By Betty from Lubbock, TX
Use a dinnerware organizer in your kitchen cabinets. These space savers can separate your plates from your bowls or coffee mugs and give you a place to keep them safe, without taking up a lot of room.
If you don't have a medicine cabinet or a closet then use baskets to keep your bathroom materials organized. Wash cloths can easily be rolled up and placed in a basket that you can either place on the floor, on the sink, or on the back of the toilet.
If you have a lot of shoes and nowhere to put them then a flat box, or one of those fabric shoe organizers, that can easily slide under the bed can be a great way to store your shoes and keep them organized so that when you need them you'll be able to find both feet.
Kids need lots of shelf space. For something a little different from a regular book shelf, consider using an old entertainment center. Take the door off (or not) and paint it a fun color. Use clear shoe boxes or other plastic tubs for loose toys, puzzles, stuffed animals, and balls.
If you have the tendency to kick off your shoes when you first walk in the door then place a large tote or bin near the door. As you and your family enter the apartment, take the shoes off and place them in the container. That way, you won't be searching around the house for them and they won't take up space in the middle of the floor.
A flat basket in the living room works well for a lot of things. It can hold magazines or pieces of mail that are important.
Anyone have an idea how to keep a small apartment organized? I have crafts everywhere, in containers, on the floor in Walmart bags, and I can't seem to keep it clean and up off the floor. Any suggestions please? I need this done by November (Thanksgiving).
By Kelly from Medina, OH
Art is a messy business if you don't actually have a space devoted just to it! I would suggest Rubbermaid tubs and shelving. If you can't afford a bunch of tubs, you could get boxes that paper comes in from an office. If you can't afford the shelving, just stack the tubs/boxes in an out of the way corner. Label the boxes so you know what you have stowed in each.
Shelving is a solution I have used many years, along with making furniture and other objects do "double-duty", since I also have a small living space. For example, use a decorative basket for storing craft supplies. There are ottomans that have a storage compartment, as well as furniture that has that same option, so blankets could be stored, perhaps leaving needed shelf space free for other things. Think "outside the box" for storage needs. In my kitchen, I have a large metal display rack for my pots and pans, since I have very little cupboard or counter space.
A spice rack can be mounted on the wall and used to store small craft supplies. A wire bicycle basket can be mounted on the wall to store larger items. A three tiered wire basket hanger can be used for things like yarn or fabrics, as well as other bulky items like pine cones, silk flowers, etc. I hope this helps a bit. I am re-configuring space in our home at the moment, and I have some space challenges too!
I bought bed risers (those plastic things that make your bed stand taller) and I store boxes of craft stuff under my bed. I use copy paper boxes from work, they are the perfect size and they are the same size. You do need to have a master list of what is in which box (label boxes "1", "2" or "A" "B" = Box 1: jewelry crafts, Box 2: knitting stuff, or Box A: Scrapbooking, etc.). It's not the best solution, in that it's not at your fingertips, but it's otherwise wasted space and you can have upwards of a dozen boxes under a bed. I have a bed skirt also, which hides the boxes.
I have a large apartment. The problem is it is over cluttered, mostly with clothes. I want to declutter the whole apartment from top to bottom. Most of the things are brand new items from birthdays and Christmas. Any suggestions on how to start? I am overwhelmed as to where to put anything.
By Linda from Fall River, MA
I agree with drmeidl: flylady.net
One of her biggest rules might serve you well, 15 minutes of work at a time, then rest for 15 and then go back to work for 15...repeat as much as necessary! Use a timer. She also breaks down the home into zones. You work in one zone each week of the month. Another "rule" of hers that I have been repeating to myself a lot lately is that "you cannot organize clutter", you must get rid of it! I see this post is almost a year old so hopefully you already found something that worked for you!
Picture a one-bedroom apartment, three dogs, one husband, and a frazzled newlywed wife. We have a lot of stuff that we stuffed into our apartment, and I need advice on how to organize, simplify, and decorate.
We know and have things in our colors (red, olive, and yellow-gold), but we also have two dog kennels, two tall bookcases, lots of books, speakers, and wire stuff, baskets, lamps, childhood memory toys, candles, vases, and until recently three loveseats and a couch. (Now we just have one loveseat and a couch.)
I can paint if I want, but I don't know that a newly colored wall will help. Any advice on where to start? (A bigger place is a great idea, but not possible right now.)
Olivia, a recovering pack rat.
As for the dogs, not much room to run in an apartment, is there. Either give them to someone who has space and time for them or move to the country. Actually moving to the wide open spaces might solve all of the problems. Good luck. (10/01/2005)
Maybe you could get by with 2 small speakers mounted high on a wall and donating the rest to a local, struggling theatre group.
If those dog kennels are the portable kind, turn them into a table by putting a piece of plywood on top and covering the whole schebang with a pretty cloth. If the dogs don't use them much, then viola. You have extra storage in them as well.
