Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday:Tips For Organizing A Small Home

My house is cozy and cute...and small. Evidently in the 1950's, built-in storage wasn't a huge necessity either.:-)

Today I'm sharing a few organizing tips that work for me.

1)Limit the stuff. We've all heard it before-declutter, declutter, declutter! But it works. The less you have to store,the less room you need to store it in. What a great concept! For a while, I thought that if my organizing skills were better, I'd have more space for things. Now I'm realizing that I have to limit the cookbooks because I only have so much space on the shelves. My husband and I share a dresser for our clothes. The two closets in our house are teeny tiny and so is our bedroom. Using one dresser forces us to keep only the clothes we will wear. Decluttering is an ongoing process. Just when I think my house is decluttered and all unnecessary items have been purged, it seems that I find enough to load another Goodwill box! A small space with extra stuff looks a lot more cluttered than a larger room so it is helpful to keep belongings pared down.

2) Be reasonable. Know what you can realistically do in this season of life. If you have kids, there will be toys. The laundry will overflow some days. Some weeks, it may seem as though the kitchen was never cleaned! Life happens and it will be ok. Having a perfectly organized and clean house isn't the most important thing. It is important,however, that we continue to work at doing little tasks each day to help us stay on top of things in creating a sanctuary for our families.

3) Be intentional. Discipline yourself to do certain tasks each day. This takes time to learn and make it a habit but it is so rewarding as you see your home staying a bit neater and better organized. I try to sort and shred junk mail as soon as it gets here. It doesn't always happen but it sure keeps the paper clutter down to tackle it right away! My daily "home maintenance" routine includes running through the house and putting things away, emptying and refilling the dishwasher, a quick vacuum and sweep and just making sure the house is generally neat. Being intentional about keeping the little things done really helps to keep the house in good order.

4)Use multi-tasking pieces of furniture. We have an old dresser in the living room that serves as an end table as well as a linen closet. A row of three "put together" bookshelves looks great for the books as well as toy storage. We were given a very nice TV armoire that has built-in storage. It takes the same amount of floor space as our previous little TV stand-the armoire is just taller and contains a lot more storage! For awhile we used a yard sale wicker trunk for a coffee table which looked great and also held extra quilts. We don't have one but I really like the ottomans that have storage inside. There are so many creative options to create more storage and use less space!

5)Choose useful decorative items. This may be a personal preference but I love having useful items that also look great as decorations. It eliminates the need for lots of knick knacks and is less cluttery-looking. I have a few small serving plates that are pretty set on those little stand as decoration. Nice pottery bowls can be set out in the open. My collection of vases(which I enjoy using) are grouped together on top of the bookshelves. I store lots of things in cute baskets. The baskets look really nice and hide many things that I would otherwise have no room for. I keep my Bible study materials in a lidded wicker basket on the coffee table. Paper products are in an old picnic basket and extra throw blankets are rolled up in another large basket. I especially like square or rectangular baskets for the way they fit together on shelves. I have also covered boxes with fabric to make my own baskets when I didn't have any on hand.

6)Think outside the box. I already gave some ideas for using dressers as end tables and such. With a small space, you will often need to put things in unconventional places. I don't have a pantry but I do have a larger-than-average laundry room with room for a few shelves for food items. We have a free standing cupboard there too, that works for storing my baking pans, crock pot and other miscellaneous kitchen items. There is just not enough room in the kitchen! Extra canned foods can be stored under the beds. Our couch is across a corner in the living room and I store a few awkward items back there. My gift wrap box is stored under the bed. My gift box is in the closet. Hooks on the closet and bedroom doors provide a place for my purse and tote bags(some of which are storing other items!) A tablecloth over a small table gives space for telephone books in the dining room and Kleenex, light bulbs and extra cleaning supplies in the bedroom.

7) Be thankful for what you have! Be content with where God has you right now and resolve to use your creativity to make it the best that you know how. I am always changing things around and wondering why I hadn't thought of these possibilities earlier. I often tell my husband that as soon as I get everything how I like it, we will move! Then I'll have to start over.:-)

Please share your creative organizing and storage ideas with the rest of us!

For more creative and fun Works For Me Wednesday posts, please visit Rocks In My Dryer!


Jeni said...

What an encouraging post! We live in a small house too, and it was built in 1940, so closets were an afterthought. We need to pare down our possessions a bit more to make it work better, but we're getting there!

One thing I did that helped our closet situation - I hung utility shelves behind my daughter's bedroom door, and that became her closet. It's worked very well, and you can't even see it unless you go all the way into her room & close the door.

Munchkins and Music said...

Love this post! Good info! Thanks!

Anonymous said...
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gail said...

i read this post earlier, but came back to read it again. moving into this small apt i really needed to hear these encouraging words again. i have been decluttering but need to continue. i love that you share a dresser with your hubby. i'm going to be going thru my clothes again to pair down--i have way too many clothes i haven't worn in a long, long time.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Mary Ann,
This was a great post - some really good practical information, thank you!

I live in a smaller home too so I thank you for the great tips. :)