Savvy Tenant – My House Runneth Over

So yes, you are all moved in.  The worst of it is over anyway.  However, home sweet apartment is suffering from clutter because the closets are small, there’s hardly any cabinet space in the kitchen, the linen cabinet barely holds a wash cloth and, and, and…

Storage–or lack thereof–is a mess.

The good news is that you are not alone.  It is simply time to borrow the creative ideas of those who came before you, then get creative yourself.

Here are three basic principles that will help you create the storage space you need:

  • Think Under
    Create storage under the bed, under the sink, under anything that has legs.  Or better yet, eliminate legs.  Invest in a chest of drawers as opposed to a night table.  Invest in ottomans that can serve as seating and storage.  Make good use of the space under your bed.
  • Think Verticle
    Use wall space for storage.  Upright storage can also be used to divide rooms.  Cabinets, shelves, stacking cubbies, hanging organizers, over-the-door hangers all make good use of vertical space.
  • Think Multi-Purpose
    Here’s where you get creative.  Have suitcases?  Fill them. Unused fireplace?  Stack books there.  Don’t bake often?  Use the oven to store pots and pans.

Please Remember…

If you want to attach shelves or organizers to walls or doors, guess what you need to do?  Yep.  Check your lease.

Our lease specifies what types of nails can be used to fasten things to the walls, and that no holes can be put in wood trim or doors. (We had a tenant who thoroughly nailed curtains over the window in his back door.)  We also specify that if the tenant purchases the rods on which to hang window treatments, we will install them for free.  That way we know that they are properly attached and won’t fall down, pulling chunks of drywall with it and potentially injuring someone.

Regardless of what your lease does or doesn’t say, it pays to remember that you have to be able to take things down with minimal change to the surface you affix it to.  A nail hole here and there in a wall is normal wear and tear. Gouges in wood or large nail holes that are not easily filled and made to disappear with a bit of touch-up paint are damage.  You could possibly end up paying to repaint an entire room.

Even if the lease doesn’t specifically mention cabinet installation or closet door removal and such, these are things your landlord would probably like to be made aware of before you do it.  When in doubt, check it out.  This is definitely an area in which it is better to ask for permission than for forgiveness.  You don’t get to simply ask for forgiveness.  You pay for it.

Many leases will specify anything that structurally becomes part of the house you must leave behind when you move.  If the landlord doesn’t like the “improvement” s/he has the right to demand that you have the structure returned to the condition it was in when you moved in and if you can’t or don’t, can hire someone to do that work and charge you for it.

Need some ideas to get your creative storage juices flowing?  Here are a few websites devoted to making the most of small spaces:

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