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DH and I just downsized from a roomy 1400 sq ft townhouse w/yard and garage to a 600 sq ft apartment with street parking. It's totally worth it for the new location and new job, but yikes! We don't really have that much unnecessary stuff, but this apartment is about to bust apart at the seams and we don't even have everything unpacked yet. Let's just not even think about all the stuff that we both still have from our teenage years that is still living at our respective parents' houses.<br><br>
So I need some ideas to help me sort everything out because I'm about to go nuts. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I've been trying to find tips online/in magazines and stuff but it's like..."get an ottoman that doubles as storage." Well let me tell you, if I had room for an ottoman I would not be having these problems! We managed to fit all of our furniture from our old house in here, but there is literally no room for anything else to sit on the floor anywhere. I'm thinking we'll have to go vertical but I'm not sure how?<br><br>
We are talking about TTC soon and my DH is joking that if we have a baby we'll have to find a way to wall-mount it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
ETA: I'm not talking about what to do with the clutter, we don't have any clutter...we just literally don't have room for all of our necessary stuff like, say, the vacuum cleaner<br><br>
ETA again: would it be helpful if I took pictures?
 

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SO Needing pictures!<br><br>
Then I might have some suggestions!<br><br>
You are going to have be very organized and keep it clean (not saying you don't but, but small spaces seem to get dirty fast!) and you might think everything is nessacary, but there might be things that aren't!<br><br>
Get pics and we can help!
 

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Pictures might help!<br><br>
One option is to make one wall closed storage, like the IKEA Pax wardrobe system with doors and shelving. You can fit a TON of stuff in those. We're in 920 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a toddler, and clutter. Part of the plan is to install three sections of the Pax wardrobe in the livingroom to serve as a hall closet/shoes and jackets/launch pad space, a bookshelf/board games/media space, and a general stuff space for my exercise equipment, spare blankets, holiday decorations, medicines, cleaning supplies, etc.<br><br>
You could make a section into a home office, into a standard clothing wardrobe, etc., and close the doors when you're done so it looks very tidy even when it isn't. (I'm sure there is a more natural option to the Pax system, but I haven't found one!)<br><br>
And like ErikaLeigh, you'll probably find things you don't need in a smaller space, and less stuff really makes a difference in keeping organized!
 

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Yes, PLEASE take pictures! I lived in a tiny studio in Chicago for three years, so I have an idea of what you're going through.<br><br>
You might also take a look at the IKEA website for some ideas. Europeans generally live in smaller spaces than North Americans do, so a lot of their furniture is not so huge, plus they've got lots of great storage options.<br><br>
They have lots of pictures to give you ideas.
 

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Pics would definitely help! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Here are a few tips:<br><ul><li>Downsize your furniture in number and size. Keep only what is completely necesary for the amount of entertaining you do. In our smallest apt. we only had a futon and an Ikea chaise. We had other things that doubled as seating if necessary...a coffee table, a heater, kitchen chairs could be pulled out. One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to fit all of their big furniture from their big house into a small apartment. You may have to sell/get rid of it completely and search for pieces with a smaller footprint. IKEA is a good place to either purchase or get ideas. Couches that have space under them (i.e. more modern looking ones) are great to put baskets under.</li>
<li>Go vertical. Bookshelves can hold more than just books. Use them to hold photos, baskets of loose items, etc. Shelving above the fridge is great. Shelving anywhere is great.</li>
<li>Get smaller things. We ended up purchasing a smaller vacuum for our apartment. And a smaller trash can. Smaller everything.</li>
<li>Walk around and "challenge" every item in your apt. Why is it there? Would we miss it if it was gone? When was the last time we used this? Where is it's home?</li>
<li>Speaking of homes...everything must have one, or you will go berserko.</li>
<li>Get inspriation from other small apt. dwellers. Check out <a href="http://apartmenttherapy.com" target="_blank">Apartment Therapy</a>. Here are <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157600025082938/" target="_blank">some photos</a> of our most recent apt...which was nearly 1/2 the size of yours. It can be done! Hang in there...it just takes persistence.<br></li>
</ul>
Good luck!
 

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Hey, Delight, great to see you! Your apartments have all been so inspirational for small space livers. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
For even more Delight inspriations, look at her other adorably tiny, well decorated apartments:<br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157594309114341/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyja...7594309114341/</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157594536779330/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyja...7594536779330/</a><br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyjanssens/sets/72157594449182329/" target="_blank">http://www.flickr.com/photos/happyja...7594449182329/</a>
 

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Sarah, I just had to say I've spent a large chunk of this afternoon browsing your photos of your homes, and everything is just lovely. I love your sense of style, your use of color and light, and just the way your homes are orderly without being stifling, neat and yet still comfy to live in. It would put me in a permanent good mood to live in a home decorated by you.
 

