Anyone have a home with tiny closets--no storage space? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our apartment has, well, tiny closets and no storage space. We have so much crap, I don't know what to do. Last year, Jan 2005, we boxed and gave away 30 boxes (was it that many? i don't know--a lot though).

We don't buy much. Our parents give the kids SO much stuff. We live in an apartment, 900 sq feet, four people, which is completely do-able but with stuff constantly coming in and no closets, it's a problem.

And yeah, we tell them to please limit gift giving, give lessons, experiences, whatever but nothing has changed much.

How do I get rid of it all? What do I do with what's left? How do I get myself organized? It's really driving me crazy!

Sorry for the freak out.
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#2 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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I have never followed through with this, but I wanted to have a rule that for every item that comes in, one must go out (donate to Goodwill or trash, depending) - clothing, toys or whatever. Then give the gift-recipient child the choice of which, and even the new one could be the one to go.

A tradition in my family that is not seasonally helpful, but that I love is the weekend after Thanksgiving is spent gathering toys, clothes, and stuff to donate to the homeless shelter. We get our closets clean, make room for the anticipated overabundance of the coming season, and become aware of how much we have, with an attitude of gratitude.

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#3 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 01:00 AM
 
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well since grandma thought that toy was so great and you don't have space she'd LOVE to have it at her house for the kids when the come play
drop them over.

next time say oh thanks but now she has two of the same thing.
once you bring a gift 'back' to the store they will feel badly and ask.

You could ask about starting traditions that involve buying, my mom buys shoes for every kid on their birthday its great and I know to expect it.

8 might be enough
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#4 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 09:37 AM
 
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i have the same problem right now. I am going though stuff to have a yard sale and then what doesn't get bought is going to get donated. I feel really bad for getting rid of stuff but i know it has to happen.
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#5 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 05:19 PM
 
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I definitely have a hard time getting rid of something I know someone else gave to them, so I try to think about it like this. They gave my child X and she played with X but now she is outgrown it, I am under no further obligation to keep it for the next child - it wasn't given to him.

I love the idea of bringing it back to the gift giver's house! A great way to swing that is to say 'we have soooo many toys, this gets lost in the shuffle, I'd rather keep it here where it can be a special toy she plays with when she visits and associates with her grandma, etc etc'

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#6 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 05:41 PM
 
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For birthdays and Christmas I usually ask the grandparents to contribute money to a membership at a chosen amuzement park, museum or zoo. Most of the time they will give the boys a small toy and a card with money. Another thing I do that is super helpful is I register each of the boys at Target for their birthday. That way at least the stuff coming into the house is stuff they want or need. Each year before their birthday and before Chistmas I clean their room and sort through all their stuff. We get rid of anything that is broken and select about half of their stuff to donate to needy kids. They have started to help with this now that they are a bit older. I have also recently discovered that things stay alot cleaner without toyboxes. I know that sounds crazy but we got them each a set of compartmental shelving that 12X12X12 canvas bins fit into from Target. Each bin holds a type of toy (lego, lincoln logs, train set, music, cars, etc) They can pull one bin out at a time and when they are done playing everything goes back into the bin and the bin slides back in place. We have about half the cubbies with bins and the other half without for larger toys or knicknacks. It has worked out quite well. Another thing I have done in my oldest's room is put in a loft bed. That way he still has the whole floor to play on. We made a little clubhouse under his bed and he loves it. My youngest will be getting a bunk bed soon. I don't feel comfortable with him sleeping up high so we are going to put a platform on the top for a play area and he will sleep on the bottom until he is a little older.
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#7 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 05:55 PM
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Ug,

We live in a hundred year old house, and it's challenge to store things.

It makes me realize how materialistic we are compared to people one hundred years ago.

I'm looking into those closet units at Ikea. I have one wall that may become a closet.

Ikea is a great place for storage ideas. European houses usually are much smaller than ours and the people are generally more creative with space and storage.
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#8 of 21 Old 04-28-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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Don't worry about the freakout Mamaley...this is an almost daily occurence with me and I have a little more space than you. My DH and I both have so much hobby equipment that takes up space, like a drumset, for instance and it is a constant challenge to figure out what will go....
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#9 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 12:36 AM
 
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My 5yo's room is our former office. It's a small room with no closet. Last week we bought a wardrobe from IKEA and it has made a huge difference in how her room looks and is organized! There is so much room it that some of the shelves are still empty!

