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Small Home organization thread

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

I would love to start a thread about small home organization and inspiration, your tips and tricks.  Pictures VERY welcome. 

 

 

We are a family of one adult, 3 children, and a cat and just moved into an 850sq ft home with basement.  Due to the layout it's quite lovely and snug while feeling open and filled with light but the kids all in one bedroom with a tiny closet and only one outlet creates issue.  We've installed a second closet rod(closet size is 45inches wide by 36inches deep and one wall is hollow on the 45inch wide part so that limits us) but stuffed animals are taking over.  They don't have a spot yet.  I'm thinking one of those nets up on the ceiling.  Otherwise I'm in LOVE with this house.  It feels perfect for us. 

post #2 of 52

I will join in. We have moved several times but always into a small place. I love it. I thrive in it. I love to figure out how to make things work. I have found minimalism, in my own way, helps. I do enjoy my clothes and I love my pictures, probably my biggest collections in my home. But simple is the way for me.  A white candle or a silver based lamp adds that something without adding clutter. We are moving again, so no posting pics right now. But at the next adventure, I mean home, I will. What are some of your favorite small house tips??? : )

post #3 of 52

we are a family of 4- 2 adults, 2 kids (6 and 1), and we're currently living with my parents, waiting to get a ~550sf apartment ready for us to move in. We'll have no garage, basement, etc. So really have to stick to the space we have. Its 2 rooms connected by a galley kitchen and hall that the bathroom opens from. Before this we lived in 860sf so that sounds kinda big by comparison justmama. I wish I'd been better about organization in the 860sf apt. Now we'll really have to be on top of all our clutter and belongings. When we moved I took the opportunity to massively "destash" and I think that is going to be a big challenge but also the important part in the new place. If this thread survives long enough I'll share pics and I am sure I will need some ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 

favorite tip: double duty items.  We have an entertainment center for the tv and the dvd player.  I'm not big on tv but it creates AWESOME storage space for toys in the living room. 

another favorite: finding little niches for things that would otherwise be wasted space.  We have a curved staircase, which means that at the curve there's a space on the widest step in the corner.  That space houses the canvas basket that serves as a clutter catcher for things that need to go upstairs so the downstairs is clutter-free and the stairs stay safe for little ones.  At the top of the stairs is a little ledge about 6inches wide and 8 inches long.  I hotglued a little pottery dish there(so it doesnt' get knocked down the stairs by accident) and stuck an air plant in it for decoration.  Looks adorable.  My broom and swiffer and dustpan hang on nails along the stairs to the basement where the walls widen a few inches.  I keep glass storage jars and mason jars above the cabinets above my stove since there's a good 8inches in height of unused space.  Inside our tiny closet in the kids' room I put two hooks over the back of the door to hang their backpacks.  I have a clothesline strung in the basement for drying our clothing since the doorways are too small to accomodate our dryer(i have to sell it now) and there's not a lot of room for a drying rack upstairs but plenty of basement rafter space.  A rectractable line in my bedroom might be the next expenditure.

 

 

post #5 of 52


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justmama View Post
 but stuffed animals are taking over.  They don't have a spot yet.  I'm thinking one of those nets up on the ceiling. 


I've been considering making a big wall pocket for my daughter's stuffed animals.That way I could hang it at a level where she could still access them(I planned to hang it along the wall where her bed is) and it would be flatter against the wall than one of those nets.

 

 

My tip...I have a dresser in the dining room that serves as our "office".

post #6 of 52

ill be watching this thread, too! we are a family of 4 living in a 2 bedroom 850ish sq ft apartment. right now its a mess! i'm quitting work in feb to stay home with the kids, and i'm hoping to trash tons of things and re organize. this place is SO cluttered. and yeah- the stuffed animals have fully taken over this house. they are everywhere, and that's after i went through them to get rid of many. we also have random papers, diapers, and clothes taking over. i am thinking some wall shelving could really help with some of this mess! edited to ask how many bedrooms the op's home is? i would really love a 3rd child, but have never really considered making it work in our 2 bedroom (although we made 2 children in a 1 bedroom work for quite a while). right now i am thinking we will have to find a bigger place if we were to ever have another baby, and i'm so tired of moving!


Edited by inky leeuhhh - 11/27/10 at 9:45am
post #7 of 52

I live in a 580 sq. foot apartment with my 2 sons.  Fortunately, none of us are claustrophobic.  winky.gif  I don't have organizational tips that are new, but I'll share a few coping ideas. 

