Flourishing in a  very small home...

Best using the space we have !

We are collecting hints and tips for living in a very small space. Many camper, RV and mobile home dwellers know some valuable secrets they could share with those of us wishing to know. From storage spaces to decorative values (quit laughing), send me an email.

  • Better Homes & Gardens has a huge website now with many different topics to chose from. Be warned, they come with popups and tons of ads but mostly for their magazine. They have lots of email things and newsletters. CLICK HERE to venture forth. There are 3 pages just on Using Small Spaces so take the time to look around. If you can't open the page, let me know and I will send you the link. (Nita)
  • As I live in a small, two bedroom duplex with a fair sized fenced in back yard and laundry room, I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have the best housing in this whole complex of five trailers and five duplexes. After 12 years of living here, my dog ends up with less space in the back yard every year due to my gardening projects and my hubby and I end up with less space indoors due to my being a bit of a clutter bug. Still, being that we are living in close quarters, I learn to use every bit of space available. One tip I can share is in the laundry room. (We're very fortunate to have our own laundry room within the apartment). We had an extra fairly large dresser. I put it up against a wall and use the drawers for storage and the top for folding laundry. Sometimes, some of my garden supplies ends up there as well. Whatever works...right?
  • They have these storage bags that they sell on T.V. where you can put a whole duvet in there and then take a vacuum and suck all the air out of it and it will lay flat. And when ever you want to use it again...you take the plug out and the  duvet will fluff up like before. This is good for all types off blankets, clothing etc. Also... Baskets are wonderful things to put papers, books, pens/papers etc. inside. Hope this helps you. Janet from Canada
  • Double hang clothes.  Eliminate the top shelf and add a second clothes pole and lower the original   wah lah two racks...and clothes stay neat and unwrinkled  Regards, Becky




When we built our house 33 years ago, we were lucky to afford a Sears vacuum cleaner.  A central vacuum system was out of the question.  In fact it was not a high priority until my daughter had one installed in her new home and I used it.  Wow....is it ever easier for an older lady!  So light weight and powerful.  So...I try to figure out if it can be done retro for an older house.  As we do not have a basement and the actual system is too tall to fit under the house plus the fact that you have to get to it to empty the canister...we came up with buying a small Rubbermaid building/box from Lowe's to attach to the back of our house.  It is so well suited that it could have been designed just for this purpose.  I thought there may be others that would like to know of this option.

Judy Price
North Carolina



--On the fronts of my kitchen cabinets, I have decorative hangers from which I hang, my scrub brush, scissors, potholder.  They're displayed in such a way that they are an added decorative feature as well as mutilation.

--Shelves suspended from the ceiling are wonderful for holding decorated boxes.  Again, they become decorative as well as functional.
--I saw an idea of screwing baskets onto the wall around the bathroom mirror to form shelves.  They used wicker baskets and put the screws through the bottoms of the baskets.  In my bathroom, I think wire baskets will work better.
Rebecca Jones



Our family of four lives in house of about 950 sq. ft.  Sometimes it feels quite crowded, but we've done our best to get creative with storage.

Cabinets-Lots in both the kitchen and bathrooms hold all the things we need and keep it looking neat and streamlined.  Our kitchen came with plenty of cabinets but in the bathrooms we removed the vanities and installed larger pieces we purchased at an odd lot/overstock/clearance yard.  We also found a large medicine cabinet for the master bath there and a nice wall cabinet intended for a kitchen that we hung in the children's bathroom to hold all their things.  When we installed the fireplace we used the corner space on one side by building in an angled cabinet to hold all our videos.  The television sits on top of it and above that is a matching shelf  with a "box" suspended under it that holds the VCR.  There is room on top to store or display more things.  We built matching shelves on the other side of the fireplace.

Wire shelving-We've installed wire shelving in several places to maximize storage.  There is shelving over the washer and dryer, in the back entry hallway, in the huge space that previously housed only the water heater and in all our closets.  In the closets we left half of the closet for hanging items and have shelves running floor to ceiling in the other half.  In some areas we've hid the shelves behind curtains hung on tension rods and in others they are behind bi-fold doors.

Furniture that pulls double duty-Those round decorator tables are great end tables or accent pieces and you can store all kinds of things out of sight underneath them thanks to the cloths that cover them.  Some of them even come with a shelf built under them.  You could also use small chests or boxes for side tables or coffee tables.  If you have kids, the beds that sit on platforms with drawers under them are great.  I picked one up at a garage sale a couple years ago in like-new condition for a fraction of what I'd have paid in a store.  I found great pieces for the kids's rooms at Wal-mart.  The base is a toy box and the top is a bookshelf.  The two pieces can be stacked (with brackets that keep the shelves safely in place) or separated to give you more options.

Plastic storage containers-Get the long, low ones that will fit under the beds and sofas.  You can store lots of stuff in those spaces.

Space saving bags-I don't know what they are actually called but those plastic bags that you put a bunch of clothes or bedding in and then remove all the air with a vacuum to flatten it out are great!  I've seen them on television for a lot of money, but I bought a set from LTD Commodities for less than $5.  They really do work!

Stacy Artis in SW Pennsylvania




I've just looked at your space savers, and they are bloomin' wonderful!  Here's another:  if you have the head room, hang things from the ceiling, like all good chefs do. Put up a rack, using perhaps the steel that is used to reinforce concrete.  Same with the bathroom, plants hanging down are beautiful.  And it may be the best place to store your towels!  Even nets in the bathroom for children's toys or in their bedroom is useful.  I have two bookcases in my kitchen - one for cookery books, which also has my kitchen towels (clean) on top in a fisherman's basket, which is lovely wicker, and another bookcase that has my kitchen supplies from chocolate to cheat's sauces for cooking in a hurry, flour to dried fruit.  A really easy storage choice with a lot of these supplies is to use glass coffee jars.  If plastic is the go, and the smell is too, too dreadful from what used to be in there, stick the plastic in the freezer for awhile.  It gets rid of most smells.





Back in the early 60's I rented an apartment that had the neatest idea for extending storage space. In the inner walls the wall covering had been removed [in most cases wall board] and the spaces between the studs were used for shelves. Now what made this unique was the fact that the whole wall was made to look like one huge china hutch. The removed wall board was replaced with a frame work that had many open areas in it and hinged. These openings [like little windows in a china hutch were actually filled with frosted glass so even ugly things could be put on those shelves. The hinged doors were very tall but only the width of the space from center to center of the studs. With all the available hardware now days there is no end to the imaginative uses one can do to this lost space. Make it decorative and enjoy!


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My best tip for a small home with a small kitchen:

Put in two bread boards! I have had two kitchens with double bread boards and I will never be without two again. They take no extra space and can often be added to an existing kitchen in empty space above a drawer. This is a cheap and easy way to add working and counter space to your cooking area.

--Jan Jennrich