We just had a big decluttering the past couple of weeks, too. I reduced her stuff down to My Little Ponies (dolls and one playset), model horses, Angelina dolls and one playset, a shoebox sized container of Barbies, art supplies and Play-doh (they have their own cabinet under the fish tank), 10 games and a collection of books. The books are in our livingroom. My toddler has more toys but we culled them down to what we can fit under the bed in storage drawers and what we can fit on one small shelf in her closet. Both kids seem perfectly happy with fewer toys and they play with them in very creative ways.

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#10 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 01:01 AM
 
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I hear you... we have just over 600 square feet, and NO closet space (one TINY linen closet that we keep DS's clothes in, and two tiny bedroom closets) We have crap all over the place. Hopefully I'll find some good suggestions in this thread.

Dawn, mama to D (3.06) & N (9.07) C (11.09) & Still-in-shock surprise due in Aug!
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#11 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 01:16 AM
 
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I don't really have too much in the way of suggestions but just a comment. I think it could be a good thing to have limited space to keep your life simple. I have seen a lot of older family and friends get so bogged down with all the stuff. Sometimes it seems like in a blink of an eye we will be retiring and I don't want to be hauling around and living under tons of stuff til then when I am forced to downsize. Granted my DS is only 5 months so I'm sure it's harder with kids stuff. But I don't miss anything that I have gotten rid of. I just try to get rid of as much as possible. It's so liberating. I tell myself I can always buy it again -- I mean, in our grandparents generation a set of china was really really expesive, now you could probably buy a decent set somewhere for $10, used, there is just so much stuff floating around out there that it's easy to snap things up if you need them, and hopefully easier to let them go when you want to.
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#12 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plagio
there is just so much stuff floating around out there that it's easy to snap things up if you need them, and hopefully easier to let them go when you want to.
ITA - This is one of the reasons I love shopping at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. When its time to say goodbye to the item, I don't feel so bad - I only paid $5 for it and often I can get that money back if I take the time to sell it! I buy all of DD's big yard toys that way and we got rid of a bunch before we moved - I think I made money, and I know I can buy her another one here and I'll get the thrill of the chase as well.

The only problem is DD is still at the age where she doesn't let go of anything easily, though out of sight is out of mind. She was very upset the other day that we got rid of my mother's old couches (my parents still can't get over how fast I had those couches gone - yay freecycle!)

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#13 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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Our current house has one walk in close in the master bedroom (good sized), and small regular closets(with those annoying sliding doors that always get off track), in the other 2 bedrooms, and that's it for storage space. No coat closet, linen closets, etc. The kitchen does have a pantry, but small and not walk in. And we have 2 whole drawers in the kitchen! I have had to learn how to use small spaces creatively.

My kids closet was big enough for a wire thng that has 4 shelves(free from my parents who no longer had a use for it), and on the shelves I put dish pans (around $1 ea. at Target), ea shelf could fit 2 dishpans. Then I filled ea dishpan with their books, standing upright, that way they are easy to flip through and see the titles, and easy to put back in. They have a ton of books so this really helped. Next to the wire shelf thingy we have a toy bin, this kept all the toys and books in the closet and freed up more space in the room. I know a lot of people don't like the toy bins, but they worked fine for us, guess my kids have a lot of small toys. (Legos, wooden blocks, little people). The big shelf at the top of the closet could fit 4 huge rubbermaid bins with lids, where I would keep the extra toys. I would rotate the toys every few months with the toys in the bin and they were like new again. The containers were not see through, so my kids would mostly forget there were more toys up there and not nag me about them.

I kept each person's extra sheets and bed linens in under the bed storage boxes under their bed.

Each season I would clean out their drawers and rotate out of season clothes. The out of season clothes that I thought they still might fit into next season, went into their old toy box. I had hated using this big wooden chest as a toy box but it works perfect in the back of my big closet, as clothing storage. In my closet I also kept a wire shelving thing that had sliding drawers, for all of our homeschool stuff we were working on, since we had no extra cabinets or closets for it, or even room for an extra bookcase.

