What if we told you that there’s hope for creating plenty of storage space in small quarters? We've discovered that the answer lies in getting a little creative and thinking outside of the box, bin, or basket.
When it comes to organizing in a smaller area, "you really have to be mindful about maximizing the space and understanding the priority items...[a]s opposed to larger storage spaces where everything can be lined up and visible," says Holly Blakey, professional organizer and founder of Breathing Room Organization + Styling. To help you make your storage and organizational dreams a reality, we've compiled some of the most useful and clever storage options currently available. We assessed their overall functionality, practicality, and ability to serve in a designated area (or in some cases, ability to perform throughout your home). We also weighed their value and design, especially for super stylish pieces that double as decor.
Check out the best storage solutions for small spaces below.
Yamazaki White Magnetic Kitchen Organization Rack
Can be positioned with magnets or hardware
Multiple types of storage, including hooks and shelves
Simple, minimalist design
Durable steel construction
Only available in white
Don't let the word "kitchen" in this rack's title fool you—you can use this clever, multi-tiered rack in any part of your home. The magnetic backing sets it apart, and allows you to utilize the side of your fridge, washing machine, or really, any empty magnetic surface in your home. Don't want to add clutter to your fridge? No problem. You can use the included hardware to mount it to a wall.
We especially like how it includes more than one type of storage. Use the bar for paper towels or for hanging a washcloth, take advantage of the hooks by looping oven mitts, utensils, or even small baskets for pens and other odds and ends. And the shelf can even accommodate books, mail, or other taller items.
The simple, contemporary design will suit multiple decor styles, but note that the only available color is white. The other detail worth noting is that unlike other storage options that arrive intact, this rack requires assembly. Still, we love this useful organizer and how it conveniently takes advantage of vertical space!
Price at time of publish: $42
Type: Rack and shelving | Dimensions: 3.5 x 11.4 x 14.2 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Materials: Steel
Best Overall, Runner-Up
Costway Wall Mounted Folding Laptop Desk
Built-in work surface and storage compartments
Additional drawer and shelf
Foldable work area
Lower weight limits
You've probably heard of a Murphy bed before, but how about a Murphy desk? With built-in storage and a foldable surface that you can use in a variety of ways, this wall-mounted desk unit is a game changer. We love it for a home office or smaller kitchen, but rest assured it can be an entryway organizer, craft corner, nightstand, and more. In fact, the sky's the limit in how you use it—just don't overlook the weight limits for each compartment. The desk platform has the lowest, at just over 4 pounds—great for a laptop or some art supplies.
If you're looking to utilize wall space and could use hidden storage and a functional work surface, we think it's a great choice. Just plan accordingly for some care and caution, and block off some time for setup and installation.
Price at time of publish: $80
Type: Wall-mounted | Dimensions: 24 x 20 x 20 inches (unfolded) | Weight: 22,4 pounds | Materials: MDF
Kimwason 6 Pack Spring Tension Curtain Rod
Can be used in a variety of ways
Multiple colors and sizes available
Comes in a set of two or six
Color choices are limited
This next one requires a little creativity! Tension rods might be best known for holding curtains, but their practicality goes far beyond. Pop one inside your coat closet to hang scarves and hats (just add S-hooks), install it vertically as a shelf, cabinet, or closet divider, or position multiple rods parallel to one another to create more shelf surface anywhere you choose. You can even fashion one as a paper towel holder or gift wrap storage.
This particular set includes two or six rods, the latter of which will be enough to try all of these projects. Two size options, and three color choices are offered, too. We like the current offerings (white, black, wood grain) although they might stand out against certain decor styles (unless you opt to paint or style them).
Price at time of publish: $17 for 6
Type: Rod | Dimensions: Varies, 15.7-48 inch range | Weight: 1 pound | Materials: Carbon steel
Best for Living Rooms
Room Essentials Double Storage Ottoman Dark Gray
Versatile design will suit multiple decor styles
Roomy inner storage
Materials can show wear and tear
With this nifty, but simple storage ottoman, you'll feel even better when you put your feet up—because it'll help you keep clutter at bay. Here's how it works: When the lid's on, it blends in as a contemporary dual purpose footrest and coffee table, but when the lid's removed, you'll have a spacious storage solution that can hold blankets, pillows, books, toys, and more.
