Smart storage ideas for Singaporeans

There are many things we love about our island home, but if there’s one thing we lament about, it is the lack of sufficient space and the constant brushing of shoulders with strangers. This translates to sky-scraping HDB blocks of a staggering 30 levels, and smaller apartments in our neighbourhoods. 

The flats seem to shrink with every BTO launch and it is hard not to feel overwhelmingly cramped in our tiny homes. On the other hand, the prices of homes only seems to go up and getting an “upgrade” for a bigger flat a few years down the road just isn’t a reality for many.

But at the very least, we can maximise storage space in our flats through some simple, low-effort additions – without needing to buy new furniture or hacking away parts of the home for new built-in features. 

For more home ideas, check out:

1. Display your potted plants on a vertical rack or plant ladder 

Smart Storage Plant Stand
Image credit: IKEA Singapore 

Not everyone has a light-filled, spacious balcony to amass a home garden, so plant lovers may have limited space to display their succulents and flowers.

Smart Storage Plant Ladder
Image credit: @caraphrase 

But with simple shelves, plant ladders, or even regular wooden ladders, you can display your potted plants in a ‘vertical garden’. This will take up less space on the ground, and also help all your plants receive ample sunlight. 

2. Use a monitor stand for easy storage of desk essentials

To create a little more space on your study table, get a monitor stand for your laptop or desktop. This also creates a nook where you can slot your keyboard and mouse in to keep them out of sight when not in use. 

Smart Storage Monitor Stand
Image credit: @refined_bam

Many monitor stands come with little slots for stationery, even a space to hold your mobile phone and sticky notes. Some also have drawers on the side for you to store other things such as notebooks. 

Smart Storage Monitor Stand 2
Image credit: DEKstudio 

For some of us, raising the monitor screen will also help reduce neck strain and backache from prolonged use. 

3. Attach tension rods in cupboards to create additional racks for hanging clothes

Smart Storage Tension Rod
To fit shorter tops and shirts, you can add an additional rod at the bottom.
Image credit: @toneostensen

With most wardrobes, there’s a long and narrow compartment to fit long dresses. But if you’re a more of a t-shirt and jeans kinda gal – or a guy with a ton of shirts to hang – the bottom portion of your wardrobe is usually left empty. Simply add on a tension rod to the bottom half of the wardrobe and you’ve got an additional rack for more clothes. 

Smart Storage Children's Wardrobe
This is an especially useful hack for adapting a wardrobe to fit baby clothes as well
Image credit: @diana.levent.nuradin

This doesn’t just have to be in the bedroom – you can add a tension rod to under-sink cabinets to maximise space, make it less cluttered, and separate your storage from the pipes. Use the rods to hang bottles of detergent, or as makeshift shelves. 

Smat Storage Tension Rod Under Sink
Image credit: @help_my_home

Adding them to kitchen drawers can also help provide you with practical divisions to hold bulky items like pot lids upright. 

Smart Storage Tension Rod Drawer
Image credit: @bt_organising 

Tension rods are affordable and easily found in homeware shops such as Japan Home and Daiso. There’s no drilling involved with these, which makes the installation process simple and reversible. 

4. Mount your bike on the wall 

Smart Storage Mount Wall Bike Rack
Your bike can also double up as part of your decor when displayed this way
Image credit: @artivelo_com

Some of us have little space in our bedrooms or storerooms to store our bikes – and thus they have to be relegated to the corridor area or even public bike racks. 

With a wall-mounted bike rack, you won’t have to face the trepidation of stolen or vandalised bicycles. Some of these can even accommodate up to 2-3 bikes.

5. Maximise cabinet space with magazine holders and clip-on baskets

Smart Storage over-the-door basket
Image credit: The Container Store

To utilise all the space you can get in cabinets and shelves, use the space behind cabinet doors with over-the-door baskets or racks. Just make sure to measure the space between the doors and the inner shelves so that the doors will not be blocked from closing fully. 

