The 10 best purchases I've made to save space in my small apartment

When closet and cabinet space is at a premium, it's all too easy to clutter a home with the things that make up your life — books, shoes, mail, dirty dishes, laundry.

When you're working with 1,200 square feet or less, like I am, you have to get crafty with how you use your space, optimizing it for maximum organization and comfort.

I've lived in New York City for the past eight years, and I've gotten pretty good at making the most of my square footage, carefully choosing furniture and home accents that don't just look nice but also double as extra storage space.

I went through my Amazon order history from the past six months to review the best space-saving purchases I've made for my latest apartment. You'll find a few pieces I've picked up from West Elm, Urban Outfitters, and CB2 in this list as well.

Here are 10 space-saving items I've bought along with my reasons why for each — in case you want to add any to your home. For any pricier purchases I talk about, I also list a similar, more affordable pick you can supplement into your home.

If you have a space-saving hack I didn't cover, email me at ehoffman@businessinsider.com, because I'd love to hear it! The ideas in this list are specific to my apartment's layout and are by no means the only options out there.

For the kitchen: a dual-compartment trash can for regular trash and recyclables

Trash cans are surprisingly expensive! That's partly why I ended up "going big or going home" on a pricey simplehuman one. If I was already going to fork over close to $100 on a new trash can (I wanted one with compartments for regular trash and recyclables), I might as well increase my budget and get the best money can buy.

I don't have the room to store a trash can in the cabinet underneath my sink, so I treated this purchase like I would a piece of furniture. The trash can, for better or worse, is the first thing people see when they walk into my apartment, and my rose-gold one from simplehuman makes a pretty nice first impression. It's stylish (can I say that about a trash can?), surprisingly compact given the amount of garbage it can hold, and it even has a convenient liner pocket that dispenses trash bags one by one from inside the can for a faster liner change.

This is by far the best designed trash can I've seen, and for me, it is well worth the high price.

What I bought: simplehuman 15.3-Gallon Dual-Compartment Recycling Step Can with Liner Pocket, $199.99

A similar pick: Organize It All Stainless-Steel Step-On 16-Gallon Recycle Bin, $104.24

For the kitchen: a hanging pot rack for your most used pots and pans

My kitchen has decent countertop space and cabinet storage, but it’s not enough for me to easily store of all my pots and pans. So I got this hanging pot rack from Cuisinart to free up some room and make my most used cookware easier to access.

I like the copper version best for my space (I chose it to coordinate with my rose-gold trash can), but the rack also comes in matte black, stainless steel, and bronze.

Cuisinart Chef's Classic 36” Rectangular Wall-Mount Bookshelf Rack, $99.98-$119.95

For the bedroom: a shoe rack to keep all of your footwear together and organized

Easy to assemble and sturdier than its price suggests, this is a great shoe rack for less than $10. For $10 more, you can get a rack that holds up to 30 pairs of shoes.

Whitmor 20-Pair Floor Shoe Rack, $9.68

For the living room and bedroom: a TV mount to free up countertop space

Mounting the TVs in my living room and bedroom to the wall freed up a lot of space on top of my credenza and dresser. Now I use the reclaimed space for a picture frames and other odds and ends that make a house feel like a home.

If you're not comfortable installing the TV mounts yourself, Amazon's Home Services section can connect you with a professional in your area to do your installation. Find out more here.

VideoSecu Mounts Tilt TV Wall Mount Bracket, $22.99

For the living room: decorative shelves for displaying knickknacks

A few decorative shelves go a long way toward making your space look put together. They can hold plants, picture frames, and other things that might've otherwise took up precious real estate on top of your coffee table or nightstand.

Urban Outfitters Peaks Shelf, $39.99 (originally $79) [50% off]

For the living room: a coffee table with hidden storage (that can double as a dinner table)

This is hands down my favorite piece of furniture in my apartment. It kills about three birds with one stone.

Space is at a premium in New York, so it's not difficult to see why this coffee table's hidden storage is so convenient. The pop-up top doubles as my dinner table.

I got my coffee table for 30% off — for pricier purchases from West Elm, I tend to wait until a sale is going on to make my move. And sales happen pretty regularly at West Elm, so chances are you won't have to wait too long for one.

What I bought: West Elm Industrial Storage Coffee Table (Small, 36"), $419-$599

A similar pick: Cerise Sandy Brown Wood Lift Top Storage Coffee Table, $179.99

For the living room: a vinyl rack to replace the cardboard box you've been storing your records in

If you have as many records as I do, you'll want a convenient and safe way to store them.

Urban Outfitters Corner Store Vinyl Storage Rack, $59

For the living room: a bookcase for all of your books, and whatever else you want to display out in the open

There are some miscellaneous things you'll want to have on display in your home — whether it's sport memorabilia or souvenirs from a favorite trip. Books are one of those things for me, which is why I bought a bookcase for my living room.

It's a decorative purchase, yes, but it has also freed up a bunch of space in another cabinet I own that can now be used to store stuff I might not want to look at every day, like spare rolls of toilet paper and bath towels for guests.

What I bought: CB2 Helix 70" Acacia Bookcase, $199

A similar pick: Sauder 72" 5-Shelf Bookcase, $79.21

For the laundry room: a foldable drying rack for laundry you want to air-dry

In an effort to conserve energy and make my clothes last longer, I air-dry most of my laundry.

This rack holds a lot of clothes, is lightweight, and is easy to move from room to room, and its accordion design folds flat for compact storage in the same closet that houses my washer and dryer.

AmazonBasics Foldable Drying Rack, $22.82

For the laundry room: a shelving unit for that awkward amount of closet space you're not using as well as you could be

Have an awkward amount of space in a closet or hallway you don't know what to do with? There's probably a shelving unit you can buy for it ... take measurements of the area you have to work with and put that poorly used space to use.

I got this AmazonBasics' shelving unit for the closet that houses my washer and dryer. Now the space beside these units acts as storage for cleaning supplies, tools, extra bath towels, and more.

I've added so much storage space to my place by buying this cheap shelving unit that I have the room to stock up on pantry items and toiletries — a considerable feat for me!

AmazonBasics 5-Shelf Shelving Unit, $54.99

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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