Almost everything about cabins is awesome in my opinion. There’s something about them that brings you closer to nature and carries the hustle and bustle of the world away.
But there’s one thing about a lot of cabins that adds an element of challenge. That is that cabins tend to be on the small side compared to the houses we live in every day. And with the smaller size often comes less storage. Yet, when we go up to the cabin, we often have a lot of stuff. Especially when we do a lot of outdoor activities. So how can we reconcile this need for storage with the small size of many cabins?
Well, smaller doesn’t have to mean less storage. Sometimes it just means we need to get a little more creative with storage at the cabin. Here are 15 ideas that will hopefully inspire you to come up with creative storage solutions for your cabin.
1. Don’t Let The Space Under Stairs Go to Waste
A lot of cabins have stairs. But it’s really common for the space under people’s stairs to be under-utilized.
If you have any open space under the stairs in your cabin, you have lots of options for you to use it.
- Build shelving that’s open to the room – this has gained popularity recently but it’s actually not my favorite option. People are building these little shelves or cubbies under the stairs that are so small that you can’t actually store much there. And since they’re open to the room, these cubbies are often used for decorations, not for functional storage. Also, if the open space under your stairs is as deep as the stairs are wide, then these cubbies will either be really deep, or you’ll close off a whole area that could be used for storage.
- Use this space as a functional area – I’ve seen people build in a computer desk into the little nook under a half staircase. This can be a really functional use of space. Even if it’s not for a computer, if you need a desk space at your cabin, building it in under the stairs can be a good option.
- Close it off and turn it into a closet – This is one of my favorite ideas. But, I don’t like big open closets either. If you go this route, line the walls as high up as you can with shelves so that you can maximize the use of this space. Hang coat racks in one section so you can store some coats and hats out of sight. What I like about this option is it allows me to use the space completely while closing it off so I can use if for function, not just decoration.
2. Under the Bed isn’t just for Hiding
Bedrooms typically have beds. That’s kind of why they’re called bedrooms. And beds tend to take up a lot of space. Pair this with the fact that cabin bedrooms are often quite small, and you end up with little space left over.
That’s why I like to use the space under my beds for storage. When I go up to the cabin, I usually don’t need more than a few days worth of clothing. So I find that I have very little need for a dresser in the bedrooms. So what I like to do is use a trundle bed. These beds have drawers built in under the mattress. These drawers give me tons of space to store clothing, but also things like sheets and blankets.
If you can store all the extra sheets and blankets in the bedrooms under the bed, then you don’t need a linen closet which opens up even more space for storing other things you use at the cabin.
3. Use more of your wall space (Think Up)
People tend to store most of their stuff at ground level. But our homes and cabins tend to have a lot of open space going up the walls.
For stuff that you need to store that looks good when it’s left visible—like books—I like to use open shelving. But for other things, I like to use cabinets to store extra items that I keep at the cabin. Just don’t think that you have to only use cabinets on the ground. There are tons of cabinet options that look great going further up the wall.
4. Furniture that doubles as storage
Be smart about your furniture choices. If you don’t have much storage space, don’t buy a traditional end table to sit next to your sofa. Instead, use an enclosed table with a drawer or two. At my sister-in-law’s cabin, they use their end table to store all sorts of things, including all the materials you need to start a fire in the wood burning stove.
The same goes for a coffee table. Instead of a glass-topped table with open sides, use an enclosed wooden table with plenty of storage inside.
5. Built-in Coat Rack with a Bench and Shoe Storage
This is a really nice one to have at the cabin.
I like having a coat rack right on the wall. It’s basically a board screwed to the wall with coat hooks along it. Below it, I like to have a built-in bench with a top that opens for storing shoes. This keeps the shoes up off the floor, gives me a place to sit to put my shoes on and take them off, and gives me a convenient place to hang my coat right when I come inside.
If you have just a little extra space in your entryway for this kind of setup, it’s really nice to have.
6. In Wall Shelving and Drawers
If you don’t have space somewhere to install shelving, you might consider building something into the wall.
