Small spaces can sometimes pose large challenges. Between the lack of wall space, the minimal cabinetry, and the reduced area for piles and stacks, there is an increased need to be smart about the space you do have. With some creative thinking and a touch of craftiness it is easier than ever to clean up our dirty little secrets.
First things first, it is important to realize that small spaces get messier and more disorganized much faster and in more chaotic ways than a larger space. In fact, the rate of messiness is probably proportional to the actual square footage of the space. Perhaps it can be explained with the equation J² + C³ ÷ Xft² = messiness where J=junk and C=chaos. The solution to this numeric nightmare can be as simple as a strategically hung ‘i’ hook or a well placed basket.
PURGE LIKE IT’S YOUR JOB
Quite often it isn’t the small home that is the problem. Rather it is the collection of too much stuff. Since moving into a small home I have found that our rooms are actually larger than we need. The reason they sometimes feel cramped is because we have gone though a period of quasi-hoarding. Whether it be books and magazine on my part or dollar story toys and crafts in my daughters space, we are experts at filling it up. Yes. It is sometimes hard to let go. That small, still, voice inside loves to throw out the question, “Well, what if I need it sometime?” We have to move past that though. No one needs a check stub book from a time when John Cougar was singing sans the Mellencamp (let alone without using the Cougar).
Talk about freeing. Getting rid of clutter is liberation manifest. Once you’re done there is this amazing feeling of accomplishment. It might also be noted that when we do declutter, we are ruthless!
After completing our small office/home office renovation, we gathered up all of our office supplies, paper documents, computer gadgets, etc. and laid them out on display. From that assortment we ridded ourselves of 4 pairs of white, Apple earbuds that had never been used, a pair of scalloping scissors that had never touched paper but were there in case we ever decided to do a scrapbook page, and even a hole punch for the paper we never bothered to put in a binder. The earbuds went to a local school, the scissors went to the library to be given to their scrapbooking class, and the hole punch went to my mom who does file things away in binders! Needless to say, since that purge we haven’t once wondered where our buds were or had an overwhelming desire to scallop the edge of a leopard print piece of paper.
We do get asked what we do with our stuff when we do purge. Most folks can’t believe we have anything to get rid of anyway. Oftentimes we will round things up for the children’s consignment store (our daughter outgrows clothes faster than she can wear them out). We pass on computers and digital gear to family members and friends we know can use them or want them.
The moral of the story is that the best way to keep a small home organized is to get rid of the clutter and to purge like it’s your job!
MAXIMIZE CLOSET SPACE
Our home has two closets. Both are located in bedrooms. That said, they also serve as linen closets, mild storage areas, and sometimes, catch-alls. Making sure that we organize them well is hugely important. To achieve this we’ve installed closet organizing systems that allow for hanging clothes of various sizes, shelving for boxes and baskets, and vertical hangers for shoes, underwear, and even t-shirts. We try to use all the space in all four directions. Especially don’t forget the space under the hanging clothes. It is a great area for a toy box, a small dresser, shoe storage, or even craft crates!
USE SPACE CREATIVELY
We purchased our small house understanding it had less than 900 sq.ft. of heated/cool room. It boasted a storage area that was part garage/part lean-to/part….something space but with a dirt floor, etc. Within just a couple of weeks we were able to imagine that same space getting a little renovation and becoming a homeschool area, a guest room, a pantry, and maybe more! Just because a space is labeled a certain something doesn’t mean it has to remain that. Function can be determined by need.
And to think that these are just three ideas to maximizing your small home. There are so many more. What are some ways you are making the most of your small house life? Share your ideas in the comments.
It’s true. Living in a small space can sometimes be a challenge. It isn’t impossible though. When we purge, organize, get creative, and make conscious choices, the experience can be the biggest adventure of our life!