We love it as a living room piece that's both form and function—or we could also see it as an extra bench and shoe holder by the front door. The top is padded, so it's comfortable either way, and the weight capacity is 250 pounds.
Note that the inner compartment is not divided, so you'll want to be careful that small or loose items won't get lost inside. Plus, while we see this as an overall good value, some of the materials used that allow it to be reasonably priced aren't as durable, and it could be prone to damage with regular and constant use. You'll definitely want to observe the weight limits and be careful not to overfill it.
Price at time of publish: $80
Type: Large compartment | Dimensions: 17 x 35.5 x 16.5 inches | Weight: 18.07 pounds | Materials: Polyester, Wood Frame, Foam padding
Best for Apartments
Mustard Made The Shorty
Gorgeous color choices
If only we had space (and budget!) for an entire rainbow of Mustard Made lockers. Until we figure that out, we'll just be over here, appreciating individual pieces like The Shorty (which happens to be their smallest model). When your storage space is limited, a functional piece that also adds a decorative element can be an MVP. Styled like classic school lockers with an elevated twist, this colorful piece makes a great end table or nightstand.
It has adjustable shelves, offers left or right opening, and has added conveniences like an included key, and cable holes. The brand also makes matching baskets to help you organize the interior, but they're sold separately, so you'll want to budget accordingly. Also, plan to spend some time putting it together, as it ships flat.
Price at time of publish: $150
Type: Locker | Dimensions: 13.8 x 18.1 x 28.3 inches | Weight: Not listed | Materials: Powder coated steel
Best for Under Beds
The Container Store Our Long Under Bed Box With Wheels
Wheels allow for easy retrieval
Lid can be opened from either side
Low profile design
Higher price than similar styles
If your idea of under bed storage involves laying on your stomach and reaching into the void, then you may want to sit down for this one. From The Container Store, these rolling under bed boxes are a super convenient way to make use of that extra space in your bedroom. The wheels allow you to pull them out from either direction, and the flip-top lid allows you to access contents from both sides too. The transparent material also makes it easy to tell what's inside—an especially convenient feature if you have more than one.
Speaking of buying multiples, you can purchase them one at a time, or as a pack of six. Though, at $30 apiece, they can quickly add up. If you're short on space and not seeing a need for six bins, keep in mind that they're just 6.5 inches tall. Depending on the clearance of other furniture in your home, you might have more space for them than you think. Options without wheels are available, too.
Price at time of publish: $30
Type: Lidded container | Dimensions: 35.63 x 18.25 x 6.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Materials: Polypropylene
Best for Bathroom
Home Basics 13.25-Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder
Easy way to keep track of loose, metallic items
Can fit inside a drawer or cabinet or on a wall
Installation or mounting required
Wait—a knife strip in the bathroom? Yes! Just leave the knives in the kitchen, and instead use the strip to corral your bobby pins, clippers, tweezers, manicure scissors, and all the other magnetic odds and ends that fill your drawers. You can also pick up some magnetic lids and refill the cutest and most compact jars you can find so your favorite products are never more than an arm's reach away. It works on the wall, in a cabinet, or even inside a drawer.
This magnetic strip does include hardware for mounting, or you might opt to use adhesive. Also, because no weight limit was available at time of publish, you'll want to exercise good judgment in the amount you store to make sure nothing sharp is in danger of falling.
Price at time of publish: $10
Type: Magnetic | Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Materials: Stainless steel
Best for Kitchens
Yamazaki Steel Rolling Storage Cart
Handle makes it easy to retrieve and put away
Perfect for small spaces
Yamazaki makes yet another appearance among our favorite small space storage solutions. This time, it's in the form of this clever rolling cart. By now, most of us have seen some of the many ways that tiered carts can be styled and how they can elevate your space, but this well-designed piece manages to stand out among its peers. For starters, the contemporary design is simple yet chic, and we appreciate the two-toned combination of the bamboo shelf surface and steel body (available in either black or white). We also like the upper handle that allows you to push or pull it without coming in contact with (or knocking over!) shelf contents. Also related to the shelves, this cart has railings on either side, so you can access items from the left or right.
