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Old 04-20-2007, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How small is too small?

I'm so frustrated AGAIN with my small house- and it's lack of storage and dumb layout.

It's super cute but the only storage is on the pony wall crawl spaces upstairs which are really dark and hard to get in and out of. There are NO closets downstairs at all.

btw- these pix where taken when the house was as clean as it can get. This usually lasts for about 5 minutes.

So- downstairs, you walk into the living room/dining area. No place to hang a jacket or anything- too many windows (which is nice for light).
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02736.jpg

The bathroom is on the right or the family room- there is a few cupboards in there, but there are shallow and weird- they dont hold much.
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02738.jpg

The kitchen has decent cabinets- but nothing really holds our food and we generally have to store things on top of the fridge (ugly and cluttery).
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02260.jpg

The kids room is probably 10 by 8- again, no closet. DS has a loft bed with the dresser that they share underneath. It's the biggest dresser we have, but still its hard to fit their stuff in it.

Upstairs is our room- we do have a small clothes closet. We keep our clothes in a credenze type cupboard thing and some of my stuff spills into the babys' dresser.

The storage areas are packed (loosely) with off season clothes and stuff we wish we could keep out, like our instruments, and my sewing stuff. I also keep my shoes in one of them.

I just feel like such a failure. Everyone talking about going smaller going smaller...but I feel like I'll never be able to et things to work. And you should SEE how much we;ve gotten rid of. I dont know how much more we can do right now. I'm a terribly disorganized person by nature and feel like this place requires SO much effort to keep livable.

There are 5 of us in here. Am I being a princess? I hope this makes sense.
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Old 04-20-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Carolyn,
I think that your house looks super cute! I can relate to your frustration with fitting 5 people (and a dog) in a small space. I remember from a previous post the good reasons why you chose that house. From the photos, your decluttering seems to be working. I think that it looks great. And with 3 kids, of course it's gonna be hard to keep tidy. I guess it comes down to either being able to live with the lack of storage, or further decluttering. Do you use everything in the house? Good luck... keep us posted.
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Old 04-20-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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Carolyn-now sit down and listen up. Not every person can live in a tiny house. You have 5 people in your family. Delights home is wonderful, but she couldn't live there with 2 more kids. And she has said in a couple of places they store some stuff with family. No you are not being a princess. A princess is someone who no matter what they have they always want better. You know, OH we could never live in only 2,000 square feet. You simply have no storage and not enough room. The only options are to add on to your house, drastically downsize your things, rent storage and put a ton of stuff there or move. You are not being a failure. There is a certain amount of space needed for X number of people. It would be like saying a family of 9 should be able to live in 600 square feet. NOT. Do you mind if I take a hard look at the pics and give you some advice??
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Old 04-20-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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In the kitchen behind the table where the blue and green walls meet? I'd buy a pie safe type cabinet and use it for extra food storage. Above your kitchen sink I'd put a shelf just above eye level. You could put things like vitamins, a mail basket, a fruit basket up there. Also there appears to be a lot of space between your upper and lower cabinets. I'd consider under the cabinet coffee maker and can opener (if you use an electric one). If possible I'd also consider a above the stove microwave. That would free up all the top of refrig for storage.
In the living room I gotta tell you that couch is huge. Maybe you could sell it and get a regular couch. Then get a trunk to use as a coffee table and store blankets and stuff in it. You might also consider wall mounted coats hooks on the wall next to the beautiful quilt.
In your bedroom have you considered the bed raisers that raise your bed an extra 6 inches so storage containers fit under them? OK that's enough from me. Other mommas will come along with some great ideas. Hang in there.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:24 AM
 
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what about adding a low cabinet under the window that has the ac in it, also under the green wall window could put a cabinet, or even a chest there and pull your table over and use the chest for a bench type seat

there is space between the ac window and the cabinet that you could hang small stuff, utensils/measureing stuff on, some sort of hooks in the wall or a pegboard, although pegboard isn't the way to go is you sqish everything in, can do more individual spacing with hangers/nails

good pot and pan storage

if you don't like the idea of under cabinet applieces, could use the area on the right hand side of sink beside the stove for coffee/tea cups, eye hooks maybe

the area where the blue green wall meets is wasted space, if not a hutch, how about a triangle/corner type cabinet either for dishes or food

either in addition or instead of the shelf mid window could do one up above

what about a shelf above the ac window to store stuff on?

if there are 5, and the only seating you have is the couch it's big, but you guys need to sit somewhere