In my kitchen I had a wall organizer that had pockets for scissors, pens, odd and ends, since I couldn't spare a drawer as a junk drawer. I also had a wicker basket on the bottom shelf of my pantry to hold kitchen towels, pot holders, etc. since we didn't have an extra drawer for kitchen linens either.

The thing I am looking forward to most about my new house is all the closets, since I've been there with the limited storage space. Who needs crown molding and corian countertops, it's the extra storage space that got me.
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#14 of 21 Old 04-29-2006, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying I'm going to check out Ikea's website and I think it's time to do a MAJOR declutter. I was talking to a neighbor and we were thinking about doing a neighborhood garage sale.
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#15 of 21 Old 05-02-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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My closets are teeeeny... The house was built in 1920 and they had fewer clothes back then, so there are clothes and clothes for days... :

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#16 of 21 Old 05-03-2006, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiloh
well since grandma thought that toy was so great and you don't have space she'd LOVE to have it at her house for the kids when the come play
drop them over.
.
:

We have 3 people in <800 sq ft, with very little closet space and no storage (attic, basement, garage...). I find that it is a constant process. Each time I tidy a room, I am removing a few things. I don't know where the stuff is coming from, lol! But, when I look with a critical eye, there is always stuff that can go--that no one will miss.

And I remind myself that decluttering begins at the point of purchase. I may love, love, love that thriftshop bargain, but I love my living space more. Or dd may love that wonderful toy, but she needs the living space more so that she can enjoy the wonderful toys she already has.

Dh, otoh, is another issue. Now that I think of it, I *know* where all that random stuff is coming from
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#17 of 21 Old 05-03-2006, 09:44 AM
 
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My house was built in the 1920's or 30's so yes, no closets at all downstairs and no linen closet, etc. upstairs. Each of the bedrooms has a small closet but that's it. I can sympathize. My constant struggle is what to do with the vaccuum cleaner!

I was looking at one of the wardrobe things from Ikea for by the front door to deal with some of the clutter from comings & goings. They also have a ton of great ideas for how to better use space. My big problem is the emotional part of getting rid of stuff, but I've come to a point where I feel I deserve to have a nice space to live in & I don't want expectations to determine what I have in my house, but what I love. It's hard & I'm still working on it .

I agree with the grandparent thing though...go for experiences rather than stuff. My mother usually renews our children's museum subscription every year & we also belong to the Bronz Zoo & the local Y. Also, if it's too big, just tell them you don't have room & want to keep it at their house to play with. If they don't respect your wished, then feel free to return it.

Good luck.
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#18 of 21 Old 05-03-2006, 01:22 PM
 
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My DH and I lived for a year in an apartment that had one tiny closet (in the bedroom -- we used it for coats and clothes) and two above area storage spaces that were a PITA to get to, but we used for seasonal items. The kitchen was tiny and there was limited cabinet space.

We ended up purging a TON of stuff when we moved into the space, and I kept decluttering the whole time we were there.

We bought a wardrobe from IKEA as well (for underwear/ socks, my DH's clothes and we used the biggest drawers for linens -- one side was sheets and pillowcases, the other side was towels.)

We had another dresser for the front door, where we kept hats and scarves and such.

We didn't have any baby stuff at the time to deal with (that was where we lived when we first started TTC, and we moved twice in the time it took us to actually concieve!)

HTH!
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#19 of 21 Old 05-03-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girlie_librarian
My closets are teeeeny... The house was built in 1920 and they had fewer clothes back then, so there are clothes and clothes for days... :
I purged our clothes down quite a bit and I love it! We have enough for about 10 days of wear for each season, plus some nice outfits for special occasions.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#20 of 21 Old 05-04-2006, 08:58 AM
 
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We have 5 people in 840 sq. ft....and only 1 closet in the master bedroom. We have a bunch of Rubbermaid containers stacked in there with our off-season clothes, but I'm going to be doing some more purging this weekend.
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#21 of 21 Old 05-04-2006, 09:08 AM
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My little girl's bedroom really needs some attention.

I am leaning heavily toward the Ikea closet system. Ikea also has a bed with drawers underneath.

Her bedroom is the smallest in the house and has no closet.

Old houses are so quirky.
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