buying a home using owner-financing

Renting Your First Apartment? Tips For Maximizing Your Space

by April Perry

Renting your first apartment is an exciting time, but apartment living has gotten a reputation for having to sacrifice space in exchange for cost savings and convenience. Luckily, this doesn't always have to be the case. Even if you take an apartment for rent with a smaller floor plan than you would have liked, knowing how to capitalize on that space can help you make it feel like home. Here are some tips to help you make the most of any apartment space, giving you more flexibility in the square footage that you look for when you start shopping around.

Organization Is Essential

When you're optimizing limited space, it's important to put focus on your organizational skills. As you're packing, be attentive to the things you are taking with you. Look at each item objectively. If you don't use it, have no need of it and it has no sentimental value, there may not be any need to bring it with you. Donate, sell or dispose of the things you're not bringing with you.

Sort your clothes by season. That way, you can pack away the clothes that you won't be wearing right away. Packing them in vacuum-sealed storage bags will keep them flat, protected and out of the way through the season. In fact, these bags seal flat enough that you could stack them on a closet shelf. If you prefer, invest in a plastic tote for your seasonal clothes and swap them out as the weather changes.

Think Vertical

Maximizing your floor space is important, and the best way to do that is to work upward. Make your wall space work for you by installing shelving and attaching other storage cubes and racks. For example, place shelving over your sink so that you can keep dish soap and small items off the counter.

When you're setting up your bedroom, use your space wisely. Place risers under the legs of your bed to give you some open space. If you've decided to store your seasonal clothes in a tote, this makes a great place to store the container. You may even decide to replace your old headboard with a storage headboard that has shelves and small cube-shaped storage spaces that you can use. This may eliminate the requirement for bedside tables, which can save you floor space in the bedroom.

In your bathroom, adding shelving over your toilet will give you storage space where you can place towels, toiletries and other items. Your living room can benefit from vertical storage, too. Invest in a flat-screen television that has a wall mount so that you don't need to take up valuable floor space in the living room with an entertainment center. Then, install a shelf on the wall to keep the DVD player and DVR unit. Just make sure that the landlord or rental company have approved of the wall-mount and be prepared to patch the holes when you take it down to move.

Use Multi-Purpose Items

Another great way to maximize space in an apartment is by investing in items that will serve several purposes. Instead of taking up floor space with a traditional coffee table and then adding more shelving in the corner, consider buying a coffee table that has integrated drawers or shelving. You can also increase your storage space by replacing that solid ottoman with one that's hollowed out for storage. That way, you still have the comfort of seating space for guests without the living room seeming cluttered.

The goal is to make your apartment comfortable and functional without having to give up half of what you own to do it. With these tips, you can make the most of the rental space and still enjoy your belongings.