According to a survey by Rent.com, nearly 80 percent of Millennials today are choosing to rent rather than purchase a home. The reasons for this preference are varied, and include:

  • Renting can be more economical than buying a house
  • It allows for more flexibility in moving around
  • The landlord handles maintenance tasks and pays for repairs
  • The 2007 housing crash looms large in many people's minds

Whatever the reason, many people from all generations are opting to rent. And while renting offers several perks, there are also downfalls, especially with apartment living. One common challenge is making the most of a small space; this article shares space-saving #Hacks to avoid clutter and maximize available space.

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Get organized

Organization is key to making the most of any sized living space. Without organizational systems and a place for everything, clutter is inevitable. Of course, this isn't always easy, particularly when you have been living in an apartment for any length of time and seem to have stuff everywhere. Here are some steps to get started:

  • First, take an inventory of your space and things. Note anything that doesn't have a designated spot (such as mail that just ends up piled on the counter or shoes strewn about the apartment).
  • Find opportunities to give each item identified a permanent "home." This may work within your current organization system (such as making use of closet or cupboard space) or may require a new solution (see below).
  • Once each item has a place to go, review your new organizational systems with anyone you live with, to ensure things end up in their new designated spots.

Get creative

After you've made use of your existing space as it is, it's time to get creative.

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Identify any remaining belongings that don't have a home, as well as areas of the apartment that are over-cluttered or not maximizing available space. Below are some creative ways to organize and make use of all your living space.

  • Take advantage of closets: Closets can be used for so much more than hanging clothes, regardless of the size. If there are none, add shelves above the hanging rod. See if there is room for hooks on the inside walls to hang things like purses, belts, umbrellas, etc. Make sure the floor space is being maximized, perhaps with additional shelves or bins.
  • Make use of wall space: What apartments lack in square footage, closets and counter space can often be made up for by using wall space. A small (or non-existent) coat closet can be supplemented with hooks on the wall or a coat rack. Additional shelving can be added anywhere in the house to increase storage (make sure to check with your landlord first, of course). Add over-the-door hooks in every room, to hold coats, sweatshirts, towels, scarves and more. Consider storing spices on a shelf above the stove, hanging pots and pans from the wall or ceiling, or adding a shelf above the bed in lieu of a nightstand, just to name a few ideas.
  • Think vertical: When space is limited due to smaller square footage, it's important to use all the vertical space you can. Add shelves or stack bins to get greater use of closets, pantries, and bathrooms. Opt for taller versus wider furniture, such as bookshelves and dressers. Look for areas that could be used, such as the top of the fridge, under the bed, above the couch, under the coffee table, etc.
  • Use items in non-traditional ways: When living in an apartment, using items creatively can make a crowded space organized and functional. Consider hanging pan lids on the back of kitchen cabinets, adding shelves inside your fridge/freezer, or stacking shoes in a vertical rack rather than laying on the floor. Repurpose common organizational items; for instance, a closet-hanging shoe rack could also hold purses, baseball hats and more.
  • Get the organizational tools you need: Key to success with these steps is using the right tools (and they don't have to cost an arm and a leg). But don't just go to the store and grab stuff that seems useful—that will just cause more clutter. As you're surveying your apartment and finding creative solutions to maximize space, take note of additional items you need: hooks, shelves, storage bins, etc.

Apartment living doesn't have to be a sacrifice, and there are many ways to make the most of any space.

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These apartment-living hacks can turn a cluttered, cramped space into a functional, organized, and beautiful home.