Traditional studded walls are about 4 inches thick. This gives you a little space to work with to build a small book shelf, spice rack, or even decorative shelving for candles and other decorations.
Just cut out the sheetrock between two studs and then frame in a little shelf. I like to have a sill type board at the base of the shelf that sticks out a couple inches, allowing me to effectively have a 6-inch deep shelf. If you’re any good with drywall, this little project can turn out really nice and give you some functional and decorative shelf space without taking up any more square footage.
7. Get a Closet Organizer
Closets are some of the worst-used spaces in homes and cabins.
We have these small open room often with a hanger bar across the top and that’s it. So if you want to fill up the closet, you end up stacking things on top of each other.
Just install some shelving. If you have standard sized closets, you can buy a closet organizer at the local home improvement store that will help you use the space much more effectively. For narrow, deeper closets, install shelving however it makes the most sense to allow you to store more of the items you like to leave behind at the cabin, like paper towels, toilet paper, paper places, etc.
8. Wall and Ceiling Kitchen Storage
If your kitchen is small and cabinet space is really limited, consider using a wall or ceiling organizer for pots and pans. Pots and pans especially can take up a lot of space in cabinets. But if you hang them from hooks, they can just take up some of the open space above your head or above the counter in the kitchen. Depending on what kind of shape your pots are in, this can even be decorative.
9. Get an Outdoor Storage Building
With all the outdoor activities I like to do at the cabin, I don’t know that I could really go without having an outdoor storage building. This is where we can keep ATVs, Canoes, large tools, ice melt, and other outdoor items that take up a lot of space or that shouldn’t go inside.
There are lots of companies that pre-build sheds that you can put together on site. Or, if you’re more of a DIYer, build a simple outdoor building to keep your stuff stored, organized, and safe.
10. Use an Outdoor Tool Shed
For small outdoor tools, you can also use a small tool shed. These are more like little outdoor closets that keep out the weather and can be locked up. If you don’t have an outdoor storage building and you have only small tools and outdoor toys, this can be a good option for outdoor storage.
11. Trash Can Storage
Garbage cans can be unsightly, and they can get totally destroyed by wildlife while you’re gone. That’s why I like to have an enclosed bin on the outside of my cabin for storing trash cans.
I take my trash out with me whenever I leave the cabin, but I still like to have a good trash can for storing it while I’m staying at my cabin. Building a small enclosure for trash cans is really simple, but it helps preserve the atmosphere at the cabin and keeps my trash cans safe while I’m gone.
12. Murphy Bed or Baby Changing Table
If your cabin is really small, like one room small, then many of these ideas won’t be enough.
But in this case there are options. Hide-a-bed sofas and Murphy beds can be huge space savers, because the bed only comes out when it’s time to get in.
Murphy beds are those beds that fold up into the wall. You can get a full height murphy
You can also do the same type of thing with a changing table if you have a baby. You can find options that fold down like they have in public restrooms, or you can follow plans to build one yourself, like this one on DIY network.
13. In-floor Hidden Storage
This one is kind of fun. If you have any desire for hidden storage, cutting into the floor is actually not very hard. Just pick an area of floor that doesn’t get much foot traffic. Mark where the floor joists are, and then cut out a little hatch between the floor joists.
You’ll want to make nice, clean cuts so that the floor still looks nice when you’re done. Then you just need to attach some wood blocks to the floor joists to hold your hatch in place and voila, you have hidden storage in the floor.
14. Utilize Awkward Spaces
Are there weird little nooks in your cabin. It’s not uncommon to have a weird little space that doesn’t have any real value. Well, give it value.
Installing some shelving, a book case, or some cabinets in spaces like this can add a lot of storage and a nice looking feature without taking away any real usable space.
15. Rolling Drawers for Deep Cabinets
Deep cabinets or pantry shelves are often full of wasted space. Nobody fills those shelves all the way up because it’s so hard to get to the stuff in the back. What a waste?
That’s why I recommend that you install some pull-out storage on top of these deep shelves. These ones on Amazon are a good example. These allow you to actually use the space in these deep cabinets instead of just using the front 6 inches of each shelf.