Monday, June 13, 2011

Small Space Living

My house tour was posted on Bloom a few months ago but I thought I would post it here as well, so you all have an idea of what our space looks like. 

I'm going to tell you how living in a 715 square foot, one bedroom apartment has worked for my family of three. I also have all sorts of tricks to help you organize your home, no matter the size.

This is the layout of our apartment, only in reverse. The kitchen and bath are on the opposite sides, as well as the living and bedroom, otherwise it is the same. Hopefully it will make it easier to visualize the space and that way you know exactly how big my rooms are.
This is our entryway. I found this vintage piece at the thrift store. My husband uses the drawer to store his pocket contents at the end of the day. It is very convenient since it is right by the door and having a designated place keeps him from putting stuff on the kitchen counters. Our most commonly worn shoes live in a bin inside the cupboard below. The rest of the shoes live in the closet in the bedroom.
As you look left you enter the kitchen. My favorite part of this kitchen is the open floorplan. I can see my two year old son playing in the living room while I cook dinner. Here are a few things I do to keep my kitchen clean and well functioning.
  • Before I start dinner, I fill my sink with hot soapy water. That way I can wash dishes as I go and after dinner clean up is minimal. I feel like this is huge when you kitchen is the first room people see when entering the house. If you're having guests, you don't want them to see a sink full of dishes right when they walk in.
  • Keep 5-6 garbage sacks in the bottom of the trash can so you can easily replace it. I store the large box of trash bags in the laundry area so it doesn't take up valuable under sink storage. 
  • Use one kitchen tool for multiple purposes. I use my cheese grater as a lemon zester and my muffin tins for cooking meatballs. The more you can multipurpose your items the less stuff you need. 
  • Counter space is valuable real estate. Even though I make my husband toast every morning, the toaster goes in the cabinet. If you start letting your counters get cluttered with appliances, it will trickle down to mail and other piles of stuff.

Right behind the door is our coat rack. The fact that I love it makes me want to avoid cluttering it up and it creates a designated place for our guests to put their coats.

From the kitchen you walk into the dining area. It is small but functional.We have a gorgeous table that didn't fit in the dining area of the apartment, but just wait, it is in another part of our house.
This is my creative zone. I use the cabinet on the left to hold sewing and craft supplies. My sewing machine lives under the desk but is always plugged in for easy access. I use the vintage suitcase to hold my current project so it is easy to get out and put away in a matter of seconds. I highly recommend creating an area where you can have quick access for creativity.
Here's the living room. This is a very busy place. It is where we store ALL of my son's toys, watch our very small TV, read and hang out. I avoided hanging anything on this wall to give the eyes a place to rest. It also feels more open and clean to me. The green bins in the TV console hold most of the toys. He has plenty of toys, they are just stored in bins with lids to make it easier for him to put them away himself without looking like a mess.
This is the other side of the living room. There is one more toy box behind the little chair by the window. The bookshelf in the corner holds board games and a few books. To make everything seem larger I avoid using rugs, coffee tables or having too much furniture on the floor. All of our furniture has legs to give the allure of more space. The magazine rack is actually a wine rack that I screwed onto the bookshelf. It is perfect for keeping magazines close but eliminates the need for another piece of furniture.
The cabinet next to the sink holds all of my husband's clothes that aren't hanging up. My clothes are on some shelves built next to the washer and dryer, on the other side of the bathroom. It is nice not having to have a dresser for our clothes.

This is the bedroom. You can access it from the bathroom or the living room, creating one large circle.  This is great for a little boy who needs space to run. We have some very creative storage ideas going on here. We have a large 6-8 person table that we really like and didn't want to get rid of. So, we used it as our headboard. One added bonus is that there is about 4 inches of storage behind it, so all of our unused picture frames and the table legs go there.
Our son's clothes go in this dresser. The cedar chest holds all sorts of stuff, our china, my son's too big clothes and a few other things that we use but not often enough to keep out.
I love my jewelery storage. The necklaces, rings and broaches go on this corkboard. The earrings go in the red jewelery case. It's easy to see what I have and I think it looks good.This is super easy to make!

 There is a walk in closet in the bedroom. This is where we store the rest of our clothes, shoes and Christmas decorations. The bedroom also has a storage closet that we use for all of our baby gear, clothes and accessories that we want to keep for our next kid. 

I think most people can get by with living in much smaller spaces than they are living in. It does take some time to figure out what works for the space you have, but you can definitely make it into a space you love. When we moved here 11 months ago, I got rid of everything I didn't absolutely love. It was so rewarding to donate so many things and I felt so free of clutter I didn't even like that much. Now, before taking anything into my home I must absolutely love it. It doesn't matter how much it costs, if it isn't worth taking up the valuable space in my home, I don't want it.

Do you have any organization tips to share?


happyfamily said...

I wish that you would come take over my home. And that your brain would take over my brain so I wouldn't bring in unnecessary stuff. It's so easy to do!

Katherine said...

I use the I-MUST-LOVE-it rule too. It truly works. Sometimes I put the "maybes" in a bag under my bed for three months. If I don't miss them, I've already lived without them, so out they go!

Mareeyah said...

This is VERY impressive! I too have to make do with a very small room at the moment, and that room is bedroom/office/craft room/dressing room/etc all in one. My stuff is all over the place. I really should follow your wonderful organizing techniques.

Dréa said...

Wow, your common areas are WAY bigger than ours, and so fancy! I wish we had that much space!


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