 

I did a massive decluttering before we moved in, of course.  I donated a ton of books, games, puzzles, and a doll collection to my dc's school.  Now my kids can still use them, and so can their classmates. 

 

We spend a lot of time outside.  We arrange to visit friends or have playmates over, to change things up.  Having less toys or space to play isn't such a bother when you've got a friend to play with.

 

I make sure (usually!) to stay on top of cleaning and decluttering, to make the most of our space.

 

Cool thread!  I'm looking forward to getting some good ideas. 

post #8 of 52

I've started using our doors for storage.  I got a hanging organizer for the inside of my living room closet door and all of our winter accessories are stuffed in each pocket. I put flashlights and my umbella in the exta pockets.  Then I put over the door hooks on the same door and on the outside of the door I'm hanging my purse and both of the kids' backpacks.  I'm planning to get more organizers for the other doors in the house too. 

post #9 of 52

Vertical storage is your friend! I swear every time I get a new book shelf my house gets neater. You need baskets or some kind of storage bin on them for collections of toys, miscellaneous junk etc, but stuffed animals could just live on the shelves as is. Just an idea but how about putting up shelves in the back of the closet behind where the clothes hang, so things don't end up piled on the floor? I would definitely go for a net to collect the stuffed animals.

 

We keep most of her toys and books in the living room, as we cosleep and the bedroom is crowded between the big bed, a rocking chair, and the two dressers. I've started divying up her toys into bags and rotating them out, she's young enough that she doesn't notice something is missing, her favorites do stay out. I used to leave all her toys out where she could access them but that only led to them being thrown all over the place and not really played with. She seems to do well with a few toys and lots of open floor space and uncluttered furniture to run across and throw herself onto respectively.

 

Would love more tips! I think the more storage the better! We need to install shelves in our studio/office, that would help considerably with the clutter.

post #10 of 52

count me in! im not sure how many sq ft we have...we just downgraded to a 2br townhouse apt. (finances err) and my living room is TINY as is one of the bedrooms and the kitchen is so small i cant even breathe in it, but TG we have a dining room thats a decent size so we can have a table at least. NO basement and NO attic we have 4 closets and a "pantry" which is really a closet no deeper than a foot and no wider than 3ft with 4 shelves in it. its sooo cheap though and its in a nice area. *hopefully* we will be living here 2 yrs tops, well thats certainly what im praying for lol

 

so far i have 0 organization. my house is a disaster. the spare BR/playroom is full of boxes of stuff that have no where to go. its completely redundant to pay for storage besides we literally do not have the luxury of affording it....

post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by inky leeuhhh View Post

ill be watching this thread, too! we are a family of 4 living in a 2 bedroom 850ish sq ft apartment. right now its a mess! i'm quitting work in feb to stay home with the kids, and i'm hoping to trash tons of things and re organize. this place is SO cluttered. and yeah- the stuffed animals have fully taken over this house. they are everywhere, and that's after i went through them to get rid of many. we also have random papers, diapers, and clothes taking over. i am thinking some wall shelving could really help with some of this mess! edited to ask how many bedrooms the op's home is? i would really love a 3rd child, but have never really considered making it work in our 2 bedroom (although we made 2 children in a 1 bedroom work for quite a while). right now i am thinking we will have to find a bigger place if we were to ever have another baby, and i'm so tired of moving!



 

 


Hi Leah, I have 3 children, ages 2(3 in a month), 5(6 in a mont) and 10.  I'm a single mom.  We have 2 bedrooms only and that's all we've ever had.  I wanted a 3 bedroom since the 10 year old is getting older and needs her own space but financially it's impossible unless I want to move us to a very questionable neighborhood.  This neighborhood is fine, no broken glass on the street and cars broken into all the time like our last neighborhood so I'm happy! ;)  So financially we've got to make 2 bedrooms work.  We have a set of bunk beds and a twin bed and very very few toys.  I could probably count the toys on two hands and a foot if you count books as a set and plastic figurines as a set.  And that's being generous.  We have less toys for 3 than most of their friends have as one.  :)  But they are happy kids who feel blessed so I think that's all that matters.  I do try to set aside areas of the house for them to retreat to when they are on each other's nerves, which is why the basement is a big deal for us.  I'm going to put a carpet down and maybe some bean bags and a little tv and dvd player if I can do it on the cheap so that my oldest can get away from her sisters when she has friends over.  We also have a lovely backyard with a tree swing coming and a big trampoline and a sand box and bikes and two little friends right next door in our duplex.  But to make one bedroom for 3 work, we have two rules.  Number one, you may NOT let your junk pile up and overflow everywhere.  You must maintain a neat and orderly room because it's unfair to ask others to live in your mess.  Contain your mess to your headboard because that's YOUR area.  Number two, you may NOT get on anyone else's bed but your own.  Your bed is your special safe space for yourself or your toys.  If you get on anyone else's bed other than mom's, that's an immediate timeout.  That's a serious offense in our house.  They live in 850sq ft. and they all play and sleep in one room, there have to be boundaries.  Having a designated safe space where no one can touch you or bug you or a safe space to put down a toy while you go potty and know itwon't be touched is a necessity and it's seeming to be working well.  That's been the rule since the almost 3 year old was born and I LOVE that rule.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post

