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How to Maximize Your Unused Space

April 11th, 2014 : Lydia Epp Schmidt

A few years ago National Geographic did the math and realized that if everyone in the world stood shoulder to shoulder, we would all fit in Los Angeles. Granted, this isn’t the most useful of thought experiments, but it illustrates something shockingly obvious that we’re all constantly overlooking – there’s plenty of space to go around.

Take NYC, for example. This is a city where getting an apartment even remotely close to what you wanted is a cause for celebration. But if you’re anything like 69% of most New Yorkers, you’ll spend countless years moving up a few hundred square feet at a time in your search for the “perfect place.”

But the perfect place (space-wise) can be any place, really, as long as you’re creative. Here are 5 parts of your apartment to rethink and discover all the square feet you’ve been overlooking (unless you’re a master-organizer and space utilizer, in which case, well done).

1. Your bed

Ever notice how when you have friends over, they crash on the couch? Your bed can be your couch, and vice-versa. This simple rethinking of big furniture can save you tons of space – and potentially even free up an entire room.

Or wondered why beds are elevated in the first place? Nothing’s hiding under the bed, so put things down there. If necessary, buy bed risers. Scratch that, definitely buy bed risers.

Pillows are also a great investment because they can double as floor mats. Remember what it was like to sit cross-legged in elementary school? Give yourself an excuse to revisit your nostalgia.

 2. Your seats

Should always be storage. Or, “how you learned to love the ottoman.” They even double as footrests!

But if you really don’t like ottomans, it’s not the end of the world. Because you can still buy foldable chairs.

3. Your walls

Too often, we let walls contain us. It’s time we showed them who’s boss. Cover your walls in command clips and hang things from them. Or use magnets, which are perfect for smaller items. It’s not only space-efficient, it’s a great way to decorate (scarfs and hats look great hung on walls)

Unless you’re an NBA player, chances are your walls are taller than you are. Take advantage of this by installing new shelving. All those boxes in the corner of your bedroom? Taken care of.

Sometimes, four walls just aren’t enough. Companies use cubicles because they create the illusion of extra space. Take a pointer from the corporate playbook and use standing plywood to make a little office beside your bed.

4. Your doors

Understand that all the doors in your apartment are basically just pivoting walls. Command clip them into submission.

They can also double as storage space when opened because you can keep things hidden behind them. Like the ladder you’ll need for all that upper-wall shelving you’re going to install.

5. Your ceiling

At the end of the day, it’s just the fifth wall of any room. So hang clothing racks from it.

But let’s say you have enough closet space. What else can you hang up there? Why not a projector? That way you can save the floor and wall space your selfish TV is taking up on a daily basis.

 Too often, we end up wasting hundreds of square feet we could repurpose to free up more floor space. And more floor space means more space, period.

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