The rising cost of living, coupled with security issues, means that sectional title properties like flats have increasingly become the home of choice for South Africans, research by Stats South Africa has revealed.

In fact, statistics from FNB property analyst, John Loos, show that average full title stand sizes have almost halved, building sizes have shrunk, and sectional title homes have become far more common.

With that comes the challenge of fitting a whole house worth of goods into a space that’s barely big enough for a toaster. OK, that’s obviously a joke. Unless you’re living in Cape Town, where the average rental for a one-bedroom home is R10 557 per month, according to the number crunching research site, Numbeo. That’s a lot of money for very little square footage! And yes, while the Mother City is notorious for its high property costs, other urban centres deserve scrutiny too.

A squiz through Property24 reveals apartments of just 45 m² for R8 000 or an 88 m² two bedroom flat for R14 000 in Johannesburg.

And yet, people continue to need… stuff. And with stuff comes the need for places to put it all! How even?!

We have some bad news for hoarders: you’re going to have to clear things out. But do you really want to hold onto that fedora collection? It is not 2008 and you are not 2008 Justin Timberlake (wait, are you?!).  Just throw it out. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Have you used it in the last six months (and we’re not talking seasonal items here)? If it’s a no, it’s time to toss.

Double duty
Dual-purpose products are all the rage these days. We’re talking ottomans that double as storage holders. Or beds with drawers to clear away clutter. PriceCheck has a whole range of ideas for you. Instead of throwing your things on the floor or stuffing them under the bed or couch, put some hooks in your walls and hang your goodies up. This way, you get to make the space unique to you because it’s all your stuff. If you must keep your fedora collection, you might as well make it look cool on a wall

Get stacked
Another easy way to quickly and easily clear up space is stackable furniture. Think chairs that you can push completely out of the way under your dining table. Or this adorable nest of tables from online rent-to-own retailer Teljoy. Or a dining room set with benches that fit fully under the table. Bonus: It’s stylish and inexpensive!

It’s just an illusion
The right kind of layout and furniture can make a space appear larger than it is. Think long tables in simple colours. Mount your TV on the living room wall to further clear up space. Or use a shallow rectangular TV stand (with drawers or shelves with more storage space) in plain black or white. Simple, sleek electronics like this LG home theatre system can also make a room feel less cluttered.

Let there be light
This goes for both the colour of your walls as well as the amount of light you let into your space. We’re talking big windows that lets in the fresh air and sunshine as well as light-colour painted walls.   These are just a few ideas on how to make your small house a home. Do you have any other tricks? Let us know!

This article was first published in the Daily Sun on 8 August 2018.