Five residents of Orlando Lakefront, a tiny house community in Florida, shared how they store their belongings in their tiny houses. Amanda Burger uses the staircase in her home to store her clothes and food items, while DJ Gilley uses a loft space. Burger has creatively used a piece of art to store her kitchen table, and Mickie Boehm has turned her kitchen cabinets into an extra bed. Misty Gilley and Elizabeth Silva both expertly use containers to house most of their property. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Going from a 2,355 square-foot home (the current average single-family home in the US) to a 300-square-foot tiny house can seem like a daunting task, but most tiny house owners have turned the art of downsizing into a lifestyle.
The residents of Orlando Lakefront, a tiny house community in Florida, are no strangers to downsizing. Insider spoke with five of those residents to find out the creative ways they fit their entire lives into their small homes.
From outdoor closets to hanging Murphy beds, these are all the ways tiny homeowners have gotten creative with their storage.
Amanda Burger utilizes every inch of her tiny house, especially her staircase, which houses a huge clothing drawer.
The drawer goes all the way back to the wall, wasting no space in the 26-foot tiny house.
Burger also uses a cabinet in her stairs as a pantry.
Burger said finding storage in her tiny house is a constant challenge. In fact, she compares it to a puzzle.
"Everything has to go in order for it to work," Burger said. "I joke that it's one big Rubik's cube. It's all about constantly changing things."
Right next to her pantry is a cabinet filled with hanging shirts.
While downsizing, Burger had some items that she could not let go of — like her collection of Chuck Taylor shoes, so she purposely built storage space for that.
"You don't need what you think you do," she told Insider. "[But keep] what makes you feel happy, what feels like home to you."
Burger even found an ingenious way to store her kitchen table — hidden behind a painting.
It may look decorative, but this painting is actually extremely functional.
When the painting is pulled down from the wall, it becomes Burger's kitchen table.
If you look closely, you can see that the black frame of the painting now acts as the table's legs.
Her children's bedrooms are organized with storage containers, and the beds can be turned into chairs.
Burger has two children — a 4 year old and a 20 month old — that live in the tiny house part-time.
Though the space can be tight at times with her family, Burger said, "I think it's worth every compromise. The stuff I gave up, I don't even miss."
Unlike Burger, DJ Gilley doesn't have a staircase for storage, so she created a built-in wardrobe.
Gilley's tiny house has 220 square feet, and every inch of it has been designed to maximize storage.
Above her bathroom is a loft, which Gilley uses for storage.
Gilley said she rearranges this loft and her other belongings every week because she is still trying to figure out the best way to live in her tiny house.
Shelving is also important in tiny homes, and Gilley creatively designed this cutting board-shaped shelf for her kitchen.
Because cabinets can sometimes make a tiny home feel even smaller, open shelving is often used instead.
Mickie Boehm uses cabinetry for most of her storage.
Boehm and her tiny house design company decided to build cabinetry all over her 250-square-foot home — even around her bed.
Despite downsizing before the move, Boehm said she was still surprised by how much stuff she wasn't able to fit in her home.
"We took 100 trips to Goodwill and had two storage units when we first moved in," she told Insider.
Her kitchen cabinets even double as a Murphy bed.
When guests stay over at Boehm's house, she pulls down her kitchen cabinets, which store another bed. At the moment, Boehm uses the bed as extra storage space, filling it with boxes.
Since no space is wasted, drawers were placed under the living room's couch for extra storage.
Boehm said the drawers were originally designed to be a bed for her dog, but she turned them into storage for her shoes.
The step into her house doubles as a place to store her dog's food and water bowls.
"There are always unique ways to build storage," Boehm said. "You just have to be creative and think creatively."
Gilley says she takes advantage of the height of her tiny home by storing her belongings all the way up to the ceiling.
Gilley said though it's not ideal, she does not have a problem taking out a stepping stool or a ladder to reach some of her belongings.
"Trying to figure out how to fit into that space is difficult," Gilley said. "It takes longer than you expect."
Even in her bathroom, Gilley created a shelf of containers that are high up.
Staying organized in a small space is imperative when living in a 240-square-foot tiny home, according to Gilley, who organizes most of her belongings in containers.
Like Gilley, Elizabeth Silva stores most of her belongings in containers too.
Silva said that she has struggled with the storage in her 170-square-foot home. Currently, she has everything stored away in containers, but hopes to find a more permanent solution soon.
Her home also has an outdoor storage closet, which she uses to house most of her cleaning products.
Silva said she has bought collapsible brooms and buckets so that these products can take up less space in her tiny house.
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