Downsizing belongings as you prepare to move into a senior living community can feel overwhelming. It’s only a matter of time before you start asking, “where did all that stuff come from, anyway?”

Today’s communities provide modern living spaces with ample room, but that doesn’t guarantee everything will fit perfectly. Unique storage ideas and solutions will become your best friend as you transition into a new space!

Our team at Vineyard aren’t strangers to storage and organization. Here are some of their top tips to make your new home feel organized and cozy:

1. Use the Space Under Your Bed

That few inches of space underneath the bed may not seem like much. But in reality, this space can become an extra closet with the right organizational tools. Purchase under-the-bed organizers with wheels and handles so you can pull them out quickly.

Store seasonal clothing, extra linens, shoes, bulk household goods, and more underneath your bed. Zip-open covers can help protect your belongings from dust and pesky insects. If the extra height doesn’t create access challenges, consider using bed risers to give you even more room.

2. Invest in Over-the-Door Storage

Over-the-door organizers are one of the niftiest storage ideas to come along in a while. They are lightweight, affordable, and hold a lot of items. Perhaps best of all, they don’t require any tools to install!

Simply position the hooks over the top of the door. Use them to hold snacks and smaller packages of food in the pantry. You can store shoes, stockings, and personal items on the bedroom door and toiletries and washcloths on the bathroom door.

3. Get Magnetized

Did you know your fridge can become an extra storage space? No, we’re not talking about the inside—it’s all about the outside! Place spices in food-safe aluminum canisters and store them on a magnetic strip or magnetic fridge instead of cluttering a cabinet.

4. Use Dual-Purpose Furniture

Furniture that serves more than one purpose is ideal for smaller spaces. For example, chairs that fold into beds provide extra space for guests. A lift-top coffee table eliminates the need for a dining table. Get as creative as you’d like! Other dual-purpose options include storage ottomans, bookshelf room dividers, stylish dog kennels that double as end tables, or wall-mounted table tops. Many dual-purpose furniture options provide unique storage ideas to make downsizing more comfortable.

5. Hang It on a Hook

Wall space is an often-overlooked opportunity for storage. Install stylish hooks to hang hats and coats in the entryway or keep jewelry and other accessories organized in the bedroom. If you don’t want items exposed, place the hardware inside a closet door.

6. Utilize the Small Spaces

If your new home has an open shelf, make the most of that small storage opportunity. Placing items in baskets, canisters, or jars keeps things neat and allows you to put more belongings on the shelf. Use the same trick for pantry or bathroom storage. Unique storage ideas aren’t always big, but making the most of every inch is vital.

Storing items on shelves lets you display some of your favorite belongings, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Use a vintage hatbox, an old train case, beautiful antique canning jars, and other treasures as your storage containers instead of buying new ones.

7. Elevate Your Belongings

Too many shelves and tables can make a small space look cluttered and create trip hazards. One of the best unique storage ideas for older adults is to mount cube-style shelving units on the wall instead of using bookshelves. Use hanging shelves that rest flat against the wall to store lighter items.

8. Don’t Forget Your Windows

Windows offer another brilliant opportunity for storage. Install transparent acrylic shelves across the front of a kitchen window for extra dish storage. If your window sill is deep enough, use them as a display for books, family photos, or small collectibles.

Living Fully While Paring Down

No amount of storage will prevent your space from feeling cluttered if you still have too many things. Remember to downsize first, organize second! Retirement is a time to enjoy life with fewer complications, including paring down your belongings. Your new apartment will feel like home with just a little organization and great storage!