7 Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Small Spaces

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated January 27, 2022
A small open-space house
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

Avoid big messes in small spaces with these handy tips

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At first, it might seem like small spaces are easier to clean than larger ones since there's a smaller area to keep tidy. But in practice, keeping a small space neat and organized can feel like a big challenge because it only takes a few items out of place before cozy spaces start to feel cluttered. 

The good news is that there are some simple tips and tricks you can apply to make it easy to maintain a clean and organized home in even the tiniest of spaces.

1. Incorporate Dual-Purpose Furniture

Many furniture pieces come with sneaky storage solutions that help you hide items out of sight while keeping them within arm's reach. This feature is ideal for small spaces because it limits the need for standalone storage, like bulky bins and containers, which can quickly cramp a small room. 

For instance, a coffee table with ample drawers or a lift-top that reveals hidden storage underneath is perfect for storing living room essentials, like remotes and magazines. Many bed frames also come with drawers and shelving that can help you tame clutter without encroaching on precious square footage. 

2. Edit Your Items

A family of four decluttering a closet
Photo: FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images

Regularly editing your items is among your best lines of defense against clutter and chaos. Every few months, spend some time going through your drawers, cabinets, and closets, eliminating items that you no longer use, need, or like. This simple practice can go a long way when it comes to keeping your house clean. 

Adopting a "one item in, one item out" policy can help with the editing process. For example, if you tend to accumulate a lot of clothes that you no longer wear, make a pact with yourself that you'll give away one piece of clothing for every new piece you bring in. 

3. Ensure Every Item Has a Home

The cleanest homes have a designated space for everything in them—remotes go in specific drawers, toys go in certain bins, and magazines go in designated racks. Ensuring that each item in your home has an official place to live makes clean-up much easier.

If you find that you don't have a place to put certain items, then you can add additional storage, like shelves or dual-purpose furniture, to create space for them. You can also take this as an opportunity to remove any unwanted items to make more room. 

4. Use Vertical Space

When you live in tight quarters, it's a great idea to take advantage of vertical space, aka the space between your floors and ceiling. Vertical storage solutions, like tall bookcases and floating shelves, allow you to store miscellaneous odds and ends without creeping too far into your livable square footage. 

For example, a large bookcase might only take up a few feet of floor real estate, but it offers a ton of space to store books and other items in an organized way. If you want a similar solution that saves even more floor space, you can install floating shelves on the wall, which won't take up any floor space while offering a tidy place to house your items.

5. Practice Daily Maintenance

Just a few items out of place are enough to make small living spaces feel messy, so it’s helpful to tackle messes before they get out of control. The best way to do that? Through a little bit of daily maintenance. Practice putting things away right after you use them. Even small items, like magazines, can pile up quickly, so once you’re done reading, put them back.

Taking just five or 10 minutes each day to clean up an area can also go a long way to maintaining a clean home. Plus, it will help to keep messes small, preventing you from feeling overwhelmed.

6. Dust Regularly and Invest in an Air Purifier

A woman dusting a coffee table
Photo: AsiaVision / E+ / Getty Images

Dust tends to build up quickly in small spaces, but it often goes unnoticed until it gets out of hand. Dust tends to build up quickly in small spaces, but it often goes unnoticed until it gets out of hand. Having a few tools that clean hard-to-reach areas, like a handheld duster with an extender, can do wonders. Incorporating dusting into your daily cleaning habits makes dust much easier to manage. And dusting is a simple, low-effort job when done regularly, so you can dust while chatting on the phone or watching your latest show to make it more enjoyable.  

Investing in an air purifier can also help keep dust at bay. Quality air purifiers remove small particles, like dust, bacteria, and pollutants, from the air, which can help you keep your home tidy while improving your indoor air quality. 

7. Add Catchall Trays

Last but definitely not least, catchall trays are an incredibly easy way to prevent clutter in places where it tends to build up. For instance, adding a catchall tray to your entryway where you can drop your keys, mail, and sunglasses when you come home will prevent those items from creating messes elsewhere.

Catchall trays are also handy in the bathroom, offering tidy places to store jewelry or skincare products. And since trays come in nearly infinite shapes, sizes, and styles, it's easy to find trays that complement your aesthetic while helping you maximize a small space. 

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