The smart design and high-quality materials do come at a higher price, but given the overall versatility and functionality, we think the value is there to warrant the higher price tag.
Price at time of purchase: $145
Type: Cart with shelves | Dimensions: 47 x 15 x 26 inches | Weight: 4.6 pounds | Materials: Stainless steel
Best for Closets
SimpleHouseware Adjustable Closet Hanging Rod in Chrome
Adjustable width and height
25-pound weight limit
Not as secure as other closet systems
Some assembly required
How does double the room in your closet sound? If you're hanging your clothes, it's an easy upgrade with this adjustable closet rod. It hooks over your existing rod and gives you another, parallel bar with a weight limit of 25 pounds—plenty to hold lots of shirts, sweaters, skirts, and pants. The height and width are both adjustable, so you can control the spacing both above and below additional rod. We also appreciate that it comes in three colors (black, white, or chrome), so you can coordinate with your existing closet rod or shelving.
Once you set it up, it's easy to adjust and re-adjust as necessary, too. Just keep in mind that the nature of the design means it's not quite as stable as built-ins or other closet systems, and it could swing or wobble. But the simplicity, effectiveness, and overall ease of use still make it a savvy selection in our book.
Price at time of publish: $17
Type: Hanging rod | Dimensions: Varies, up to 30 x 1 x 35 inches | Weight: 2.09 pounds | Materials: Alloy steel
Best for Clothing
Iris USA Metal Garment Rack with Shelves
Multiple configurations available
Shelf and rod space
Whether your current closet situation is not cutting it, or you're in need of an attractive solution that's out in the open, we like this freestanding clothing rack. It's offered in a total of seven configurations, so you can select the amount of shelving you want, as well as the color and material, too (choices include black, white, and bamboo combinations). There's even a design meant for corners, aka that awkward space in your bedroom.
With larger pieces like this, it's not uncommon for it to ship unassembled, which means it'll be your job to put it together when it arrives (or you can enlist the help of a handy friend or family member). We think it's well-worth the effort and could see it being an attractive solution in bedrooms of all sizes, or even as a makeshift hall closet if your entryway is without one.
Price at time of publish: $30-$100, depending on style selected
Type: Rack and shelving | Dimensions: Varies | Weight: Varies | Materials: Metal, Wood
Best for Shoes
Like-it Space-Saving Shoe & Sneaker Holders
Stores two shoes in footprint of one
Not suitable for taller shoes
Thanks to their clever stacking design, these snazzy shoe holders allow you to store two shoes vertically, so each pair only takes up the floor or shelf space of one shoe. We're especially impressed by some of the smaller design details, like the texture surface and the notch that prevents shoes top shoes from sliding.
With six or 12 stands to a set, it averages to less than $4 per shoe holder, so we're glad to see that they're a cost-effective option, too. The one potential downside we see is that they don't accommodate boots or taller shoes. But, if your shoe collection tends to have lots of flats, low heels, and sneakers, they'll likely be a game changer for you.
Price at time of publish: $22 for 6
Type: Small Rack | Dimensions: 10.24 x 3.94 x 5.31 inches | Weight: Not listed | Materials: Polypropylene
Best for Home Offices
mDesign Cable Organizers
Contemporary, lidded design
Built-in slots on both sides
Two available sizes
Multiple colors limited to lid
Few things can make a space look cluttered and messy as quickly as loose cords. When your space is limited, it can be easy for wires to fall to the wayside, but this cable organizer is a simple solution that gets the job done with minimal effort from you. Two sizes are offered, accommodate various styles of power strips and surge protectors, and each has slots on both sides to allow cables through. Plus, the exterior look is simple and clean; we especially like the bamboo lid option (white and gray are available, too).
