Being a musician and an apartment dweller is a pain for so many reasons. For one, your neighbors are going to be way less chill with your 11 PM drum sessions. Also, moving your gear up a fifth-floor walkup is a guaranteed trip to the emergency room.
Worst of all, you’re probably working without a basement or attic to store your various amps, cables, mixers, pedals, and actual instruments. Luckily, you don’t need to break up the band just to keep your space livable.
Try any of the below nine music instrument and equipment storage tips and you’ll fit everything in your apartment in no time. Unless you recently purchased a pipe organ. Then we don’t know what to tell you.
1. Store instruments vertically.
Leaning your guitar in a case against your wall might seem like the simplest option, but hanging it on the wall, like how Mary Helen Rowell hangs her cooking supplies, will free up some much-needed floor space. And honestly, it’ll look a lot cooler.
The best part: You don’t have to spend a ton of money to mount your prized Gibson. As one ingenious hacker discovered, IKEA towel hangers will do the guitar storage trick for cheap (don’t forget to add padding).
Prefer an already-made storage option?
Check out the Baltic Birch McFly LX-Candlelight from Wall-Axe (pictured at the top of this article). It’ll hang not two, but three guitars at once, and it comes with everything you need to mount it to your wall.
This vertical storage concept doesn’t just apply to guitars. If your mounted bookshelves aren’t already full of Keith Richards biographies (by the way, here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of), they’re an ideal place to store small pieces of equipment like cables and microphones.
2. Build a guitar rack inside your closet.
Hanging your axe is a great option. But some musicians worry about leaving it out in the open since one clumsy friend at a housewarming party, or your crafty and curious cat, could do some serious damage.
For those people, go the DIY guitar rack route. As this Pinterest project shows, you can easily convert a basic wardrobe cabinet into a brilliant guitar cabinet by modifying the shelves to suit your storage needs. This is an especially great option if your collection of musical gear is far from casual.
3. Slide your keyboard under your desk.
Setting your keyboard up with its own separate stand and stool is a huge space- and money-waster. Instead, incorporate your keyboard into your desk with a sturdy sliding shelf. Or place it right up top and save that shelf for the other kind of keyboard.
4. Hack an IKEA bookcase into a rolling amp storage unit.
A short bookcase is an ideal home for an amp, and it still leaves you with some surface space up top for your non-stereo needs. This particular storage hack used a $40 IKEA EXPEDIT bookcase (now called the KALLAX shelving unit) and a pack of RILL casters to transform the case into a freewheeling storage center for one Engl amplifier.
The pros note in the comments that you’ll probably want to take the amp out of the case when it’s time to shred, just to be safe. Also, adding some acoustic soundproofing foam isn’t a bad idea.
5. Repurpose over-the-door hangers and shoe organizers to store cables.
There are tons of creative music equipment storage ideas in this gear forum thread, but some of the more inspired choices concern cables. Hate bundling your cables up because they might strangle themselves? Store them vertically on an over-the-door hanger or hooks.
Don’t mind the bundling, but running short on drawer space? Repurpose a shoe organizer to store them along with other accessories.
6. Flip-top storage bins are your friend.
It’s a pretty obvious play, but a few flip-top storage bins from your preferred home improvement store can stash a lot of your small equipment.
Don’t have enough space in your closet to fit the bins?
No problem. Just jack your bed up a couple inches with some bed risers and sweep your newly-stored tambourines (or less folksy gear) underneath.
Or, you know, bubble wrap everything and effortlessly store it in climate-controlled MakeSpace.
7. Velcro cable ties will save your sanity.
Velcro cable ties cost maybe $5, and they’ll keep your cables and cords from twisting into knots inside whichever bin, shoe organizer, or desk drawer you stash them in. They’re also much harder to lose than plastic twist ties!
8. Store pedals, mixers, and other equipment on rackmount shelves and in drawers.
There’s a reason rackmount shelves and drawers show up in most music supply stores. They’re great for storing all sorts of equipment, especially pedals and mixers, and they keep everything in one tidy place.
You can spring for a whole cabinet and get all sorts of staggered drawer action going, or just add a single sliding rack drawer to an existing unit. Although we should warn you that this could end up being a high-cost investment, depending on your vision.
9. Crank your humidifier to prevent your guitar from drying out.
Storing your guitar on a rack or hanging it on the wall saves space, since you’re forgoing those bulky cases. But it also exposes your instrument to the elements — and depending on your central air situation, those could be killer.
Temperature swings can cause instruments, particularly wooden ones, to crack, expand, or warp. So if your instruments are living outside their original packaging, make sure to use a humidifier to help them survive the seasons, and your small apartment.