I like the tv up high on the wall

we have a high shelf in the kitchen, like some people do the wall paper boarder up there, we added a shelf that goes the whole lenth, could use it for either 'pretty' things or storage

turn the quit sideways and it may give the apperace that the room is wider, also use the gained space above for shelves, books, toys, whatever

how about a tree coat rack as you enter the door, could be just the narrow sick kind?
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:38 AM
 
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I would take advantage of vertical wall space wherever you can. The kitchen could use a hanging basket or two, connected to the cabinets, or hanging from the ceiling. A buffet would be nice, with shelves above, even a corner-fittigng one. Ikea also has a great storage cube that could function as a coffee/writing/drawing/table and store toys.

keep the couch. Comfort is a big issue as well. You want a liveable space.
I am a big fan of shelving, and bookcases, and wall storage.

I think your place looks cute

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:40 AM
 
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I second all the good ideas and wanted to say that your house is beautiful-
It really is adorable and you're doing a good job.
I hope someday my house is half as cute and alive as that- as is, mine is soul sucking. Good luck!
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:56 AM
 
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This is so my department.
I have four kids and I am the queen of clean and organized.
I wish I could come over. I can tell just from the pictures why you are not happy.
I'm going to lay it on you and hope you survive.
First off, a small space can work. It just takes organization.
I have a small space and I go through our stuff ALL THE TIME and I thought I was on top of it. One day my sister came over and I was complaining about how long it took to do the housework. She told me I was swimming in nic-nacs. (Is that how you spell that lol?) Anyway, I was seriously offended. After she left I looked around and she was totally right. I was living with so much stuff that I had just gotten used to looking at. The less you have the cleaner your space is, and the cleaner the space, the cleaner the mind.
That said:
You have some serious clutter.
Most of it should go.
I know it sounds mean- but now my house is so easy to live in, so easy to clean, and it still looks cozy, It makes all the difference in the world.
Half of what we own, we don't need. Half of what we get rid of is only the icing on the cake of what should go.
I'd make it a fun project.
Even the stuff above the cupboards- take it down. Clean slate.
And by the way YOUR HOUSE IS CUTE.
You don't need to move at all.
This is just me: but counter tops should have NOTHING on them. Refridge, table, counters, etc....clean surfaces. Then add your lemons or were they oranges? to the center of the table, or keep just that on the counter.
Make that your mantra.
AFTER your counters are clean you can find things to put on them that add color and cozyness. Please excuse sp. I'm up late and can't spell.
I have a tiny kitchen and almost no cupboard space too. Plus we have mice, and ants, so storage is a huge issue for us too. We also have no closets in our house. Well we have two.
So again, purging is key.
I would only do the kitchen for now.
Keep your focus on one room.
Start with the teeny tiny counter top next to the stove and work your way to the left-clearing the counter. One box for things your selling, one for garbage and one for things to find a new home somewhere else. (kitchen or other room.)
Then move to the island-then to the tops of the cupboards, and then onto the kitchen table. Also do the inside of the cupboards. You may just find that if you really clean those you can find some storage space in there.
You have multiple kids sized chairs in your kitchen. Do you use those?
Once you have that tackled, you can rest, and think on the other rooms.
But you'll also be so inspired that it will become fun.
And you can plan a garage sale with all your purged items!
You have pony storage?! Then take a bunch of the things in your cupboards that you can't bear to part with, but don't use and put them there. If in 6 months you haven't died without them, then those can go too.
Now hop to it mama.
You'll feel so liberated.
See I can't stop lol....I went back to look at the kitchen and I think you should take the blinds down too. Give the windows a clean look.
(Your kitchen is a LOT like mine.)
I hope this helps you and dosen't hurt your feelings. I have a way of just taking these things over.
Also I don't think your living room is bad at all. You could use a smaller couch, but that's a pipe dream at our house. I do think if you get the heart of the home organized, the living room will start to seem nicer to you too. They will flow into one another nicely.
I did this professionally for a long time, so I think I know it all. Don't mind me.
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Old 04-20-2007, 10:12 AM
 
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Not sure if anyone else mentioned it, but a huge island would work in that space really well! You could use it for pantry space, dishes, have the barstools to sit at. It would give you more storage area.