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There are a variety of suggestions:<br><br>
Honestly its not easy.... I live by myself in 310 bachelor sq. ft.<br><br>
You might want to down size your furniture (look at thrift stores). Size and proportion must fit the apt. You can always paint it or re-cover it.<br><br>
You need to downsize, you are going to have to part with some of your things.<br><br>
Use every square inch with storage. Bookshelves, shelving, etc. and use Vertical, go to the ceiling.
 

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Hard to add anything to the other great suggestions, but I'd second the recommendation to get rid of some of your furniture to create some more floor space. Is there a wall that you can build some shelves into? Or more than one wall that you can build shelves into? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Adjustable shelves would be particularly good, so that you can customize them to storing individual items (eg. having a cubby especially for the vacuum, etc.)<br><br>
Also, definitely figure out where everything will live before you invest in storage supplies. A friend of mine who is a professional organizer told me once that the mistake she sees most people make is going out go buy a bunch of bins and containers and shelves without knowing exactly what they will be storing and where they will be storing it.<br><br>
Check out the Decluttering Challenge thread too... decluttering and organizing are sort of ongoing processes. It might take some time to get to your final destination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the suggestions so far guys! Here are some pics I took of the place (my family had been bugging me to take pictures anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">). I tried to caption them in a useful fashion. <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/ehawxhurst/NewApartment" target="_blank">http://picasaweb.google.com/ehawxhurst/NewApartment</a><br><br>
I don't think we have a lot of leeway as far as building things like built-in shelves go. Our landlord is a nice guy, but he just doesn't want us doing much more than painting the walls. Almost all of our furniture is already from Ikea, with the major exception being the bed. I think that if it hadn't been from Ikea, we never would have fit it all in here!<br><br>
We do have one big storage closet, but it has way too much stuff in it right now and we can hardly get into anything in it. The biggest problem is that we have 4 kitchen chairs, but only 2 would fit in the kitchen, so we have the other 2 nested in the closet. We also have some large coolers that take up way too much space but we need to keep them because DH has medication that needs to be kept cold when we travel and these are the only coolers we've found that actually do the job. We already are storing things inside the coolers.<br><br>
I guess from looking at the pictures we've done an ok job so far! I just know that it can be a lot better if we really work it - and then I won't feel like I have stuff falling on me everywhere!<br><br>
BTW, Delight, your little place is amazing!! Sometimes I wish I could just throw all my stuff away and start over so that I could end up with the sense of style and cohesiveness that you have. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Cute place <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I just flipped thru your photos and it looks so cozy even though you just moved in! Love the decorated ficus <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> The only suggestion I have at the moment is that one of your pics said that the cd rack would have cds on it soon...and it looked like the bookshelf next to it had a lot of cds dvds as well?<br>
If so maybe convince your partner to get a nice big cd binder and put them in that instead... there's one peice of furniture that wouldn't be taking up space! And if those *are* dvds.. well wallet them up as well! We just did this and it is amazing how much space we created to be put to better use by just ditching all the cases (which can actually damage the dvd/cd over time anyway by pressing them onto the spindle)
 

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If you feel you've decluttered as much as you can, and it still not all fitting, what about renting a small, inexpensive storage space for your seldom-used items like your extra kitchen chairs, suitcases, and seasonal stuff.<br><br>
I know I could get <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: for saying that on this board, but it may be the best solution if you just can't get rid of any more of your stuff.
 

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I love it!!<br><br>
If you can declutter do, otherwise I think it looks super cozy!
 

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The pictures look good, but I can see that there's a storage issue. How much seating do you need? Some random suggestions, most of which eliminate seating:<br><br>
- If you eliminated the loveseat, you could put the kitchen table, or a different smaller one, under that window, and a tall bookshelf on the wall where the loveseat's side table is. Then you could take the table out of the kitchen, which makes the kitchen much more flexible. And you'd probably be able to get the chairs for the table out of the closet. If you make the whole wall dining-themed, maybe you could store some of your dishware on the bookshelf, thus reducing the storage strain on the kitchen. Or you could get a shelf with doors, which would allow you to store anything you want there.<br><br>
- Once the table's out of the kitchen, you've got an interesting long piece of potential space on the window wall. If you imagine taking out _everything_ on that wall - the toaster cart, the wooden shelves, maybe even the tall black shelves - you could put in a freestanding counter type thing along that space, and have counter space! It would probably be higher than the bottom of the window, but that seems like an acceptable sacrifice. The wooden shelves could still be mounted above it. You could leave a space next to the counter thing for the dishwasher, or make the counter thing a little taller and roll the dishwasher under it, so you don't lose that space from the counter. The trash could also go under the counter thing. As an example, there's the console and wire shelves on this page from IKEA:<br><br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/rooms/kitchen/11836/" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/ca...kitchen/11836/</a><br><br>
- If you eliminated the plaid chair and the side table and CD rack next to it, you could put in another wall full of shelves, or possibly a desk-shelf area to get a desk out of the bedroom.<br><br>
Or maybe you could put the small dining table where the plaid chair is, and a pair of desks or a very long desklike table where the loveset is, and get both desks out of the bedroom. That would leave the bedroom walls where the desks are for other storage, and avoid any conflicts between desk use and sleeping.<br><br>
Crayfish
 

