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Maximize Your Space

Better's organizing expert has tips for living large in a small space.

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Whether you're downsizing or living in a small space to begin with, you can make that space seem much larger if you're organized. Our organizing expert, Ellen Damaschino, shows Brooke the tools you need. Hey everyone. Ellen and I are here at Ikea in their 375 square foot apartment which is very realistic to a lot of people's lofts and apartments, and the smaller your space is, the more organized you need to be. And that's why I'm here today, give you some tips on how you can better utilize your small space. And the first tip is, multi-use furniture. Okay. And we are sitting on this sofa which is also a sofa bed. Very nice. So, this is where your guests stay. Or you stay, if you only have a studio apartment. That's very true. And then this is also a multi-use piece of furniture, so it's not only an ottoman but it is also? Storage? Now, most people would hang art work above their sofa but here we see cabinets. Absolutely. These are kitchen cabinets, but what we're using them for, or in this room, they're used to store all the bedding for the sofa that's below. You could actually put something like this around your actual bed as well. So, instead of thinking pieces of furniture, think storage. Very, very important in small spaces. And that way you can store things, because most people might have bookshelves in their room but, in this case, we're seeing shelves, or we're seeing cabinets. Yeah, and you may have to put your clothing in this if that's the kind of space that you live in. If you don't have room for a wardrobe or a dresser, anything you can mount on the wall is a great idea. So, now, we're moving into a hallway which is a really tiny space, but what we've done is we've used the vertical space and use things that you can hang on the wall instead of furniture. And these are great. I've seen these used in all types of rooms, even in a bathroom above a tub. That's a great way-- You put a towel. And you're robe and all that kind of stuff, so this is in a small hallway but look what storage you get out of it. Another good thing you wanna think about is hooks. Hooks are fantastic. You can hang dog leashes, purses, backpacks, robes, clothing. You can also put your furniture on the wall like these 2 chairs here. If you don't have a lot of storage space, use your wall. Another great thing to mount is television or electronics. You don't have to have a piece of furniture to put your television on, you can just wall mount it. Perfect. When you have a small space and you don't have a lot of light, it doesn't matter how organized you are, it's gonna seem like a dark dungeon. So, there's different kinds of lighting. There's ambient lighting, we've got path lighting, we've got mood lighting. So, this room has under-- we have 5 different kinds of light going on this room, that's why the space seems bigger than it is. So, when you are organizing for a small space, make sure when you're doing things in different areas of your home, you have the right kind of lighting for that space. So, Ellen, in the kitchen here, I see they have shelves. Now, why would you put shelves here that are open that you can see versus cabinets? Well, you don't want a whole bank of cabinets. You wanna keep it light and airy. It is a small space, you don't wanna make it like a cave, and also, you're gonna be a little bit more organized with open shelving so everything here, it has its own place, the same color, and so you can add a little bit of your personal style when you are living in a small space. It doesn't-- Everything doesn't have to be just utilized perfectly. So, it's making your small space seem a whole lot bigger and roomier and organized and pretty. Thanks, Ellen. Back to you guys. One more tip, Ellen says to stay organized while living in a small space, use the bring-one-item-in-and-one-item-out rule. That way, you can easily control clutter. For more organizing tips, log on to our website, Better.tv and click on the Organizing Channel. This has been Better.tv. For more stories like the one you just saw, catch the weekday television program Better, your source for style, trends, relationships, beauty, fitness, and other stories that will help make your day better. Check local TV listings to see if Better airs in your city. Thanks for watching.