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20 photos that show the ingenious ways tiny house owners store their belongings

20 photos that show the ingenious ways tiny house owners store their belongings
  • Most tiny houses are less than 400 square feet, so owners have to get creative about storage space.
  • Amanda Burger uses the staircase in her home to store her clothes and food items, while DJ Gilley uses a loft space.
  • Misty Gilley and Elizabeth Silva both expertly use containers to house most of their property.

Going from a 2,355-square-foot home to a 300-square-foot tiny house can seem like a daunting task, but most tiny house owners have turned downsizing into an art.

Insider spoke with seven tiny house owners 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.

Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens live in a 130-square-foot tiny house and have a pantry in their kitchen to store some of their food ...

Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens live in a 130-square-foot tiny house and have a pantry in their kitchen to store some of their food ...
Parsons and Stephen's pantry. Courtesy of Tiny House Expedition

The pantry has 15 shelves and houses most of the couple's food. The wood door to the pantry comes in handy when they move their tiny house so that nothing falls out.

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... but Stephens does admit that they store a lot of their food and other belongings in the shower they rarely use.

... but Stephens does admit that they store a lot of their food and other belongings in the shower they rarely use.
Parson and Stephens' bathroom. Courtesy of Tiny House Expedition

Since Parsons and Stephens usually shower at their gym, they rarely use the one in their house. Instead, they use it to store some of their belongings, especially food. During the pandemic, this became difficult because the gyms closed, and the couple had to find a new place to store their food.

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Lindsay and Eric Wood were able to build a walk-in closet in their tiny house — well, sort of.

Lindsay and Eric Wood were able to build a walk-in closet in their tiny house — well, sort of.
The closet space. Frank Olito/ Insider

In the Woods' tiny house, they built a large closet at the back of an office room, but you have to get on your hands and knees to access your clothes and laundry.

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Amanda Burger utilizes every inch of her tiny home, especially her staircase, which houses a huge clothing drawer.

Amanda Burger utilizes every inch of her tiny home, especially her staircase, which houses a huge clothing drawer.
Drawers in the staircase. Frank Olito/ Insider

The drawer goes all the way back to the wall, wasting no space in the 26-foot tiny house.

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Burger also uses a cabinet in her stairs as a pantry.

Burger also uses a cabinet in her stairs as a pantry.
Pantry cabinet under the stairs. Frank Olito/ Insider

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."

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Right next to her pantry is a cabinet filled with hanging shirts.

Right next to her pantry is a cabinet filled with hanging shirts.
Shirts in a cabinet under the stairs. Frank Olito/ Insider

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."

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Burger even found an ingenious way to store her kitchen table — hidden behind a painting.

Burger even found an ingenious way to store her kitchen table — hidden behind a painting.
A functional painting. Frank Olito/ Insider

It may look decorative, but this painting is actually extremely functional.

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When the painting is pulled down from the wall, it becomes Burger's kitchen table.

When the painting is pulled down from the wall, it becomes Burger's kitchen table.
The painting is turned into a table. Frank Olito/ Insider

If you look closely, you can see that the black frame of the painting now acts as the table's legs.

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Her children's bedrooms are organized with storage containers, and the beds can be turned into chairs.

Her children's bedrooms are organized with storage containers, and the beds can be turned into chairs.
Burger's children's room. Frank Olito/ Insider

Burger has two children, who 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."

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Unlike Burger, DJ Gilley doesn't have a staircase for storage, so she created a built-in wardrobe.

Unlike Burger, DJ Gilley doesn't have a staircase for storage, so she created a built-in wardrobe.
Gilley's kitchen and storage space. Frank Olito/ Insider

Gilley's tiny house has 220 square feet, and every inch of it has been designed to maximize storage.

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Above her bathroom is a loft, which Gilley uses for storage.

Above her bathroom is a loft, which Gilley uses for storage.
Gilley's loft. Frank Olito/ Insider

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.

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Shelving is also important in tiny homes so Gilley designed this cutting board-shaped shelf for her kitchen.

Shelving is also important in tiny homes so Gilley designed this cutting board-shaped shelf for her kitchen.
Gilley's kitchen shelving. Frank Olito/ Insider

Because cabinets can sometimes make a tiny home feel even smaller, open shelving is often used instead.

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Gilley's daughter, Misty, also lives in a tiny house, and she takes advantage of the height of her tiny home by storing her belongings all the way up to the ceiling.

Gilley's daughter, Misty, also lives in a tiny house, and she takes advantage of the height of her tiny home by storing her belongings all the way up to the ceiling.
Gilley's storage shelves. Frank Olito/ Insider

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."

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Even in her bathroom, Misty created a shelf of containers that are high up.

Even in her bathroom, Misty created a shelf of containers that are high up.
Storage containers in the bathroom. Frank Olito/ Insider

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.

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Meanwhile, Mickie Boehm uses cabinetry for most of her storage.

Meanwhile, Mickie Boehm uses cabinetry for most of her storage.
Boehm's bedroom. Frank Olito/ Insider

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.

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Her kitchen cabinets even double as a Murphy bed.

Her kitchen cabinets even double as a Murphy bed.
Boehm's kitchen has a hanging bed. Frank Olito/ Insider

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.

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Since no space is wasted, drawers were placed under the living room's couch for extra storage.

Since no space is wasted, drawers were placed under the living room's couch for extra storage.
Storage space under the couch. Frank Olito/ Insider

Boehm said the drawers were originally designed to be a bed for her dog, but she turned them into storage for her shoes.

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The step into her house doubles as a place to store her dog's food and water bowls.

The step into her house doubles as a place to store her dog's food and water bowls.
Dog dishes were built into the step. Frank Olito/ Insider

"There are always unique ways to build storage," Boehm said. "You just have to be creative and think creatively."

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Like Gilley, Elizabeth Silva stores most of her belongings in containers too.

Like Gilley, Elizabeth Silva stores most of her belongings in containers too.
Containers sit atop Silva's Murphy bed. Frank Olito/ Insider

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.

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Her home also has an outdoor storage closet, which she uses to house most of her cleaning products.

Her home also has an outdoor storage closet, which she uses to house most of her cleaning products.
Silva's outdoor closet. Frank Olito/ Insider
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