Need to declutter?  Anytime is the perfect time for getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff that accumulates in your home. How does it manage to pile up? Didn’t you just do this last year? Maybe you should just throw it all away—for good. In fact, that’s what a lot of people are doing now. You’ve probably heard about the trend toward living with less—fewer possessions, less space—whether it’s zero-waste living or the tiny house movement.

There are two factors driving people toward small homes today: the economy and the environment. They are generally more affordable, and for home buyers, that means smaller mortgages. They are cheaper to maintain as well. People are willing to go smaller to simplify their lives.

If you’re squeezed into tight quarters or looking to downsize, here are some top tips to maximize the space and storage:

Prefer an open plan

When space is limited, you don’t want to carve it up. An open view with clean lines makes a space seem larger.

Make the most of natural light

Abundant natural light makes your home feel larger, so capture as much of it as you can. Don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows? Mirrors expand and reflect light. You can transform a small room into a larger and brighter space by using illusion wisely.

Use a minimalist color palette

You want to avoid excess in a small space—too much stuff, too many frills, too many colors. Stick to one or two similar shades, max, preferably paler ones that help maintain a light feel.

Built-in furniture is key

Built-in furniture is possibly the most efficient furnishing solution for spaces of limited dimensions: it frees up valuable floor area makes the space less cramped and unifies the decor.

Make your furniture work double duty

In a small space, everything has to earn its keep. Furniture can be an effective room divider. It is an excellent solution for studio apartments where different functions share the same space.

Obsess over your storage

Think about how you are going to use your cabinets so you can choose the right type of hardware. Look into different door hinges and drawer hardware. Custom doesn’t have to be pricey, either. Design your own modular system with crates of different sizes to bring an industrial touch to your home.

Living in a small space doesn’t have to feel cramped and inconvenient. A thoughtful approach to simplifying your lifestyle can make a big difference. But still, keep a watchful eye on your stuff—it can pile up without your noticing. Seriously, how does it do that?