Do you have one of those things that go over your toilet? Its like a tall stand will cupboards and shelves? Like this... http://denver.craigslist.org/fur/310245363.html

Do you have any space to mount a board to the wall next to the front door? You can make an awesome coat hanger out of a finished piece of 1x4 wood that has finished edges and 5 or 6 salvage hooks for cheap. (Or I have seen where people have taken old doorknobs, like the glass ones, and mounted them on a board for a coat hanger)

I loved the idea of raising the bed for storage. Check this out! http://www.ultimatebed.com/

Also, you can put a couple of shorter bookcases flanking the entry door when you walk in to give you an "entry" area and also another place to store things! (Also gives you some options for the back side of the bookcase on the dining room side, a big basket, a plant, etc.) Baskets lined up in a bookcase can collect all kinds of things you dont know where to put them. Especially nice next to the door cause you can put shoes on the bottom shelf and baskets for mittens, hats, etc. on another shelf. Plus you can have a place to keep bookbags and schoolwork right there by the door!
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Old 04-20-2007, 10:16 AM
 
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Oh! I just looked at the pics again. That window in the dining room, the space below it is at a perfect height to extand your bottom cabinets all the way across to the wall. You would gain a ton of storage, plus have a surface to have some herbs, or a plant. And it woul dnot interfere with the chairs at the table (You would need to pull the table out a bit)
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Old 04-20-2007, 10:20 AM
 
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Okay I really gotta stop looking or I am not going to get ANY work done today. I LOVE to reorganize and decorate!

How about something like this in the dining room http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=00866461000

There is storage in the benches.
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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i see you're fond of IKEA!!!! stay away!!!! it is easy to accumulate from that place since things seem like a good deal.....your place is cute!!! tell your husband to take off his clothes somewhere besides the kitchen!!! try to get rid of a dozen things a day for awhile.....lately i've been ruthless with stuff i've bought myself knick-knack wise.....it really doesn't carry any emotional weight if i've purchased it myself so out it goes!

thankfully, the weather will soon be warm enough to be outside all the time which will make everyone more sane.

your place is cute.

i've looked again. be RUTHLESS with the knickknacks.....trivets over the stove...goodbye.....i like your color scheme but perhaps a different color in the living room would make it larger in appearance.....any random meaningless pic on the wall...bye-bye. i don't see books but recently i've rid myself of almost all fiction and just kept the choice non....of course i work at a library so stuff's at my fingertips. limit your wardrobes! these are just things i'm doing lately.
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:36 AM
 
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Carolyn,

I know you've been at this for a while so it's good that new people are taking a look and offering ruthless advice. You and I are at the plateau of decluttering I think. We've done a lot, and there is more to do but we can't see it. Fresh eyes are needed.

I hope you aren't offended by anyone's ruthlessness. They all have good ideas. I should do a new round of photos and get more inspiration.

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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There is still work ahead, decluttering is always done in layers. Like an onion, you keep finding more things to declutter over time.

But look how far you've come and be proud.

Then, get ready for the next round.
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:18 PM
 
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But yeah, your house is super cute. I'd love a house like that. (Mine isn't much larger, it just doesn't have the charm yours has.)
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caeden&connersmom View Post
Okay I really gotta stop looking or I am not going to get ANY work done today. I LOVE to reorganize and decorate!

How about something like this in the dining room http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=00866461000

There is storage in the benches.
OMG I need one of those

My house is bigger (yes I'm lucky) but still small and I'm in the process of decluttering and re-organizing.

Our kitchen is small with a lot of wasted space so I'm looking for ways to make it work.
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Old 04-20-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly fire View Post
i see you're fond of IKEA!!!! stay away!!!! it is easy to accumulate from that place since things seem like a good deal.....your place is cute!!! tell your husband to take off his clothes somewhere besides the kitchen!!! try to get rid of a dozen things a day for awhile.....lately i've been ruthless with stuff i've bought myself knick-knack wise.....it really doesn't carry any emotional weight if i've purchased it myself so out it goes!

thankfully, the weather will soon be warm enough to be outside all the time which will make everyone more sane.

your place is cute.

i've looked again. be RUTHLESS with the knickknacks.....trivets over the stove...goodbye.....i like your color scheme but perhaps a different color in the living room would make it larger in appearance.....any random meaningless pic on the wall...bye-bye. i don't see books but recently i've rid myself of almost all fiction and just kept the choice non....of course i work at a library so stuff's at my fingertips. limit your wardrobes! these are just things i'm doing lately.