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Cute and Cozy..... reminds me of our first place when we just got married. I would think about getting rid of the loveseat and chair. Could a couch be enough seating? That way you could put your table and chairs in the living room which would open up your kitchen and when you have guests over you'ld already have chairs in the living room for them. Maybe get lifts for your bed so you could put more bigger storage totes under it. Also in one of your pics your dh was on a laptop on the couch.... you also had 2 desks in the bedroom w/ a computer for each..... so you guys have 2 computers and 1 laptop (I'm jealous <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">) but could you downsize to 1 computer w/ one desk and then the laptop that could be used at the table when desk space is needed? Other than that shelving, shelving, shelving, lol. Maybe put shelving along the top of the walls going around the living room to make a book shelf for those books seldom used but you want to keep, you could also put pictures and knick-knacks up there. Oh and I'ld sell the portable dishwasher on craiglist so I'ld have more room in the kitchen (but this is just me.... I haven't had a dishwasher in 8 years and have 4 kids! so maybe I don't know what I'ld be missing, lol)
 

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wow, that's one tiny kitchen!<br><br>
What helped me the most was getting smaller furniture. My kitchen table is a 2 person pub table.<br><br>
The only space that really jumped out at me was the bathroom. Have you thought of a shelving unit that goes over the toilet?
 

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Here are just a few thoughts:<br><br>
1. There is too many "big" pieces of furniture in the living room. I'd keep the love seat and arm chair and get rid of the sofa. Shift the love seat to the current position of the sofa and make a cozy sitting area.<br><br>
2. Move your eating table out of the kitchen and into the living room. You could make a small eating area where the love seat used to be.<br><br>
3. Utilize vertical spaces for shelving that goes almost all the way to the ceiling. Ikea makes a line called Billy that does this excellently. You can get doors for the bottoms so you can hide stuff.<br><br>
4. Replace your current coffee table with a steamer trunk so you can store things inside.<br><br>
5. Utilize the extra wall space in the kitchen with some more shelving units. Make sure you get them as tall as possible.<br><br>
6. I'd get some matching baskets for storing things on top of the cabinets and on top of the refrigerator; store like things together. It will look less haphazard.<br><br>
7. Boost your bed up by using risers that you can buy from BB&B for about $15. You'll gain so much more storage space that way.<br><br>
8. Replace those white ledges over your computer desks in the bedroom with something more usable like this:<br><a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10103494" target="_blank">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10103494</a><br>
It comes in black, would match the style of your room pretty well and will give you lots more storage. You could even install a small fluorescent light under the bottom most shelf.<br><br>
9. Def. an over the john cabinet thingy. You need more storage!<br><br>
10. Hang your husband's guitars on the wall. My BIL does that with his using these special hooky things. They look neat that way and will get them off the floor.
 

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In a former kitchen, I made my own shelf unit to fit in a space like the corner behind your sink. (1/2 by 4" boards from the home center)<br><br>
If you eliminate the end table, you will have room for a corner unit of some sort from Ikea. Go all the way to the ceiling with book shelves, and make sure you anchor them to the wall.<br><br>
I would also replace the faux ficus (or real ficus?) with storage - preferably with closed door storage to hide things.<br><br>
IKEA also has some kitchen storage furniture of various types. If you measure carefully, you may be able to grow a countertop, and have a fold-out type table instead of the current one.<br><br>
And tacky as they are, you are a candidate for an over the toilet storage shelf.<br><br>
When you have a baby, you will need to donate or send away all baby clothes and accessories as soon as they are outgrown. Otherwise these will take over!<br>
Good luck!
 

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I actually wasn't thinking of built in shelves. I was looking at the IKEA website this weekend, at the sofabeds. They had a video demonstrating a futon, and in the small apartment, there was one wall that was all bookshelves, some of the units having cabinet doors, instead of being open to the room.
 
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