Though, speaking of the design options, the container itself only comes in white, and the lid color is the only thing that varies. While white makes sense since it matches lots of popular charge cords, it may not suit everyone's space (though, it may make for a fun and easy DIY-project if you have another color in mind).
Price at time of publish: $23
Type: Lidded container| Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.8 x 16 inches (larger size) | Weight: 1.74 pounds | Materials: Plastic, Bamboo
Best for Cabinets
Simple Trending Stackable 2-Tier Under Sink Cabinet Organizer with Sliding Storage Drawer
Two tiers of storage
Multiple color choices
Removable surfaces to keep small items in place
With these stackable basket drawers, you won't have to worry about losing items in the back of your cabinets. Plus, they're two-tiered, so you get an added layer of usable space. We're also impressed by the included platforms that keep smaller items from slipping through the wire gaps. If your space allows it, they're even stackable (but just be careful that it doesn't become too top-heavy). They're made for cabinets, but can also work well on a countertop or shelf, too.
It's also worth noting that these are lightweight, so you may want to consider securing it in place. Another note about setup is that assembly is required, so make sure to set some time aside.
Price at time of publish: $21
Type: Rack and basket drawers | Dimensions: 14.25 x 8.5 x 13.25 inches | Weight: 3.67 pounds | Materials: Plastic, metal
Rubbermaid Configurations Deluxe Closet Kit
Multiple sets and sizes availables
Adjustable and expandable options
Comes in white and titanium
Can be pricey
The Rubbermaid Configurations line has consistently fared well when we've reviewed closet kits previously. While it's a great option for closet organizing, you can also use it as open track shelving, too. A range of sets are available, so we recommend closely measuring your space and triple-checking your cart before completing your order. One perk is that some of the pieces are expandable (telescoping rods, for example), and the vertical racks have slats that run the entirety of their height, so you can easily adjust and readjust your shelving as you see fit.
This is a pricier option than others we've mentioned, but given how versatile and reliable this storage system is, we're still big fans. It may take some time to get it fully installed (a previous tester, who was overall very pleased with the system, discussed this at length) but once you have it set up, we think you'll love it.
Price at the time of publish: $150+
Type: Rack, shelving, hanging rod | Dimensions: Varies, 3-8 feet of wall space | Weight: Varies | Materials: Aluminum
Best for Walls
IKEA SKÅDIS Pegboard Combination
Multiple storage options available in one set
Adjustable based on needs
Additional containers available
Hardware not included
If you've been admiring sleek and styled pegboards from afar, this one's for you. IKEA has put together multiple sets and packages featuring their versatile SKÅDIS pegboard, each with a different combination of cups, shelves, hooks, and more. In other words; you don't have to fuss with sourcing and securing accessories to go with it.
As easy it is to enjoy styling this set, setting it up will take some extra effort since hardware isn't included. The brand's response mentions the reason being different walls have different requirements, so be sure to look into what your space will need. Once you have it up, we think you'll get tons of use out of it.
Price at time of publish: $56
Type: Pegboard and hanging storage options | Dimensions: 30.25 x 0.75 x 24 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds (pegboard)| Materials: Fiberboard (pegboard), accessories vary
Our Best Overall pick, the Yamazaki White Magnetic Kitchen Organization Rack, gives you shelving, rods, and hooks in a compact magnetic design. Use the bar for paper towels or for hanging a washcloth, take advantage of the hooks by looping oven mitts, utensils, or even small baskets for pens. For a more budget-friendly but equally versatile choice, the Kimwason 6-Pack Spring Tension Curtain Rod gives you lots of options, too. Individual tension rods can be used on their own or together to create all kinds of versatile storage spaces, including creating division in kitchen drawers, hanging curtains to hide messy clutter, or even displaying artwork and messages.
What to Look for in Storage Solutions for Small Spaces
As you might have noticed, storage solutions come in a variety of styles and designs. We tend to lean toward options that remove your belongings from the floor (or from other surfaces), and those that keep potential clutter out of eyesight. When you're working with space limitations, we think that these types can make the most difference. For instance, our pick for Best Overall, Yamazaki White Magnetic Kitchen Organization Rack can hold multiple items and clear your surfaces, and Best Overall, Runner-up, the Costway Wall Mounted Folding Laptop Desk is a great example of a piece that can keep clutter out of view.