See, I'm gonna play devil's advocate here
I think an IKEA gorm storage unit by a door or laundry could help with those clothes. you can customize shelving and have a space for stuff.
I think knick-knacks make for a cozy place. If you REALLY love it, keep it.BUT, change according to season. Keep it rotating. In a year or two, you may move on to something cuter or better. I am all about organization, but a lived in place always seems cozier. Remember, YOU LIVE THERE. You will drive yourself absolutely bonkers in a small space if everything is hidden, cleaned up, put away, all the time. Make allowances for work-in-progress!
It helps me mentally, just knowing everything usually has a container home. Like, I may switch stuff around on different bookshelves, but everythign can be organized in its own right.

As for silly thigns cluttering counters, my aunts are the queen of this. SO, I only keep cute vases or art peices that are nice or mean alot to me. I probably could put them all away, but eveyone who comes over says how "cozy" it is, like so much is always going on I am in the process of gettign more organized all the time as well.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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well, the whole upgrading concept....it makes more sense...environmentally..economically to do without until you can afford what you really want....and you just might get lucky with garage sales or thrifting.....not much of what we've spent money on from IKEA is stuff i want in the long run.

i love cozy too, but it is a code word for small.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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i did n't have a chance to read all the pp's...but what about a small wardrobe-ish thing in the living room by the door? out of site is easy to keep things looking less cluttered for coats and raingear and stuff....just a thought.
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly fire View Post
well, the whole upgrading concept....it makes more sense...environmentally..economically to do without until you can afford what you really want....and you just might get lucky with garage sales or thrifting.....not much of what we've spent money on from IKEA is stuff i want in the long run.
That's the thing, you have to pick and choose. Soem stuff there is great, and worth it. And you can usually tell by the type of wood. Simple construction can also be an indicator of whether it will last. IKEA has some great shelving, and a few great storage box type peices.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow...so many great responses...thank guys!!!!!

Ok..I'll have to take some more pix and explain some of the spaces that frustrate me.

I'll be back in a while...
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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I just had to say I think your home is sooo cute!

* I second the bench under the window.
* Get your hubby to toss those clothes in the hamper!
* I put a coat hanger on the back of our door, can you do that?
* I love all your wall colors, I would maybe take down the quilt if you want a
cleaner/less cluttered look.


What is the size of your home?
Do you have pics of your rooms? We are building a 800sf home and I love looking at small spaces for ideas.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies yet ( I am going to read them) but just wanted to say...

It is much more difficult to keep a place picked up with three children than with one.

As the kids get older and BIGGER, a space that seemed sufficient before may start to feel a bit crowded.

Not everyone likes small spaces or is comfortable in them. And that is okay. I like small and cozy. My husband does NOT. He just has a different idea of how much space he needs and how much privacy he needs.

Our house right now is fairly big, but I have an 18 year old and a 12 year old...they both are wanting some privacy now and sometimes the house seems "small" because of the layout.

When they were younger, the house seemed really big. Does that make sense?

If you choose to stay and love your small space, maybe you could declutter some more. Maybe you could use some of the things you love as decorations, and so instead of storing them, they are displayed?

Good luck!

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am aware that I have a family legacy of discontentment. My mom NEVER feels her house is large enough or good enough- so we have always wanted to break that sort of thinking. But, we live in CA and this little house in an inexpensive mountain town was ALL we could afford.

I love this house, but my brain races with thoughts of more space. Will can add on but we have no $$ to do so, and I feel like we are not good candidates for that. We have an acre, but it's very sloped and I'd also love a property with more space and some flat places to garden and for the kids to ride bikes.

My friends- who are awesome and I trust their opinions believe that even a slightly bigger home would help us tremendously. They have helped me get this place in order so many times. They agree with me....there is just no place to put anything.

Dh will not budge on the issue. He feels moving would be subscribing to the kinds of "bigger is better" mentality my mom is stricken with and I see his point, but he is not home very much and he doenst have to constatnly deal with all the crap!!!!! I love his spirit, though. I think he also feel financialy trapped.

Ok, that all being said...here's a picture of my most frustrating area:
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC03218.jpg

Sure, if I had even the tiniest of foyers or even another foot of wall space, this area would rock. But...I dont. Argh!!! We hang our jackets in the stairwell.

As far as putting in a bench area around the kitchen table- that was our idea from the start. But the front window goes so low, the bench would have tobe above the window or we'd have to change the window.

Same with the upstairs window- it's huge and low to the ground- thats why we keep ourr bed on the floor. But thats ok- the bedroom works, actually. Its the reast of the house thats screwed.
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Old 04-20-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Good for you for being open to suggestions.

