Up, Up, and (Clutter) Away: Making Use of Vertical Space

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vertical space


I have become used to living in small spaces.  Over the last eight years I’ve lived in quiet possibly some of the smallest apartments in Chicago (which, admittedly, are not nearly as small as some New York apartments I’ve heard tell of).  Many times, I have shared these apartments with more than just myself!  With each new place I’ve learned a lot about organization (something I really didn’t grow up with much of—sorry mom!)  I’ve also learned a lot about the possibilities allotted by vertical space.



1.  Over-The-Door Pocket Shoe Organizer

My first vertical space lifesaver would have to be the over-the-door pocket shoe organizer.  I’ve used these for so many things!  They’re great for bathroom supplies (lotions, nail polish, nail clippers, extra soap and shampoo, razors, etc.)  They’re also good for bedroom doors or in closets to hold socks, leggins, or bras and underwear.  They’re great in pantries to hold seasoning packets, spices, small boxed items, granola bars, and other not-so-heavy items.  They’re also perfect for closets or under cabinets (if you cut them in half or find short ones) to hold cleaning supplies!  They aren’t just great for shoes!




2.  Hanging Bins, Boxes, and Baskets

This one is great and one I only just recently came across. Shelves are a pain in the butt.  I hate installing them, because they’re often super difficult, and things fall off of them so frequently.  Hanging baskets, bins, and boxes add a really unique look to a room, and hold whatever it is you want in place better.  The bathroom in my apartment is very tiny, and I’ve recently installed cute aluminum box I got for a few dollars above the toilet and towel rack.  It is perfect to store toilet paper and air fresheners.  If I had more room, I’d love to install another for fresh towels.




You can also use hanging planters!  These are pretty and inexpensive.  I’ve recently installed two in my kitchen to serve as baskets for fresh fruits and vegetables that I don’t wish to store in the fridge.  I lined mine with shelf liner but you  can also line them with burlap or a sturdy fabric.  You don’t have to line them at all if you don’t want to, I just chose to because the holes were a little large and my fruit kept falling out.  These would be great in other spaces besides a kitchen, like near the front door for mail, keys, umbrellas, hats, etc.  Larger ones would be great in kids rooms for holding stuffed animals too!




3.  Hooks, Hooks, and more Hooks (silverware, pots and pans, coffee mugs)

I love hooks.  I dislike storing all of our different large cooking utensils in tubs, and I think they take up way too much drawer space.  I also dislike the amount of drawer and cabinet space pots and pans and coffee mugs take up.  I use hooks as great space savers!  I have “S” hooks on a shelving unit in my kitchen where my Kurig sits, and above the Kurig I’ve hung all of my coffee cups.  They look so much cuter hung than they do on a shelf or in a cabinet!  I’ve also used another flower basket, upside down this time, with more “S” hooks to act as a pot and pan holder.  I love the expensive pot and pan racks that hang from the ceiling or over the oven, but I just can’t afford those right now, and I rent, so hanging anything  from the ceiling is probably a violation of my lease.  Instead, if I turn this upside down and mount it to the wall with two simple screws, I have myself an awesome looking hanger for $3-$5!




My kitchen also has a really ugly hot water heater along one of the walls, exposed so all can see.  It is gross and I hate it, but the apartment was too much of a steal for this to be anything more an an inconvenience.  So, instead, I bought a double large folding closet door from a “re” store (where they sell discount construction and home improvement supplies) for $3!  I painted it a color that would make it pop rather than blend in, screwed some hooks into it, and *poof* it serves a double purpose as a screen and storage.  You no longer notice the ugly hot water heater behind it, and I get all of my large utensils out of the drawers!




Another way to use hooks, is to mount a pegboard to the wall!  I bought this metal one to use as a backsplash for my sink.  I bought some baskets (three for 6 dollars) that hang in the peg board, as well as various hooks.  Here I  can hang my papertowels, sponges and dishsoap, and other various items.  It also just looks nice, and adds a cool industrial feel to the kitchen that makes my roommate feel a little less like he is living in really girly space.



4.  Magnets

I love magnets!  They’re amazing.  I recently found a pin on Pinterest about hanging makeup on a magnetic board.  This is genius.  I had to try it, and I love how much valuable counter space it saves me.

I also use magnetic spice canisters.  I’ve seen these a lot of places, and I love the look of them.  They make spices pretty and uniform, instead of having all those strangely shaped bottles laying around.  Also, I don’t have to worry about going into the pantry and sorting through a billion spices in a basket, they’re just all there on the fridge, ready for me to pick from.  I could also put them on my new metal pegboard if I wanted to.  I love my magnets in the kitchen so much, that I’ve purchased magnet hooks for the oven (which hold oven mitts) and a magnet knife strip to hold knives so i don’t have to worry about the big clunky wooden knife block taking up space.  Okay, maybe I’ve gone a little overboard with the magnets.


These are just a few of the ways we’ve taken advantage of the vertical space in our apartment.  Do you have ways of your own that have been successful?  Let me know in the comments below!

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