To avoid losing things, or falling prey to the old adage "out of sight, of mind," keep extra labels or tape on hand. "Labeling is key in smart storage for small spaces," says Holly Blakey of Breathing Room Organization + Styling. "As opposed to larger storage spaces where everything can be lined up and visible, in small spaces, you lose the ability to have full visibility because items are often stacked."
When size is a limiting factor for your storage-related purchases, the measuring tape is your friend! Be sure to double-check that potential storage products should meet your space’s requirements. If you find yourself adjusting the layout of your home regularly, or you anticipate a future move, you can also lean toward pieces that are adjustable. We featured a number of pieces that can grow (or shrink) based on your needs, including the SimpleHouseware Adjustable Hanging Rod, and the Kimwason 6-Pack Spring Tension Curtain Rod.
You'll find household heavy-hitters frequently appearing in your storage solutions, including wood, plastics (like acrylic and polypropylene), bamboo, and metal. Each option brings something different to the table (or shelf, or wall). Plastics tend to be lightweight and less expensive, woods and bamboo can be more aesthetically pleasing, and metal can be especially durable.
To narrow down the pieces that will work best for you, consider what you need from your storage solutions. Do you need them to be super durable to suit a busy household, for example? Or will it be something that's kept out in the open and needs to blend in with your decor? After narrowing down what's most important, you'll find that sweet spot of form and function, which will then allow you to peruse material options and factor your budget, too.
How do I maximize storage in a small home?
If you ask us, this is the fun part. Blakey explains that it's all about "maximizing the space and understanding the priority items." In other words, using as much of your space as possible, and utilizing tools and tricks that allow for hanging, sorting, stacking, and more. Blakey also makes a point to "understand what the homeowners use the most," adding that items used daily "would be placed up front so that they are easy to retrieve."
Translating this advice to your home organizing project calls for a bit of creativity, flexibility, and preparation. First, identify what exactly you need to store, and where you intend to store it. Then, you can zero in on solutions that will suit you. For example, does your small closet need to handle two adult wardrobes' worth of clothing? Look at clothing-specific or closet-specific storage solutions (we love the metal garment racks from IRIS USA). Or, do you have tight spaces that serve multiple purposes, like a living room that doubles as a playroom? Adjustable or dual-function pieces might suit you, like the Room Essentials Storage Ottoman. Is your kitchen too tight for all your favorite foods and your stand mixer? "[I]n a small pantry, I would maximize the space by using stacking or tiered bins," Blakey says. This two-tiered cabinet organizer is up to the task.
How can I add storage in a room without a closet?
The sky—or rather, your ceiling—is the limit. If you're tasked with creating storage space without the convenience of a closet, you have two choices; invest in a piece at mimics a closet, like a clothing rack, or closet kit installed on an open wall (both of which we suggested in this list), or repurpose other storage systems to store clothes and other belongings. The answer lies in what sort of space you're working with, and what you're planning to store.
How much do storage solutions for small spaces cost?
Storage solutions for small spaces can be found on budgets large and small. At the time of publish, pieces in this round-up range from $10 for a magnetic rack (our pick for Best for Bathrooms), up to $150 (the price for both Mustard Made's The Shorty, the locker we selected for Best for Apartments, and also for the Rubbermaid Configurations Closet kit model we featured, our Best Adjustable choice).
Why Trust The Spruce?
Dena Ogden is a lifestyle and commerce writer who’s been writing professionally since 2016, and with The Spruce since August 2022. For this story, Ogden researched small space storage options currently available at major retailers and evaluated products based on size, features, material, design, and overall value. She also consulted with Holly Blakey, professional organizer and founder of Breathing Room Organization + Styling, about advice and recommendations when organizing in small spaces. Dena's current favorite storage solution in her home is a folding desk with built-in compartments.