 square feet of living space, significantly lower than the national average which now hovers around 2,300 square feet.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t live large in your Miami abode. You’ll just need to get a tad creative. We’ve put together some clever organizational tips that will make it easier for you to enjoy your living space all while giving it a clean and airy look.
1. Embark on a decluttering mission to maximize space and boost your mental health in the process
The first and most important step in maximizing your space at home is to get rid of the stuff you are not using anymore. It’s easier said than done, but there are shortcuts to help you declutter your home. When you begin to identify the clutter culprits, you may be surprised to find out that every room in your home has its own type of clutter.
For instance, the master bedroom can easily become a maze of clothes that have lost their way, or stacks of books towering on nightstands. The straightforward approach is to go through your items of clothing and get rid of those you haven’t worn in over a year or the ones that no longer fit. As for the books, give yourself an extra challenge and set a deadline for finishing every book you have sitting around your home.
The next stop is the kitchen, another place that is prone to clutter. The tendency here is to have an excessive number of mugs, pots, or items of glassware. Seriously now, how many coffee cups do you really need? Another good anti-clutter practice is to check the expiration dates on the items stored in your kitchen cabinets every six months.
Follow this room-by-room exercise and spot things around the house that obviously need throwing out. Maximizing the most accessible storage areas in your home is a brilliant way to make the best of what you already have.
Start small and don’t get discouraged, because the instant gratification of having well-organized and airy spaces will motivate you to declutter bigger spots next time.
If you need some extra motivation, learn that there is a growing body of evidence showing that clutter directly impacts your mental health. Having a messy house leads to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. So, the next time you dread the process of decluttering, think about all the happy chemicals that will be released in your brain soon after!
2. Store smarter – identify all potential storage spaces around the house
If you want to maximize your space for the long term, remember that everything in your house needs to have its own place – as clichéd as that might sound. As professional organizers teach us, planning is crucial, especially for creating systems and solutions that will transform your living space into a welcoming haven, for good.
Start by making an inventory of the belongings that don’t have a dedicated spot in your home. For instance, do you have scuba diving gear that gets in your way every time you enter the garage? While it’s a nice reminder of the fun weekend you spent in the Biscayne Natural Park, the truth is that you could be using that space in a more masterly way.
Next, take measurements of every dead space you have around the house: under the bed, near the ceiling, behind the doors, below base cabinets, under the sink, above toilets, around the washing machine and so on.
This step will unfold new potential storage spaces for bulky items or items you rarely need. The obvious next step is…. container talk. Now, how many containers and what type you need is up to you, but there are a couple of best practices used by professionals. One of them is opting for square, transparent boxes. The shape is great for maximizing space, and the see-through material makes it easy to know later what has been put in there.
Also, it is a clever idea to invest in high-quality containers, to protect your items from being exposed to changes in temperature or humidity. Over time, plastic is your go-to storage option. Woven baskets, bins and colorful cardboard boxes are also wonderful storage solutions that are both attractive and functional.
3. Start thinking vertically
As you are already using all the conventional storage space you have available (under the stairs, under the bed, ottomans, under the couch) you now need to start looking for it from a different perspective. When your house starts to feel more and more constricted, and all you ever seem to do is rearrange in order to make everything fit in an organized way, imagine how you can use the spaces above the head and at your feet. Often disregarded, these places are great options for storing seldom used items.
Not sure how to use vertical space? Here are some helpful ideas:
- Enhance the storage space in your cabinets with stacking drawers. You can add stacking drawers under the sink to easily organize your cleaning supplies and smaller items like soaps, sponges and cloths.
- Avoid wasting any of your shelf space by using shelf organizers. Rather than piling your glasses and mugs on top of each other, they will be kept much neater with an organizer.
- Vertical storage is great for your garage too. Use wall hook attachments to hold your gardening tools away from the floor.
If you are more on the crafty side, there are plenty of simple, cheap yet highly effective DIY storage options:
- Hang a few hooks around the house as they are a wonderful way to create space. The best part is that they are more functional than hangers or towel bars and there is less chance your items will end up on the floor.
- Installing cheap shelves with hooks can create storage space above the toilet, in the entry space of your house or above the dishwasher.
Wall shelving systems are also a lifesaver if you need storage fast. The IKEA BOAXEL system is one of the most efficient solutions you can find for maximizing vertical space, expanding your storage opportunities right up to the ceiling.
4. Float some of your seasonal items
The rule of thumb with home organizing and maximizing space is that the more floor space you can see the less cramped your living space will be. So, why not use your walls for storage?
Think of this idea as part organization, part décor. For one, hanging skis on the wall is a wonderful way to store them when not in use. This also makes for a fun way to display your favorite boards to keep you in skiing mode all year round. Install a couple of wall hooks to hang your skis on and make them part of your adventurer-home theme.
Other items such as bicycles can easily turn into wall décor with a smart mounting system. These can be installed on the ceiling or wall, and some are customized to carry more than one bike.
Smaller items like hats, jewelry or other fashion accessories can be conveniently hung on a room divider or on the doors of your bedroom.
Furthermore, wall-mounted furniture or floating shelves can give your space a more organized and streamlined look, maximizing your floor space at the same time.
5. Take advantage of storage units near you
Sometimes, even after decluttering and getting creative with storage space, you still need to find a place for some things. Think bulky items, seasonal décor, and outdoor and other items that see seasonal use. Instead of trying hard to carve out space for them in your home, you can put them in a storage unit and retrieve them when you’re ready to use them again. The advantage of renting a storage unit is that you can use it for as long or for as little time as you need.
With the Miami self storage market offering plenty of options, you will easily be able to find a storage facility near you. You can consider a 5’x10’ storage unit if you’re storing bulky clothing and décor, but if you also need to keep larger outdoor gear such as bicycles, motorbikes and skis, a 10’x10’ storage unit might be a better option. If you’re not sure which unit size is right for your needs, you can consult this storage unit size guide. As far as pricing goes, renting a non-climate-controlled self storage unit in Miami, FL, now costs an average of $175 per month. You have plenty of options to choose from, depending on your storage needs.
Every home can use a little extra space, especially when you are living in Miami. Whether you are in a two-bedroom apartment or a larger villa, at some point in your life you will feel the need to maximize space to declutter your home and make it more welcoming.
Finding storage space in a small Miami home shouldn’t be an intimidating task. Just keep your mind open, avoid clutter and always look for smarter ways to store your belongings.