Renter Friendly Organizing Tips

Although I haven't lived in a rental for many years now, I am often asked about organizing and storage solutions that are rental friendly.  Some of you have been long time apartment dwellers, military families, have decided to downsize or are living within a rental property temporarily, and need tips that don't require built-ins and installing wall storage.  You need solutions that are versatile, inexpensive and can transition from place to place.

Many of these tips can be used in any small space, apartment or not, but they also take into consideration that no drilling or hammering can take place.  Here are my top room by room tips.

In The Entryway

  • Utilize a tall bookcase as a temporary closet.  With adjustable shelving, boots and shoes are able to be stored below while a few hooks above offer hanging storage.  Add in craft drawers for hats, mittens and mail as well as a small tray to collect daily personal necessities.
  • Credenzas also make great entryway storage with the ability to conceal footwear below while adding a lamp and tray creates a drop zone above. 
  • Pop a small storage ottoman near the entry to act as a place to sit while putting on shoes, as well as providing a place to conceal outerwear clutter.
  • If your entry door is made from steel, consider magnetic hooks which can be attached to the back of the door for hanging outwear, umbrellas and totes.

In The Living Room

  • Although we are not renters, our DIY "built in" bookcases are renter friendly!  They hold everything for our family/living room such as electronic components, board games, family photos and mementos, books and craft supplies for the boys.  They consist of a series of bookcases pieced together and have been a major storage win!
  • Conceal media and memorabilia within decorative boxes to reduce visual clutter.
  • In a rental, storage ottomans will be your best friend in almost any space.  In the living room, utilize them to store video game controllers, games or toys for the littles.
  • Collapsible television trays work well as sofa end tables because they can also double as a place to dine or work.

In The Kitchen

  • Add a stand-in wire shelving or a rolling cart to hold small appliances, cookbooks, bulky cookware and bake-ware as well as serving dishes and barware.
  • Command Strips are a renter's best friend in almost any space.  Not only are they perfect for holding measuring cups, bibs and utensils on the insides of cabinets, they also work well to hold small baskets and tension rods which allow you to get really creative with cabinet storage.  They also rock for getting utensils and cookware off of the limited counter space and up on the walls.
  • Utilize over the door pockets and organizers for additional food and pantry storage.
  • Maximize cabinet storage by adding in wire shelf inserts and shelf baskets, which allow items to be stacked without becoming cumbersome to take out and put away.
  • Stackable bins and baskets used within cabinets for dry food packaging and the fridge for yogurts and snacks will maximize any vertical space.

In The Bathroom

  • Take advantage of the cabinet doors by adding over-the-door baskets to hold hair tools and cleaning supplies.
  • Most vanity cabinets do not come with built-in shelving {I always question this but suppose it is to accommodate plumbing}, so make the most of the vertical area with open faced stackable baskets.  They are ideal for toiletries, linens and paper products.
  • Consider utilizing a narrow bookcase to act as a stand in linen closet.  Baskets can be added to corral daily essentials while towels and linens can stack on the open shelving.
    • Use the space behind the toilet by adding in a narrow bathroom etagere which will allow you to keep your oral care products tucked away behind closed doors.  Within the cabinet, utilize small stacking shelves and Command bins to hold smaller cosmetics and toiletries.
    • Add over the door organizers and hooks to hold towels and linens.  If floor space is so limited that no cabinet space is available, stock a tote with daily toiletries and hair tools and hang on a hook behind the door.

    In The Laundry Room

    • Many rentals are not equipped with a washer and dryer within the unit, so laundry organization can become even more tricky.  Stock a caddy with daily laundering essentials such as detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover and lint brushes, which you can "grab and go" on laundry day.  Diaper, cleaning or shower caddies all work well for this purpose.
    • Use laundry sacks hung on the back of the door to sort clothing.  Not only do the laundry sacks take up very little space {and no floor space}, they are easy to transport to the washer.
    • Invest in a small, collapsible drying rack which is light weight enough to hang on the back of the bathroom door with some Command Hooks, and can be placed in the shower to dry daily delicate items.
    • If the rental does contain a washer/dryer, narrow rolling carts are a great solution for storing daily laundry care items.
    • As with all rooms and closets in the home, take advantage of doors to add over-the-door storage.

    In The Bedroom

    • I have always boasted about creating custom closet solutions, and many think that this cannot be done in a rental.  But it can!  I am a GIANT fan of the Closetmaid Selections pieces sold at most home improvement stores, because they stack and mix and match to meet your individual storage needs.  In a variety of sizes, they offer shoe racks, drawers and cubbies which can be paired with a variety of bins and baskets.  Definitely a smart way to maximize bedroom storage without having to install a high end closet.
    • Use a storage ottoman at the end of the bed to act as a bench while getting ready each day as well as storage for oversized bedding and linens.
    • Add risers to your bed frame to allow for underbed storage containers or drawers.  These drawers are fantastic for holding off-season clothing, exercise equipment and all of your other miscellaneous possessions that need a tucked away place to call home.
    • Consider adding a small desk to act as a makeup vanity, which can house your daily beauty supplies and free up space in the bath.
    • Don't forget the back of the door to add hooks, Command Caddies and shoe pockets, which work wonders for storing accessories, shoes and handbags.

    OK friends, surely I have forgotten a thing or two since I haven't lived in an apartment for 13 years now, so help a gal out.  What else do you have to add that has been a small space life saver?  

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