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Six Handy Home Organization Tips for Shotgun-Style Homes

With an average width of about 12 feet, you’ve gotten used to the narrow confines of your shotgun-style home. These days, though, the walls seem even narrower as more and more stuff accumulates in every corner and crevice of the house. It’s time to organize, but where do you put everything when space is already limited?

Here are some home organization tips for shotgun-style houses:

  • Have clear separation from one room to another
  • Use wall and ceiling storage to open up floor space
  • Reduce furniture size 
  • Consider a pull-out bed if your bedroom is too cramped
  • Add storage wherever you can get it, such as under the stairs or under the bed
  • Open up small closets with custom closet systems

New Orleans life is all about taking it easy, and with these great tips ahead, you soon will be able to do the same, as your shotgun-style home will be neat, organized, and clean.

Clearly Delineate One Room from Another

Shotgun homes, due to their style, don’t always have clearly defined rooms from one part of the house to another. Without a house layout, it’s hard to tell where the bathroom starts and the kitchen ends or vice-versa.

Not only does this end up making life more confusing and difficult for you, but it creates a major hindrance when it comes to keeping your shotgun home organized. Those kitchen items can bleed over to the living room because one space and another lacks delineation. The clutter builds up fast and gets overwhelming, as you’re not sure where to even start with your cleanup efforts.

Before you pick up one storage container or pegboard, sit down with your family and officially declare each part of your shotgun house for specific uses. Then, go through each space or room and tidy it up, keeping only the items that are appropriate for that room’s function. For instance, medications go in the bathroom or kitchen, blankets in the bedroom, and toys in the kids’ room or even the living room if necessary.

This first step will make organizing your shotgun home so much easier, so always start here.

Open Up Floor Space by Using the Walls and Ceiling for Storage

Remember, shotgun homes are defined that way due to their narrow structure, explains Countryliving.com. Having only about 12 inches width-wise to work with is not much, and with hallways so centric to your home’s design, when floor space fills up, walking through your halls becomes more like a job, and quite a difficult one at that.

When buying storage containers, baskets, and the like, the most obvious place for these solutions is right on your floor. Sure, maybe you can hide the storage solutions or tuck them under something, but at the end of the day, the storage baskets and buckets are still hogging up quite a deal of valuable and precious floor space.

Instead of using the floor as your only storage area, try looking up instead. Your walls and especially your ceiling are likely wide open and thus rife for storage potential. Here are some wall and ceiling storage ideas you can utilize today throughout your shotgun house:

  • Hooks in the kitchen for hanging utensils and essentials such as pots and pans
  • Pegboards in the hallway for keeping cleanup items like brooms, dustpans, and mops
  • Custom wall shelving or cabinets for storing more odds and ends

Custom Living Room Storage System

Reduce the Size of Your Furniture

Before you moved into your shotgun-style home, that L-shaped couch made all the sense in the world as the focal point of your living room. It fit nicely and was the ideal room centerpiece. Then you moved. You were able to cram your L-shaped couch into your shotgun home, so you figured why not keep it?

Well, because every time you want to get off the couch to go into another room, you practically trip yourself over the couch’s bulk. Navigating around the living room is very difficult, and cleaning some corners around the couch has become all but impossible since access to those areas is essentially blocked off.

AtHomeMum.com explains that living in close quarters means taking an objective look at your furniture. This doesn’t just mean the couch, by the way, but all other furniture in your home as well. For example, if you’re used to sleeping in a California king-sized bed, it might be time to downsize to a queen or even a full (more on how your bed can help you organize your home in just a moment).

Your kitchen cabinets can be more streamlined too so your kitchen looks and feels airy. Vessel sinks atop the bathroom counters are always ideal compared to pedestal sinks in a tiny home, as the former is much less space-consuming. Oh, and getting back to that living room couch, ditch the L-shape or even the U-shape couch and go for a straight-across, smaller, simpler couch.

Swapping out furniture alone could open up significant space around your shotgun-style home, making it feel neater.

Use Pull-Out Beds

Does a full-sized bed feel too, well, full in your shotgun-style bedroom? For the most space savings here, pull-out beds are the answer. As the name implies, when bedtime rolls around, you pull the bed out to reveal your mattress, bedding, and fluffy pillows. Then, any other time of the day when you’re not sleeping, you tuck or otherwise hide the bed away.

Imagine your small bedroom was twice as big as it usually is because the bed isn’t in the way. You might be able to add a pegboard wall or stash a few items in the corner that won’t fit in any other room of the house. Just do be sure you’re open to doing some quick reorganizing each night before bed, as you do need the available room to be able to pull your bed out all the way.

Custom Murphy Bed

Consider Under-Stair and Under-Bed Storage

Another benefit of a retractable bed is it opens up the possibility for under-bed storage. You can even buy a pull-out bed with built-in storage drawers. These drawers, depending on their width and depth, could be used for stashing everything from spare clothing and pajamas to seasonal clothes and blankets. Under-bed storage in the kids’ bedroom can finally provide a home for those errant toys that always seem to end up everywhere you look.

If under-bed storage isn’t suitable for your shotgun home, then perhaps under-stair storage is instead? Staircases are often one of the biggest uses of space in a house, and that goes double for shotgun-style homes. Yes, staircases are integral, but you might as well make them even more useful by adding a storage closet or nook.

Imagine all the items you could put in your under-stairs storage area. Perhaps you take the living room overflow and keep it there. Maybe you store laundry items close by or even use the space almost like a garage or basement for seasonal items like decorations or folded-up lawn chairs. The possibilities are nearly endless here.

Try Custom Closet Systems for Even Small Closet Spaces

Throughout the process of organizing your shotgun home, you should pay special attention to your closets. They’re probably pretty unremarkable now, but with custom closet systems, you can transform even small reach-in closets into organized spaces you’ll use all the time.

With storage solutions that work for you such as drawers, shelves, shoe racks and fences, valet rods, storage baskets, and even built-in ironing board stations, you can put your closets to work!


Organizing a shotgun-style home is more challenging than your average house considering the many space restraints you have. With the tips presented in this article, you’re now aware of a handful of smart, resourceful ways to keep your shotgun home looking spotless and open from top to bottom!


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