At your front door-- move the light switch to the other side, where there's no room for anything anyway. Build storage on the side where the switch is now, as high as you can go and wrapping under the window if you can. MAKE THIS SOMETHING WITH A DOOR because your family has lots of stuff and even when your house is neat it probably looks kind of, well, stuffed.

Kitchen-- Look at the cabinets that are open in the third pic. They're practically empty while all hell has broken loose on every flat surface. Figure out why this is happening. Do you need to make the cabinets easier to use (adjust shelves, maybe? Stick strange shaped stuff on top and use the closed door space for items that stack or nest?)?
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Old 04-21-2007, 01:14 AM
 
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I think you've received a lot of good ideas!

My two cents: I see a lot of areas where you could add shelving. Tall shelves, short shelves, standing, wall mounted, on and on. In the kitchen especially! You could do 2 short shelves under the windows and then a tall shelf/corner unit in the corner. That would help out tremendously!

Another thing to think about: hidden storage. Someone mentioned a trunk. You could use a trunk or hollow ottoman as a coffee table. You can stash all kinds of things in there. Also, your white end tables are cute, but if you could get something that had a cabinet you could stash stuff there too.

Even things like baskets can add extra storage and even look nice too. It looks like you have a pile of blankets on the back of the couch. Maybe find a large basket to put those in?

Another thought: go one room at a time and do a thorough cleaning first. I def. see plenty of things that "should" have a home such as dirty clothes, dishes, trash (coffee cup?). Maybe if you get rid of those things first you can get a better handle on the things that truly don't have a home and you can decide how to create a home for them....does that make sense?

I love reading your blog and think you guys are doing an awesome job. All in all, you guys are the only ones who can truly decide if living in this space is doable. I (and I think many others here) would just hate to see you move to a bigger space just to find out it's not really a space issue at all, ya know?

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Old 04-21-2007, 02:45 AM
 
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About your entryway:

I would take down the picture to the left of the door, and install a rack like this one as high as you can for all your coats and bags. You can still use the light switch, but it might be hidden unden the coats.

I would also take down the IKEA organizer below the photo. It looks like a catchall and seeing all the little objects in there makes it feel disorganized. I would also take down the small rack where you are currently hanging your bags, and maybe put it on the back of your door, below the window, for extra storage.

I would then put a small drawer unit or bedside table like this one below the coat rack. You can put keys and other small things in the little drawer, and put all your family's shoes in a basket (like this one) on the bottom shelf. You could have an inbox for mail on the middle shelf. I wouldn't put anything on the surface of the table, because it'll get knocked off when you take coats off the rack.

I would then keep the guitar on the other side of the door. My DH's bass takes up a ton of room, too, even on a stand: I feel your pain.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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Much of what I might say has already been said.....

one thing that sings out to me
I don't like the rug in the living room -- it's not a good size/shape/something for the couch. I feel like it hangs way out (of course I can't see much from here) and makes the room feel disconnected.



Another thing that strikes me -- the entryway could be its own area but the dining area flows into it. There's no visual differentiation there. a rug might help. I know, I know a rug in the dining area is nuts with kids.

Or maybe a low counter type object perpendicular to the doorway to help define some entry space?



I love your sense of color. Love the couch! Could you drop it off at my house next weekend, that's exactly the couch we're looking for for our new space.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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I don't have much to add to the excellent suggestions you've gotten already, but I wanted to say: you're not a princess. Please stop thinking that. You're working on solving a very frustrating problem within a really specific set of ideals, and that's tricky. It makes you the opposite of a princess, though.

Investing in storage - island, more cabinets, even bookshelves from Ikea to stretch the kitchen storage - seems like a really good first step.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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It looks/sounds like your kitchen's your biggest concern.

First, consider what can just go, if it's not in the house you don't have to find a place for it. I have to say I totally disagree with the suggestions to get rid of the trivets, they aren't in a space you'll be able to safely use for anything else and they look good.

Then, look at your existing storage and decide what would be perfect in each place. Dishes near the sink/dishwasher for instance so they're easier to put away. Pots near the stove, that sort of thing (incidentally, the hanging rack is terrific, but is going to automatically make you feel things are super-cluttered just because it's open storage. Recognize that and move on, or have a regular polishing-party with your kids.)

Then, when you've put everything away you can and there's no storage room left, figure out what you'll need to make homes for the stuff you've got left over.


My one specific suggestion is that you move the decorative things from the storage space above the cabinets. I know that magazines always show a plant or something up there, but it's really a waste of good space. If you've got a decent stepstool, I'd say go ahead and put things you use less than once a week up there.
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