6 products renters swear by for an organized space

Keeping things orderly just got a lot easier

Ogranized above desk space with open shelving and cupboards
(Image credit: Jenna Haefelin)

It’s no secret that living in a small space requires strategic organization. Limited storage, unique floor plans, and tight quarters are all issues that apartment life poses. Once you’ve finally found a spot for all of your belongings, day-to-day routines can make it difficult to keep things tidy — we get the frustration.

To help you make the most of your space, we talked to real renters and asked them which products they swear by for an organized home. We also tapped Jenna Haefelin, founder and CEO of SPIFF, a home organization company based in New York, to weigh in with her expert opinion on each storage solution. 

All of these handy finds are budget-friendly, easy to use, and ideal for small apartments. Whether you need to give your home a major edit or you’re simply trying to start the year with a clean slate, these picks will certainly help you feel more orderly. 

Renter #1 Swears By: Space saver bags

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Say goodbye to the days of shoving extra blankets or your winter coats into bulky storage bins. Space-saver vacuum bags can condense your belongings in a quick, affordable way. Add bedding, linens, or seasonal clothes to them before stashing them under your bed. 

The Expert's Take:

“These are a game changer when it comes to linen closets or storing away seasonal clothing. We usually go for the large and XL sizes for larger comforters and pillows” says Haefelin.

Renter #2 Swears By: Furniture with storage

Cook books organized in small apartment

(Image credit: Jenna Haefelin)

An ideal organizational solution when you don’t have much space? Finding furniture pieces with built-in storage. If your budget allows for it, consider furnishing your apartment with a bed with storage or a bench that opens up to store items like blankets or pillows. There are a ton of cute storage headboards you could consider too if you get to furnish your own place.

If new furniture isn’t in the cards, use baskets or bins underneath your bed, couch, or the clothes hanging in your closet. Getting creative with where you stash things can be a real lifesaver when trying to achieve an organized space.

The Expert’s Take:

Haefelin adds, “If you need extra storage and have a bed with space underneath, you can always add under-the-bed canvas bags or under-the-bed baskets — they look nice and do the job.

Renter #3 Swears By: A tall bookshelf

You might be tight on horizontal space, but what about vertical? Use a tall bookshelf to store anything from framed photos, books, and decorative items in a bedroom to kitchen gadgets or food canisters in a kitchen. Add battery-operated interior lighting to spruce a plain unit up a bit.

The Expert’s Take:

“Any tall storage can be great to maximize the wall space. However, if you need an option that is a bit more open, you can install floating shelves” notes Haefelin. If you rent, you'd need to ask your landlord, of course.

Renter #4 Swears By: Over the door storage

Hot tip: The inside of your closet door has some precious real estate for organizing hard-to-home items. Use one in your hallway closet for extra towels or household supplies, or hang purses and scarves on an organizer with hooks. 

The Expert’s Take:

“Over-the-door units are our go-to storage solution" says Haefelin. "They are completely customizable so you can store anything from gift wrapping to shoes to backstock bathroom products inside of a linen closet door. We always add these to the inside of the door. I have them on all of my doors in my own apartment.”

Renter #5 Swears By: Shower door hooks

Since apartment bathrooms are typically tiny, they seem to be one of the most challenging areas to keep tidy and organized. If you’re limited on space for hanging a towel or your shower essentials, one renter recommends trying door hooks. Use them to hang a towel, squeegee, or loofah. 

The Expert’s Take:

Haefelin shares: “Hanging items on a glass shower door can create visual clutter. Instead, try using a shower organizer so you don’t see anything hanging from the outside. We also recommend hanging a towel on a rack or on a hook behind your door. Look for a shower hook that’s adhesive and can hold the weight.”

Renter #6 Swears By: Toilet storage tier

If your bathroom is seriously lacking in the cabinet department, consider placing a rack or shelving unit over your toilet. There are plenty of sleek options that don’t look too busy, but floating shelves or under-the-sink storage are two other options for renters with a more minimalist approach. If this is not an option, rest assured there are lots of good ways to keep bathroom countertops organized too.

The Expert’s Take:

“We haven’t added these ourselves," notes Haefelin, "but if a client had them we would add nice baskets to conceal any visual clutter. Another option —  that’s more affordable — is to add the items under the sink or on the inside of a closet door.”

Kara Thompson

About me: 

Kara Thompson is a Denver-based journalist with over five years of experience writing lifestyle content. She has written for a variety of publications, including townandcountrymag.com, elledecor.com, goodhousekeeping.com, and Parents, where she covered all things home, food, fashion, travel, and holidays. During her time on staff at Parents, Kara launched her own home decor and organization column named Save My Space. In 2022, she left her full-time job as an editor and started her own writing, editing, and social media firm, Kara Thompson and Co.

Tennis, New York City, bourbon cocktails, and her sister's German Shepherd are a few of her favorite things.