3 easy ways to keep your smaller home organized

Do you find it difficult to manage small house organization?

This post is about the small space living I experienced when we took a quick trip to the beach and stayed in a tiny two-bedroom apartment.

small house organization tips


We’re talking 600 square feet for 6 people! Sleeping and eating arrangements were tight but we had a blast.

I came away with some tips to share with you on staying organized in a small house.

3 Tips for small house organization

1. Smaller spaces demand just the necessities

Organizing small spaces requires the need for just necessities. The vacation rental we stayed in was designed with only the necessities.

There are no closets full of linens, a spare crockpot or a closet full of games and craft supplies. There are enough dishes and kitchen essentials for a couple meals and no more. There are a few books to read and 3 or 4 family board games.

You won’t find 20 coffee mugs in the kitchen cabinet or 30 forks or knives in the kitchen drawers. These things just aren’t necessary and so you won’t find them in a vacation rental. Extra items would detract from an otherwise pleasant stay.

The owners want their guests to enjoy themselves as much as possible and a big part of that is providing the necessary amenities and comforts of home, but nothing extra that the guests won’t use.

how to declutter and organize small home
It’s time to keep your essentials and not much more.

Action item: What do you really use in your day-to-day life?

If you’re not regularly using those extra coffee mugs or the third set of sheets or the good china (or whatever else), maybe you should let them go. Keeping your house organized will be a lot easier if you free up some extra space by getting rid of some of those things. (Check out our guide, Step-by-Step Decluttering, for extra help there!)

==> If you’re squeezed for space in your home, consider parting with some things you don’t use regularly.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering and Organizing Your Closet

organizing small spaces

2. Smaller spaces require just one activity at a time.

When you’re on vacation and life’s moving a little slower, it’s not so hard to finish one activity before starting the next.

In our little rental apartment, the kitchen was tiny with no dishwasher in sight. If we wanted to use the kitchen table, we had to clean up immediately after meals. So everyone pitched in.

I’m sure the kitchen was clean in less time than it takes us at home and that included hand-washing, drying and putting away all the dishes, pots and pans. It really wasn’t taxing; plus then we didn’t have a messy kitchen to deal with later on.

Action item: slow down and finish one activity before you start the next.

Are you guilty of leaving something out and having to put it away later? Do your kids walk away from one mess just to make another?

This is more a good habit than anything else. You can work on this! Kids can learn – but they won’t do this if you don’t require them to. Barring emergencies, everyone can work to make this a habit.

==> Start telling yourself (and your kids), “Finish what you started” (such a powerful habit!)

Related: 5 easy small home organization tips

It's easier to organize and care for fewer belongings.
It’s easier to organize and care for fewer belongings.

3. When you have fewer things, it’s easier to care for them.

We each took 1 pair of shoes with us (except the 3-year-old who packed an extra pair of flip-flops!).

There was no mountain of shoes to deal with at the door (seriously, the pile of shoes at home is an embarrassment to me and something I plan to better organize soon). If someone couldn’t find a shoe, we had to locate it or we couldn’t go out.

Action item: consider eliminating some of your related and duplicate items

Consider cutting back on:

  • shoes (note to self…)
  • kids toys
  • stuffed animals
  • kitchen gadgets and appliances
  • sweaters and jackets (1 per person per season is probably plenty)
  • cookbooks
  • bikes, scooters, etc. (again, 1 per person is a nice guideline)
  • knick-knacks and collectibles (less to dust)
  • … and the list goes on

It might be useful to see how much clothing is too much for adults, as well as how much clothes kids actually need, for tips.

If you do have the room to store the extras and you don’t want to part with them, consider removing them from daily circulation. You can bring them out when you need them and they won’t be in your way when you don’t.

Related: Toy storage ideas from a preschool classroom

These are just suggestions for staying organized in a small space.

I’m not saying this is the only way to stay organized in a small house. Rather if you’re tight on space, these strategies can help free up some much-needed space in your home and make it easier to stay organized and clean up.

One final thought about the organization of smaller spaces

If you’ve got kids, please realize that it’s going to be hard work to keep on top of the mess and the clutter. People (especially kids) make messes – it’s part of life.

But, as you follow these organization ideas for small spaces, you will live a less cluttered life. Whether you have a smaller or larger living space doesn’t really change this, it just changes your challenges a bit.

So when you’re working hard on processing paperwork or cleaning up from a meal for the 3rd time that day, it’s OK to feel tired. Running a household is demanding!

But I hope that that also motivates you to continue making changes in your home and habits that help life run more smoothly for you.

What are your favorite tips for small house organization?


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9 thoughts on “3 easy ways to keep your smaller home organized”

  1. I loved you tips so much. You are totally have a point in each tip. I also realize the same tips when we go to vacation and spend sometimes in a hotel or small space. My tip to stay organizing is to take something doesn’t belong to the room with you when you leave to another room. For example if you are going to the kitchen take something with you that needs to put away in kitchen. Same for all rooms .Make it a habit and you are done.

  2. I love any and all organizing, but small house organizing can be a real challenge. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Congrats, you’re featured this week at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

  3. All good points. We just moved from a 1800 sq foot/3 bedroom home across country to a 2 bedroom very small apt. Our kitchen is a little smaller than the photo you posted. We tried to downsize before we left bur I’ve downsized 2 times since we’ve moved and I and in the process of downsizing more…working on the extra/double things. We kept things that we may want in a new house but I’ve realized most of it we may not want and is just taking up space. We definitely try to be outdoors as much as possible.

    • Congrats on your move – that must have required a lot of decluttering. I think also, we sometimes want new things when we move (if necessary) and holding on to something doesn’t make sense because it takes up a space in the short term and you may end up buying something new anyways.

  4. I just found this article on Pinterest. The timing is absolutely perfect. My husband and I sold our 1600 sq ft house in December and in 2-3 wks will move into our new 1050 sq ft house. We, also, got rid of much when we moved but realize there will be much more that will need to be done as we have the absolute minimum (at least for us) storage space. Your tips are very good. One thing I’m also doing is studying how to accomplish the “capsule wardrobe” concept to accommodate our bedroom closet which is the size of a1950’s bedroom closet. We’re both very excited at the prospect ahead and look forward to more free time, not to mention mental space this change is bringing. Thanks for posting your article!

  5. The house shown with your blog on “small house organization tips” from sept 2014…
    Do you happen to know the paint colors of the body and front door?

    Thanks for your time.


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Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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