I live in a 580 sq. foot apartment with my 2 sons.  Fortunately, none of us are claustrophobic.  winky.gif  I don't have organizational tips that are new, but I'll share a few coping ideas. 

 

I did a massive decluttering before we moved in, of course.  I donated a ton of books, games, puzzles, and a doll collection to my dc's school.  Now my kids can still use them, and so can their classmates. 

 

We spend a lot of time outside.  We arrange to visit friends or have playmates over, to change things up.  Having less toys or space to play isn't such a bother when you've got a friend to play with.

 

I make sure (usually!) to stay on top of cleaning and decluttering, to make the most of our space.

 

Cool thread!  I'm looking forward to getting some good ideas. 


 

You are my hero!  That's awesome.  I think that staying on top of cleaniang and decluttering and not letting it rule your life is a hard line to walk.  Clutter and things out of place are a bigger deal in a small space than a bigger one but you also don't want to let it take over and make you crazy. 
 

post #12 of 52

We have been looking at small apartments to move into and I am quite excited. We own 3 dressers, 1 for each of us. These can be used in any room if necessary. I think it looks eclectic. I love sweater organizers, the one's that hang in the closet. Great for those things that tend to get lost- winter gear, bathing suits, even my son's underwear and socks, shoes, etc. He keeps some of his smaller toys in there too. I switched from one of those multiple bin storage for toys thingys to 2 storage benches. They are easy to clean and he can sit on them and have fun. They hide the mess and look attractive.

 

I have found that making each item beautiful and functional makes a smaller space work. For instance, I rid myself of as much plastic as I could. I use something similiar to these for a lot of the larger storage that I need. They are pretty and functional:

 

http://www.target.com/Castela-Milk-Crate-Set-Large/dp/B000UZZK96/ref=br_1_2?ie=UTF8&id=Castela%20Milk%20Crate%20Set%20Large&node=13832171&searchSize=30&searchView=grid5&searchPage=1&sr=1-2&qid=1290909454&rh=&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=reviewrank&frombrowse=1

 

They can also be used in many ways no matter where we move. I even use them in the trunk of my car to hold an extra blanket, clothes or groceries. Always organizing!!! thumb.gif

 

This is another cute option:

 

http://www.target.com/Damask-Neat-Seat-Black-16Lx16Wx16D/dp/B003WP7K2G/ref=br_1_19?ie=UTF8&id=Damask%20Neat%20Seat%20Black%2016Lx16Wx16D&node=13832171&searchSize=30&searchView=grid5&searchPage=1&sr=1-19&qid=1290909454&rh=&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=reviewrank&frombrowse=1

 

Hobby Lobby carries things like this and you can sign up and get a 40% off coupon.

 

In the beginning, I was constantly decluttering. It takes time and you have to be adamant about making it work BUT once you get on top of things, it will work for you.

post #13 of 52

I want to love those sweater organizers but have a hard time with them... they seem to not hold as much as I want. Do you have the open storage or the kinds that have drawers?

 

I am currently excited about some double-duty ideas:

-building a bench/couch/daybed with arms, that in a pinch can be a guest bed/napping spot, and which will hold three largish basket-bins underneath

-gateleg table for the front room (can be about half-size when its just us 3 or 4 eating, but can grow to have guests or large projects). The one I'm thinking of getting from IKEA http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20104718 also has some storage shelves built in- so brilliant- so that cloth napkins and cutlery can be stored AT the table where you actually need it! But I am worried its going to be too small... so I have to go check it out for reals.

