Design Tips: Making the most of small spaces

Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Here are a few tips you can use to make the most of smaller spaces:


Ideally, when it comes to downsizing or maximising small spaces, it is best to reduce clutter as much as possible and only keep the items that are essential. Keeping unnecessary items will only make it harder to find space for the things you need. “Often items end up in a drawer for months or even years because there is no longer any use for them. Go through the drawers that have been classified as the ‘everything drawer’ and see what is useful and what is just taking up valuable space,” says Goslett.

Have three piles – Yes, no and maybe

In an ideal situation, it is best not to have a maybe pile, as it means having to deal with some items more than once. If possible, try to deal with each item once and make a decision as to whether you are keeping it or not. It might be a difficult task for people who struggle to let go, but ask yourself if the item is replaceable and how often it actually gets used.


While packing it is possible that you’ll find some hidden treasures that might not make sense to take to your new home. Several charitable foundations do amazing community work which would benefit from a donation of household items. “a lot of charity organisations can only do the work that they do due to donations made by the public. Donating is a great way to reduce clutter and provide assistance to members of the community who need it,” says Goslett.  Remember only to donate items that will be useful and which are still in good working order.

Get some money

Goslett points out that selling off items is another excellent way to get rid of unwanted items while making some money to put towards the move or towards buying more suitable items to fit the new space.

Be seasonal

While it is not always practical, only have the current season’s clothing in your wardrobe. Large winter coats and winter boots take up a lot of space, so if possible, these items should be left in storage or stored in sealable containers and packed away until needed.

Organisation is key

The idea is to get rid of items, not gain more, but buying an organisation system or containers that can help to reduce the amount of space needed for items can make sense. “Organisation goes a long way to decluttering an area without having to throw any items away,” says Goslett.

Reduce the amount of large furniture

Getting rid of clothing and unwanted items means less need of large wardrobes and sets of drawers. Large pieces of furniture can be sold or donated to make space for more suitably sized furniture.

Have a plan

Be strategic in your approach rather than aimlessly shoving items away. When packing items away have a plan. If an item is not used very often but is going to be kept, pack it into a box and label it. Boxes and containers are easily stacked to make more space and will help to protect the items inside.

“Having a plan and only moving necessary items to the new home will ensure that the space in the home is maximised, and is a more comfortable space to live in,” Goslett concludes.

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