Making the Most of Small Spaces

Small-Living-SpaceYou’re crowded, cramped, always tripping over your things or other people, and feel like you have to navigate a maze to get from the living room to the bathroom. Sometimes it can feel like a cave. Whether you are living in a small house, tiny apartment or dorm room, or are just stuck with too many people for the home you have, living without enough space can be challenging and frustrating.

You have two options here: complain about it, or tackle the problem head on and fix it. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your small space.

Cut the Clutter
The first step you should take is to get rid of clutter. Having too many things trying to fit in a small space will make it feel even smaller. Ask yourself what you can live without. Are all those thingamabobs and doohickeys essential to your happiness? Do you really need those sweaters you haven’t worn since middle school, or the cappuccino-maker that hasn’t been turned on in 3 years?

This is not the time to be softhearted or sentimental. If an item actually does have sentiment to it, by all means keep it. However, if you are creating sentiment where there is none, then be ruthless and toss it. If you can’t bear to throw it away, then give it to charity, recycle it, or have a yard sale and earn a few bucks.

Getting rid of clutter will make the room feel more open and less cramped. After doing that, it is much easier to follow the remaining steps.

Double-duty Furniture
Make your space multitask. You have more than one thing to do a day don’t you? So why not make your furniture do more than one thing, too!

Grab an ottoman with storage inside that you can also use for extra seating. Use an open bookshelf as a room divider, or invest in a futon to use as a couch during the day and a bed during the night. Instead of just putting a table under the window, use a trunk or chest that can double for storage and a window seat.

Another way to use furniture to its full potential is to have a way for it to disappear when not in use. Beds that fold into the wall, chairs that store inside each other or small tables with drop leaves for that dinner party you are having, but that can then be dropped once again to create more room.

Creative Storage
There are places for storage everywhere; you just have to look harder for some than others. There are of course the more obvious closets and under-the-bed areas that work great for storage. But simple additions, like a spice rack to the inside of the cupboard door, a shoe racks on your closet doors or a turn table to awkward spaces can bring so much more space to your home.

Instead of having the awkward space between the cupboards and ceiling just gathering dust, add more cupboards or more shelving. Add shelving above the toilet that goes up to the celling to make use of wall space, and put double rods in closets for twice the hanging space.

Check for dark nooks and crannies that you can use. You may have to be inventive with the spaces available, but you can make them work. If you have an unused wall—and it’s allowed in your lease if you’re renting—take off the sheetrock, refinish the wall, and create in-wall shelving. These are especially handy behind open doors and other places that would otherwise be unusable.

Downsize Furniture
Huge furniture in a tiny room will only dwarf the room and make you feel even more cramped than you already are. Choose furniture that fits the scale of the room. Instead of one large coffee table, choose two smaller end tables. Instead of one big sofa, try a loveseat and a chair or two. Pick a flat screen TV if you can to save space. If you hang it on the wall instead of placing it in an entertainment center, it will open up even more floor space.

Pick a bed with a small headboard, as that can make the bedroom seem smaller, or have a headboard that doubles as shelving. If you go for the shelving option, you can even consider getting rid of your dresser to open up space. In your kitchen, pick small scale appliances—there are some fridges that take up no more floor space than the cupboards—and compact countertop appliances. If you can find appliances that serve more than one function, that’s even better.

Fool the Eye
There are ways to trick your eyes into thinking a space is bigger than it is. Glass is your friend with small spaces; a table with a glass top will blend into its surroundings and keep the eye moving. Mirrors and light-colored paint on the walls will reflect more light and create a bigger-looking space. Neutral and monochromatic furniture, floors, drapes, and walls also make space look larger, and you can include a pop of color with small accents to create focal points.

This might sound bland and boring, but will not only make the room seem larger, but will also camouflage odd angles or other oddities in the room. It will also make it easier to create seasonal changes, like dark orange throw pillows in the fall to red and green for Christmas. Just have fun with accents, textures, and wall art to let your personality shine through.

Follow these tips and watch as your space transforms from a cramped, crowded, cave to an open oasis for all who visit.

Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors and sharing her experiences with others through writing, which includes anything from Vancouver plumbers to local photographers.

 

5 Easy Ways to Get Organized at Home

Beverly-Hills-Polo-Club-StorageBeing organized for some people is easier said than done. Many of us have days where we take the time to clean and organize our home to perfection. Fast forward a week or two later and we are back at square one. So how can you crack the organization code and keep your clutter at bay? Check out these five easy ways to get organized.

