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While cruise ships are lauded for their activities, entertainment, and food options aplenty, they aren’t exactly known for their spacious accommodations. In fact, some cabins measure as small as 114 square feet. But just because you’ve booked the smallest stateroom doesn’t mean you have to feel confined. 

These seven tips will help you maximize your space:

  • 1. Don’t overpack.

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    Two weeks before departure, lay out your clothing options. Place like objects — shirts with shirts, for example — into neat piles. Remove anything that doesn’t coordinate with the other selections. Then, with the exception of underwear and socks, eliminate any triplets or quadruplets.

    You don’t need three sweaters on a tropical cruise, and jeans are bulky, so limit yourself to a single pair that will work both day and night. Aim for no more than three pairs of shoes, and wear your workout sneakers on the plane.

  • 2. Request a queen bed.

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    Furniture on cruise ships is weighted, and often nailed down. It keeps the items stable over rough seas, which means you won’t be able to rearrange your room. What you can do is make a configuration request prior to sailing: Opt for a queen bed instead of two singles, and ask the cabin steward to remove the bedside table so you’ll have even more floor space.

  • 3. Unpack as soon as you arrive.

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    You might think that keeping all of your belongings in your luggage will take up less surface area … but you’d be wrong. Unpack and hang everything in the closet. Store your suitcases under the bed, and stash a plastic bag on the closet floor for dirty laundry.

    Immediately pack any souvenirs in your stored luggage upon purchase. This will not only streamline your departure, but it will also keep your cabin clutter-free.

  • 4. Keep your incidentals in one place.

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    Yes, you are on vacation and yes, you have a maid, but that doesn’t mean you should treat your room like a frat house. Section off a portion of the desk for your incidentals — room keycard, loose change, your phone, and whatever else you grab when you aren’t in your cabin — and always place those items in their spot.

  • 5. Designate a charging station.

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    Create a tech zone and charge and store all of your electronics in it. Yoke cords with a hair elastic to further streamline the wires.

  • 6. Keep your toiletries organized.

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    In the bathroom, keep all of your toiletries in a pouch. Replace anything immediately after use. To further amplify the space, invest in an over-the-door toiletry bag. (L.L.Bean has a durable and affordable one in varying colors and sizes.)

  • 7. Stash the towel animals.

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    Sure, that monkey is cute, but it occupies valuable real estate on your bed. Either tell your chambermaid you’ll pass, or stuff the towel animals under the bed after you admire them.

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