Smart Storage Over-the-door basket 2
Keep tools like hair curlers and brushes out of sight but within easy reach in the bathroom
Image credit: Urban Outfitters 

If you cannot find an over-the-door shelf to fit into the back of your cabinet door – or you just want to stretch your dollar even further, a magazine holder works as well. 

Smart Storage Magazine Holder
Image credit: Jodi Whittmer

To fully utilise the space within cabinets, use wire shelves to create tiers. Not only is it neater, it also makes for easier retrieval of heavy items like ceramic plates. 

Smart Storage Wire shelves
Image credit: Alla Decor 

For taller shelves, you can also get hanging baskets to utilise the space above. 

Smart Storage Hanging Basket Image credit: IKEA Canada 

6. Hang small items on a pegboard 

Image credit: IKEA Singapore 

There’s limitless freedom in using a pegboard as a storage rack cum display piece – you can arrange the pegs in various configurations to hang items of different sizes like your keys, spectacles, and stationery. 

Smart Storage Pegboard Scrapbook
A scrapbooking hobbyist’s pegboard with rows of washi tape and tools
Image credit: @moyoscrap

You can also create a simple bedside rack in place of a bedside table to hold your night read, spectacles and maybe a glass of water.

Smart Storage Pegboard bedside shelf
Image credit: IKEA Singapore

7. Attach shower rings on clothes hangers to hold scarves and belts 

Smart Storage Shower Rings Hack
Image credit: Hijab – latest in style 

Attach multiple book rings or the rings of an old shower curtain to a clothes hanger to hang scarves, belts, and necklaces in one place. Not only does this keep them together in an organised manner, your scarves also won’t wrinkle easily. 

8. Put shelving above your washing machine, toilet bowl, and microwave

Smart Storage Shelf above washing machine
Image credit: Hrafnhildur Þrastardóttir

It’s easy to let things pile up on top of microwaves, ovens and washing machines. But we can utilise the space even further if we invest in a shelf that fits above these appliances for neater and more efficient storage. 

Smart Storage Microwave Oven Shelf
Image credit: Amazon 

With a compact shelf, you can stack your oven on top of your microwave so there’s no need to go to the trouble of storing them in cupboards after usage. This way, you can also keep both near the same powerpoint. 

Smart Storage Shelf above toilet bowl
Image credit: Urban Outfitters 

The same shelving method can be used over your toilet bowl to keep toilet rolls and hand towels in easy reach, as well as a couple of magazines for entertainment while you’re taking a dump. 

Smart Storage shelf above sink
Image credit: Amazon 

And while many of us have drying racks for our crockery, they aren’t always placed above the sink. Invest in a metal rack that fits above your kitchen sink – not only will it keep things convenient while dishwashing, there’s also no need to wipe away the water that collects at the bottom of the tray after a few hours.

9.  Create more space for folded clothes with a hanging compartment 

Smart Storage IKEA Hanging Compartment
Image credit: IKEA Singapore 

Create more “shelves” to store your folded t-shirts, throws and scarves in your wardrobe by using hanging compartments can be attached onto the rods. They can also be folded and tucked away when you don’t need them, so there’s always the flexibility of changing things up for a wardrobe overhaul. 

You can get these hanging compartments easily from places such as IKEA, Japan Home or Miniso – they come in various sizes and colours too. 

10. Install racks behind your bathroom door for toiletries and towels

Smart Storage over the door rack
Image credit: Urban Outfitters 

Having a row of hangers at the back of your bathroom door for clothes and towels is almost essential. But having a whole storage rack is not the most common. With a multipurpose over-the-door rack, you can not only hang bath towels but also store your toiletries.

Smart Storage over the door shelf
Image credit: John Lewis

This is also great if you are attempting to amp up the aesthetics in the bathroom – add a small potted plant or a reed diffuser to make every shower session extra therapeutic. 

Space-saving storage ideas 

There are lots of space-saving household items like fold-out beds and expandable dining tables being sold furniture at stores, but those are mainly big-ticket purchases. But we can fall back on these simple low-cost hacks to reorganise and neaten our humble abodes.

Cover image adapted from (L-R): @artivelo_com, Hrafnhildur Þrastardóttir

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