Find Multiple Uses for Everyday Items
Organizing can be expensive if you start buying a ton of containers and other organizing must-haves. This doesn’t have to be the case. Have some empty jewelry boxes you’re about to throw out? Instead, paperclip the boxes together and make handy drawer organizers for pens, pencils and other miscellaneous items.

Shower hooks are also a great way to hang your hand-bags in your closet. This allows you to keep your purses at eye-level and gets them off the floor. A win, win. Real Simple had the genius idea of using an old tissue box as a plastic bag dispenser—who would have thought?!?

Think Togetherness
The bathroom is a great example of how things can get messy fast. Women have tons of make-up products, hair products and let’s not forget all the lotion. Instead of having everything thrown on top of the vanity, start by grouping like products together. Once you know what items go with what it’s time to contain the clutter with a basket, box or other bathroom storage device. You’ll be surprised how much more room you’ll get by doing this.

Bring it to the Kitchen
Do you use wire shelving in other areas of your home? Why not incorporate some shelving inside your refrigerator? TidyMom has some other great ideas for your fridge–you can check them out here. Other shelving ideas work wonders in the kitchen. Organize your never ending spice collection with some shelves inside your cabinet door. This frees up countertop space and precious shelving inside your cabinets.

When in Doubt Go Vertical
Shelves are great for numerous reasons. They can add style to a room, bring more storage to small areas and in some instances both. If you are running short on space, think about how you can store items on a shelf. Not a fan of showcasing clutter? There are creative ways around this. If you have a bookcase that has more than books on it—hang a curtain over it. This adds color to the room and hides your items you don’t want on display.

Everything Needs a Place
This is the most important part of organizing. If you don’t have a place for something—find one. Make sure everyone in the family understands where things go and stick to the rules. This might be a big change for your family so become a stickler for the rules at first. After a couple weeks, your new organization schedule will become routine and no one will think twice.

Organizing takes time and dedication. There will be bumps in the road, but eventually it will become second nature. Studies have shown clutter can increase stress, anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. Taking the right steps to a clutter free home can drastically decrease all of these symptoms. Setbacks may happen, but that’s ok. Eventually you’ll have a great looking home that reduces stress at the same time.

Do you have some great organizing tips we missed? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.

It’s Official–One More Month Until Spring Begins. Are You Ready?

spring-blossomsIt might not seem like it now, but spring is just around the corner. Soon we will be replacing our snow boots for stylish sandals. From spring cleaning to planning your perfect garden, springtime is a fun and exciting time for us all. Are you ready for the weather to break? Make sure you have the following tasks on your springtime to-do list this year.

Donate  Used Clothes
When transitioning from your winter to spring wardrobe take a closer look at the items you actually wore this winter. Did you really wear that sweater? How about that scarf—how often did you really use it? Taking a critical eye to the items you hardly wore is a great way to get rid of clothes you just don’t need. Instead of them taking up space in your closet, donate them to your local Goodwill or other local charity.

April Showers Bring May Flowers
Do you have a green thumb? Planning for your garden now can save time and allow you to find the perfect garden accessories come spring. Whether it is a new fountain, or a cute birdbath, garden accessories can add some personality to those beautiful flowers you plant.

Organize, Organize, Organize
Nothing can add stress to your busy schedule like coming home to a disheveled mess. Some days that is just unavoidable. However, organizing can help in the long run. Our fun animal print storage units add character to a room while achieving your organizational goals. Running out of space in your kid’s room? Utilize the walls. Shelves are a great way to organize and can save on your square footage.

Pamper Yourself
We’ve survived all that old man winter has thrown at us this year, and can now focus on the warmer weather waiting for us. We all could use a little pampering every now and then, so why not focus an hour or more on you this spring? You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a spa day, when you could have our spa tub mat. Sometimes a nice relaxing bath can do wonders.

It’s Tool Time!
Anyone else remember the TV show Home Improvement? Well, hopefully you have better DIY skills than Tim Taylor. but whatever your skill set, home improvement projects are a great idea for spring. The weather is finally warming up so you don’t have to battle the cold while starting your new project. If you are the do-it-yourselfer check out our peel and press Berber carpet tiles. They are great for basements and playrooms.

As we count down the final 30 days of winter, let’s all try and focus on the great weather and activities that lie ahead. Do you have some great spring plans? Let us know how you are getting ready for spring in the comments below.

Image Credit: Fairygodmotherinc.com