Crafting Corner – Organizing for Small Spaces

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.

Warhammer Minis-small

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”.

Painting Station Before - small

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.

Painting Station After - Small

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.

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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!

Maximize Organization for Your Small Bathroom

Bathroom Organizing

Just because your bathroom is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be perfectly organized and functional. The key to any organizing project is identifying the space available and using it to it’s full potential. Three sneaky spaces you shouldn’t over look when trying to get the most out of your small bathroom are:

  1. Above the toilet – this is the perfect space for a small cabinet, hanging shelves or an over toilet standing shelf.
  2. Under the sink – this space can easily become over run with junk stuffed away out of sight. Organizing under the sink with containers, dividers, and baskets will help keep everything in it’s place, easy to find, and wont leave you with the dangers of falling items every time you open the cabinet doors.
  3. Behind the door – this area can be overlooked because we often don’t even look behind the door unless it’s closed. You can use hooks or hanging bars here for towels and robes!

Bonus: Use containers for all your small items like Q-Tips, bobby pins, hair ties, etc. These will easily fit inside the drawers, under the sink or in your storage above the toilet and will both decrease clutter and save you time when searching for what you need!

Here are a few of my favorites from the container store: Under the sink mesh drawers, acrylic canisters, style station (counter top, or under the sink).

Organize Your Junk Drawer in 6 Easy Steps

Organize Your Junk Drawer In 6 Easy Steps

The dreaded junk drawer. Everyone has one, mine isn’t even a drawer it’s a Rubbermaid that I keep on the top of my refrigerator that I call my “crap box”. These are necessary evils in the effort toward keeping a clean and tidy living space. But sometimes the junk drawer becomes so full and overwhelming it completely loses it’s ability to be a useful addition to your organized home or office. Here are 6 easy steps to organizing your junk drawer and regaining the function behind it.

1. Start with a clean slate. It’s easier to not include something back into a clean space than to try to maneuver around all that junk. Empty the drawer completely before attempting to organize it.

2. Throw away any unused or unnecessary items. In particular paper items tend to clog up  the junk drawer causing frustration as they fall out every time you open it. If you’re handing on to coupons that expired six months ago, toss them out!

3. Line the drawer with festive paper. Use contact paper or craft paper to line the bottom of the drawer. This is an optional design tip that will help you want to keep your drawer in order so you can enjoy the pop of pattern or color every time you open it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Buy inexpensive organizing trays, or craft your own if you’re looking for a fun DIY project. Here are some good ones I found on Pinterest! Plus if you use clear organizing trays you’ll be able to see your fun drawer lining from step 3. To maximize your organization, double up with stack-able containers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Group related items. Now that your drawer is clean, decorated, and your organizational containers are in place. Group items that should be put back in to the drawer with related items. For example, office supplies like rubber bands, tacks, and pens; or beauty supplies like nail clippers, filing boards and bobby pins.

6. Consider using containers with lids to keep small loose items together. You can label the containers so you can easily find what you are looking for. I love an excuse to label something!

Once your drawer is organized the best way to keep it that way is to do regular check ins. It’s likely to accumulate more “junk” once it’s cleaned out so revisit the drawer once every month or two and follow these 6 steps to keep your junk drawer in order!

The Power of Tidying

papers-262731_1280It’s nothing ground breaking, you’ve probably read 100 times on Pinterest and other organizing blogs that the key to keeping your home clutter free is tidying, and it is completely true. This is the number one thing I recommend for staying organized. Some people swear by a 10 minute power tidy, others say a pre-bed time tidy is the way to go. It really doesn’t matter when or for how long, the key is doing it.

Much of the time we spend cleaning, whether at home or at the office, is putting things away. Personally, I like to put things away as I’m finished with them, for example, washing prep dishes while the dinner is cooking, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible. Here are my top 2 tidy tips to help you build a habit for tidying:

1. Leave a clean work space – throughout the work day my desk fills with papers, to-do lists, notes, magazine articles, etc. When the end of the day rolls around, it would be easy to get up and leave these things cluttering my work space but we all know coming in to a mess the next day isn’t how we like to start a day. I take less than 5 minutes at the end of each work day to tidy up my desk. Even if it’s just stacking the items into a neat pile to sort through the next day, leaving a clean and clutter free space makes for a more pleasant and productive return.

2. Everything has a place – There are a few important items that we never want to lose, keys, cell phone, purse/wallet. These are things that we always have when we leave the house and if we misplace them, stress and tardiness ensue. For these high priority items, choose a home base for each and before bed each night make sure they are in their homes and easy to find the next morning. I have a key rack by the front door and any time I enter the house I put my keys there. This way I’m never searching for my keys. I also make sure that my laptop is in it’s bag next to my purse before I go to bed so I don’t waste time with it in the morning, or worse forget to grab it on  my way out.

I typically do my tidying at night so that I have less to deal with in the morning but anytime of day will do depending on your own personal schedule and what works best for you. Adding a tidying habit to your life, will help reduce the stress of searching for lost items and keep your home and office clutter free!