-similar idea- a "gateleg" type rolling sewing cart that can hold the sewing machine and a basket of supplies, and can be a little end table, but can expand out to be a whole sewing table. Idea is from: http://ana-white.com/2010/10/a-sewing-table-for-small-spaces.html

-simple platform bed which can store the kids bed underneath (they sleep on a floor mattress anyway)

 

Other plans:

-"landing strip" area-- hooks or cubbies- one for each person in the family- to hold our coats, bags, shoes

-shoe-free house FOR SURE

-a customized 4-week chore chart. really hope I can get DH to work with me on that.

 

there is more but I have to go!

post #14 of 52


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post


-gateleg table for the front room (can be about half-size when its just us 3 or 4 eating, but can grow to have guests or large projects). The one I'm thinking of getting from IKEA http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20104718 also has some storage shelves built in- so brilliant- so that cloth napkins and cutlery can be stored AT the table where you actually need it! But I am worried its going to be too small... so I have to go check it out for reals.


 

You could masking tape your floor in the dimensions of the table to see how it would fit (or if you all fit around it)or cut it out of newspaper and then you can move it around the room to see if you like the fit.

post #15 of 52

I live in a small apartment. I think it's 700 sq. ft.  Honestly, I can't stand how small it is.  Especially the kitchen and living room.  There isn't a dining room or even a good dining area.  I have an ikea drop leaf table in the living room.  I can't really have company if it's more than one or two people.  I'm not allowed to paint, nor do I want to put big holes in the walls (for shelves, etc.)

My son's room is particularly tricky.  It's a narrow room and two the walls have baseboard heaters.  So, I really shouldn't keep any furniture in front of those.  The long wall without baseboards has his twin bed.  The other wall w/out bb is the only wall I can work with in regards to storage.  That wall has a window.  I wouldn't mind covering that window because there are 3 others in his room.  But, I wouldn't feel safe putting large/tall shelving in there.  Anchoring it would be tricky and I'd be afraid of ds climbing on it.

 

Oh, and we don't own dressers.  I would LOVE a long, low dresser in ds's room.  He could put both clothes and toy in it (his closet is super tiny.)

post #16 of 52

Emma- I have something similiar to this:

 

http://shopping.yahoo.com/742913520-hanging-6shelf-sweater-organizer-black/;_ylt=AmTe_7wMkAdmUsf9dSgkaq0bFt0A 

 

Though those little pockets on the sides would be great for children's books.

post #17 of 52

I have a shoe bag on the back of the closet door to hold scarves, mittens, etc. Same with hooks on the backs of all of the bathroom and bedroom doors. I have a magnetic strip that I put knives on so they don't take up drawer space. Stackable washer and dryer. Ottomons with a top that flips over to a tray for entertaining with storage space inside. I use stemless wine glasses for our water glasses-they do double duty for wine. Underbed storage boxes. Bunk beds for the kids with drawers underneath. Use vertical space that would otherwise be wasted-doors, side of the fridge, spot between cabinet and wall, etc. We have 2 kids, and a dog and cat. We seriously downsized into an apartment and I love it. Everything is so convenient now. It's a fun challenge to see how creative we can get with our storage solutions.

post #18 of 52

http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157600025082938/ 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157594309114341/ 

 

These are links to two different apartments owned by the infamous Delight here on MDC.  She no longer lives in either, she's a full time RVer.  However, they are still full of wonderful ideas and cute decor.  They are a very minimalistic family though so for those with "stuff" it might not be as inspiring.

post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post

http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157600025082938/ 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157594309114341/ 

 

These are links to two different apartments owned by the infamous Delight here on MDC.  She no longer lives in either, she's a full time RVer.  However, they are still full of wonderful ideas and cute decor.  They are a very minimalistic family though so for those with "stuff" it might not be as inspiring.

It's worth it to look at her RV's too because even if your place is bigger than an RV winky.gifshe's got some really good ideas for storage.
 

post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 

I love her pictures.  Just beautiful.  I do check out her blog frequently as well because she's such an inspiration. 

 

 

 

I'm running into issues with Christmas.  Anyone able to manage family and what they give?  My mother just showed me MULTIPLE outfits for each of my 3 kids that she plans on giving them plus she's got many other ideas of stuff she wants to get.  She goes overboard every holiday.  And last year my ex's family ended up sending him home with a FULL car load of crud with the kids for Christmas.  I feel really blessed that they have so many people who love them but geez.  Not enough space!  How do you manage this?


Edited by justmama - 11/28/10 at 5:16pm
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