Storage Hacks to Maximize Space in your NYC Apartment

More than half the apartments in NYC are less than 700 square feet with some places coming in at less than 400 square feet! If you’re moving from a house to an apartment, you might be shocked at how small the apartments are! With that said, there’s a lot more functional space than you might think, if you know where to look. If you’re ready for your tiny NYC apartment to feel spacious, read the tips on how to maximize your space below!

Make Use of Your Luggage

Unless you travel often, chances are you have a suitcase just taking up space in your closet. Give your suitcase a new purpose by storing stuff in it. This could be anything from off-season clothes to seasonal decorations.

Much like packing for travel, you don’t want to overstuff your suitcase as you still want to find things easily without having to pull everything out. So pack away the things that you don’t really use often. Don’t forget to label your suitcase with what’s inside, either! That way, you won’t have to open it unless you need something.

Invest in Under-the-Bed Storage

A normal full size bed measures 54” x 74”. So unless your mattress frame is non-existant or very low to the ground, you’re wasting all that precious space in your bedroom. A captain’s bed frame is a great investment if you can afford it as it comes with built-in shelves. These shelves can often replace a dresser in your room if you’re really tight on space. With that said, you’ll need to have enough room to pull out the drawers!

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a nice underbed storage system. Instead, purchase some storage containers on wheels for easy access. Depending on how much space you have between the floor and your bed, you could fit a ton of stuff including extra bedding, towels, shoes, hobby items, whatever! It’s a great way to keep clutter off the tables and floors so your room looks and feels a lot larger.

Find Multi-Function Furniture

If you’re lucky enough to have space in your apartment for furniture, make sure you get a few things that can work double time. For example, don’t get a regular ottoman, get one a storage ottoman and stash some extra bedding or towels. Instead of a standard coffee table, get one with drawers so you can hide away all of those extra cables and plugs. If you have some empty spots on your bookshelf, rearrange your books to leave some spots at the top open so you can put your plants or other decorations.

You can go a step further if you really want to increase your storage. For example, instead of getting a sofa, get a row of cabinets. You can then upholster the top and add some cushions for a makeshift storage bench. Small hammocks are also excellent storage options as you can string them up off the ground and stash things like sporting equipment, or other bulky items.

Embrace Hook Life

If you’re just looking at the floor for storage, you’re ignoring all that potential wall and ceiling space that you can use to maximize your space. While shelves are great, hooks are a more flexible option for hanging your items off the wall. Their smaller size makes it easier to place anywhere in your apartment and they are much easier to install. Depending on what you plan on hanging, you might not even need to drill the hook into the wall! Just make sure you have some strong adhesive if you plan on going the tape/glue route!

There are plenty of options when it comes to where to place hooks. Over the door hooks are great for your bedroom or bathroom. You can hang things like towels, jackets, robes, keys, dog leash, and so on. You can even find smaller over the door cabinet hooks that you can place on every available cabinet surface. There are also smaller hooks you can hang off your shelves or cabinet that are great for bags and towels.

When it comes to heavier items, take the time to install them properly. You don’t want your pots and pans falling to the ground in the middle of the night. Just make sure you don’t overload them. Go through what you use on a daily basis and then put the rest away in closets, drawers, cabinets, etc.

Customize Your Closet

If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in closet in your apartment, take advantage of your space and build it out. There are an infinite number of ways you can set up your closet, so think of what you own and the best way to organize these items.

When planning out your closet, make sure you draw out a general diagram of your closet including dimensions. From there, block off your closet into different sections. Make sure to set aside room for all your hanging clothes! Other parts of your closet might include a shoe section, some drawers for your socks and underwear, and a spot for your jackets. If you have a lot of hanging clothes, add another rod to increase your space!

If you don’t have a closet, you can always build your own easily and cheaply. Just take a tension rod and curtain and put it on an unused corner or wall. A great place for these makeshift closets are spots in your apartment that have odd angles. You often can’t push anything against these walls, so transform it into the closet of your dreams!

Look for Unexpected Storage Spaces

Do you never bake? Then why not store as many pots and pans in your oven? The unused appliances in your apartment can serve a new purpose in the form of storage. So take stock of everything you own. On the rare occasion you do use that appliance, make sure you remember to take out whatever is inside to avoid potential issues.

Another great place for storage is the space where the wall meets the ceiling. Most cabinets or shelves do not go that high. While storage that high isn’t convenient for most people, it’s a great place to store things you don’t use very often such as small kitchen appliances, decorations, and so forth. Just make sure you also have a step stool or ladder so you can access these shelves!

Rent a Storage Unit

If there are items you don’t want to get rid of but can’t fit in your home, then a storage unit is your best bet. You can get one in NYC for as low as $20/month for the smallest size. Don’t be fooled by the dimensions, these small units can fit a lot of stuff!

Great things to store include:

  • Seasonal clothes
  • Holiday decorations
  • Books
  • Paperwork
  • Collectible items
  • Baby items
  • Toys
  • Artwork

When choosing a storage company, make sure to find one that provides 24/7 surveillance and climate controlled units to ensure your belongings are safe and secure.

Plan Out Your Next NYC Apartment

Before making your NYC move, make sure you know what you’re getting into! Always physically visit every apartment and bring a tape measure with you so you can create a floor plan. That will make it a lot easier to figure out if everything you own will fit into the new place. If you’ve already moved in, then it’s still a good idea to get accurate measurements of all your rooms and large items like your sofa, bed, etc. That way, you can reorganize and redecorate to make the most of your apartment.

If you’re looking to move, then make sure to contact the NYC movers like us! We also offer storage solutions so if you need some time to figure out how you want to set up your apartment, we can store your stuff for you for as short or as long as you want.


My landlord says I can’t install any shelves or cabinets. How can I increase my space without drilling into the walls?

If you can’t install cabinets or shelves then your best bet is to invest in sticker hooks, multi-level carts, and standing shelves. The shelves might take up more ground real estate so you’ll need to really think about what you want to keep.

I am moving out and have to return my apartment back to its original condition and I’ve installed a bunch of shelves, hooks, etc. How do I make sure I don’t damage the walls?

Chances are you have already damaged the wall by drilling into it! With that said, you can reduce further damage by carefully taking out the wall anchors that are holding the shelves and cabinets in place. From there, fill in all the holes with spackle and paint all the walls with white paint.

I moved in with roommates. What can I do to make sure they also maximize the apartment space?

While there’s nothing you can do about their own personal space, for shared spaces you will need to work together to come up with a solution that everyone will follow. That means making sure everyone agrees and knows exactly where the toiletries, hand towels, etc. should be placed. If everyone is able to agree on the organization, then it will help keep everything in your place tidy.