My husband and I live in a small, one bedroom apartment which generally is enough space for us at this time in our lives and which we have enjoyed decorating. That being said, due to the size we are forced to multipurpose certain areas including our dining area which is also currently serving as a place for my husband to study (he is in nursing school) and to nurture his hobby of painting these amazing miniatures, which he clearly has a talent for.
These are necessary functions in our life and right now, the communal space of our dining area is the only option we have, but the mess that can accumulate from the multiple activities taking place in this space is often the bane of my existence. If the dining table isn’t covered in papers and books for studying, the miniature materials are escaping from the confines of their designated space. The table is almost never clear, and we are constantly shifting things around to make space to be able to eat together.
The before pictures below depict the space in one of it’s more unruly states but this is a common occurrence in our home. Starting from the left, the book shelf has become flooded with extra items from school projects, to painting projects, books and assignments; the items are a disheveled hodge podge. Paint bottles are everywhere and there is no good place for them to be both accessible and tidy. The top right picture shows how these materials are spilling out onto the table and bar stools. And finally the lower right picture shows how boxes cannot be contained to the corner and are creeping out into my lovely “dining room”.
As an organizer, I couldn’t have this and thankfully my husband consented to letting me sort and move items around to create a better system for this shared space. First, I started emptying the space and matching like items. There were a lot of small bits in random boxes that I could easily group together and consolidate. I was able to move a large storage box from the desk top to a shelf below which opened up the space on top of the desk for spreading out during painting projects. Next (and this is by far my favorite addition) I bought a clear wall rack for the paints. This actually wasn’t able to hold all of the paint but a good majority of it, and the rest of the paints are stored below the desk. This way, my husband can keep the paint he’s using on the rack and store away those he doesn’t need at the moment. The rack not only looks orderly, it makes for a nice colorful backspash to his work station.
I reworked the bookcase, and added some storage boxes, leaving room on the top shelves to display some of his finished work. And due to the consolidation of items, everything fit inside the desk/filing cabinet and in the corner without spilling out.
The table still needs to be used for studying, so I got a canvas storage tote that we can easily clear papers and books into and store below the table when it’s time to eat.
This project took a full afternoon to complete but I’m so happy with the result. I purchase just a few plastic storage bins, the magazine files for the book shelf and the paint rack; spending less than $80 in total. The paint rack was the most expensive item at $50, but it was well worth the cost. Now I can enjoy a clean and organized space and everything has a place for easy upkeep.
Much better right? If you have a small space that you could use some help organizing, I’m happy to help! Check out my Happy Spaces page for more information!