3 Simple ways to increase your living space

Dining room.

‘I need more living space!’

How many times have you heard—or uttered—that common complaint?

Is the answer a bigger home or apartment?

Probably not.

Most of us simply cannot afford to move.

And even those of us who can may find in a short time that the space problem has reared its head once again.

The truth is, no matter how small our living quarters, there is often enough room for the things we need. It is the extras that generally create the problem.

And when a home is disorganized and cluttered, it can be a constant source of discomfort, frustration, and stress.

Let us, therefore, focus on three ways to “discover” more living space in the very place you already live—your home!

1.  Discard unnecessary items

In many homes spring or fall cleaning is a ritual of shifting items around, cleaning and then returning the items to their original location.

But why not use this as an opportunity to discard unnecessary items?

Have you fallen into the habit of saving old newspapers and magazines?

Try cutting out the articles you really wish to save (marking on them the name of the periodical, date, and page number for future reference) and then dispose of the rest of the newspaper or magazine.

You will be surprised at how much new space this can create!

Take a look, too, at the furniture you own.

Are there pieces that do little but add to the clutter?

Perhaps a friend could put them to better use.

And what about your closets?

Are they full of clothing that you haven’t worn in years?

Why not consider discarding anything you haven’t worn in a year or more?

Granted, this sounds like a major project, and it can be.

So make it a family project.

Involve the children and your marriage mate.

When your children get into the spirit of the project, they just might be willing to discard some of the unnecessary things they themselves own.

The result?

Perhaps the beginning of a lifelong pattern of neatness.

2.  Utilize all available space

Now let’s take a tour of your home and identify all potential storage areas.

This includes walls, shelves, doors, hallways, closets, and ceilings.

Inexpensive baskets or racks can be hung on hallway walls or on doors to store shoes, towels, and so forth.

Boxes or crates can be used as handy storage bins for books, toys, photo albums, and other things you decide to keep.

By placing these containers in your closets, you can utilize wasted floor space.

Are folding chairs taking up a lot of space?

Perhaps they can be stored under a sofa or behind your curtains.

Is valuable living-room space being taken up by small bookcases?

Why not, as an alternative, install a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in your hallway?

If you put doors on it, it may also be used to store items other than books.

Do not ignore the space under your bed.

Plastic or cardboard boxes can be placed there to store out-of-season bedding.

And what about your walls?

Bulky stereo speakers can be wall-mounted and save floor space.

If toys are cluttering up your child’s bedroom floor, try installing low shelves on the walls.

These provide a handy place where your child can put his toys, rather than piling them in a bulky chest.

The toys remain visible to the children, and the shelves can be moved upward on the wall as the child grows.

Shelves may also prove handy in your bathroom for the storage of towels, soaps, and toiletries.

3.  Rearrange your living space

Living space can often be created just by rearranging a few things.

Many homemakers place all their furniture against the walls, leaving the center of the room empty.

Try placing two bookcases or tables back-to-back to serve as room dividers.

Or consider installing a floor-to-ceiling bookcase that can serve as both a storage unit and a room divider.

Now the same room can be used for two purposes—one area for study, the other for general household activity.

Room dividers are particularly useful when siblings must share a room.

They increase privacy at a low cost.

When living space is limited, however, sometimes even the best efforts at reorganization fall short of desired results.

Perhaps you can create at least the illusion of spaciousness by using wall mirrors or repainting your home in lighter hues.

Doing either of these things will create a more open look in your home.

If limited living space is a problem, why not give these simple suggestions a try?

You may well discover that when your home is neat and organized, it adds to the well-being and peace of mind of the entire family—a fitting reward for having won the battle of living space!