Give those books to a rural school that is in dire straits for money and their library hasn't seen a new book in years, nursing homes, and homes for the differently abled would appreciate them as well.
As you probably don't play with the toys anymore, keep one or two favorites, take pics of the rest for a memory album and give them to someone who will love them as much as you did. Toys just hate to be forgotten.
For your walls maybe this will work, get a big flat sheet, a print you like or tie dye it. Soak it in a very heavy starch mixture. Wring it out some, then put it on the wall while it is still damp. The starch will make it stay up and you can redecorate on a whim.
One more thing, its amazing how much you don't need. Your life will become much less cluttered, providing you with more time for your pets and hubby when you break the hold material things have on you. Good luck. (10/01/2005)
By Rawiya Storyteller
The dining room is the library with shelves to the ceiling and a nice big table when you're not eating. In a one bedroom or small dining area place, use a round table. No bar stools. Get upholstered chairs or loveseats only, no full sofas. For example, two or three loveseats, six chairs, and a round coffee table. Remember the desk is the dining table. Computer table stands alone and is very small or folds closed until you have a dedicated room.
Linens go in the room where they're used. Use the linen closet to store other things. Underbed boxes. Closet shelves use labeled boxes.
In the kitchen, keep only those things you actually use. Wire basket separators for flatware and utensils. Line drawers with rubber slip-proof material. Use lid rack in cabinets for pots/pans lids. Store less-often used things higher up, covered with flour-sack dish towel (K-Mart, the only kind to use).
Keep cleaning tools, mops/vacuums, in front/coat closet.
Keep bath supplies, soap, dental, cleaning, tissue, tampons, and towels in each bath under counter or in gorgeously-patterned large gift bag.
Start by making any architectural changes. Build or buy what you need like shelves, drawers, and doors. Put everything in the center of the room. Now put away what you like and need the most neatly. When the room looks the way you like it, stop. Throw or give away the rest. (10/01/2005)
By the Oracle
By Fran Marie
By Kathy K.
When you get tired of going to the shed or paying out the shed bill every month (which, after all, really is cheaper than a shrink), start cleaning out the shed. You may only bring things back after there is a sensible place to store it in your apartment.
Now hear this: If you plan to have children, this is nothing compared to the mess you collect with them. So if you two children can't control your own mess, however will you control the mess of those darling little angels?
When you are cleaning out the house after they've gone to college, you will fondly remember me and what I have said today. If you don't believe me, there are up to four people who will vouch for me: your parents. Call them. I dare you. They'll think you're so cute and funny. (09/05/2006)
By the Oracle
The garage can be a getaway. I suggest mounting a lot of shelves on the walls in the apartment and or garage or getting free standing shelves. I know you love your pets dearly, but in the case of a small space and a lot of pets, could one or all maybe stay with someone you trust? A person with a house and a fenced in yard? You can buy their food and vet care. They can be a play mate for a friend or family member till you get another place. If you have stuff in the garage you discover you don't need, sell it on craigslist and make a little cash.
My old roommate was a home owner and wanted to hang on to everythin, even and old fridge. He stored it for 5 years till he got another house again. I guess if you love your stuff you will store it. I would store stuff that is worth a lot, like couches, a kitchen table and chairs, and child hood possessions are a must to keep. I definitely think storing possessions and not getting rid of them is a wise idea. This way when you buy a larger place you wont have to buy all new furniture to fill it. (03/20/2009)
I need some good tips for organizing. My husband, myself, our 2 kids, and our 14 week old puppy are currently living in my in-law's apartment attached to their garage. Needless to say, it's only one bedroom and that's where all 4 of us sleep. We are cramped with toys, mostly. Any suggestions? Please help.
By K. Sowders
That daughter slept on my couch and three of her kids slept on the living room floor. The youngest slept in a playpen in my daughter's bedroom. Nobody could sleep in my room with me, because my alarm clock was set for 5AM so I could get up and get ready for work. I was nasty during this period of time, I watched TV as late as I wanted, turned lights on in the kitchen which shone into the living room. I could have been more considerate, but my daughter got herself into that predicament and I didn't want them to get too comfortable in my two bedroom apartment.
I had blankets, etc. shoved into a corner, toys all over the place, no help with food or expenses, no privacy, no help with cleaning or cooking, so my piece of mind came from being rude and cranky. Lol. (04/22/2010)
By Robyn Fed
For sleeping arrangements, please try finding alternatives to having the kids sleeping in your room. Walmart has decent air mattresses that aren't too expensive, or futons are available almost everywhere. Air mattresses can be deflated and stored in a closet or anywhere. Futons can be folded into other furniture, depending on the size.
The large garbage cans with "table toppers" could be workable, depending on just how small a place you're talking about. Large storage tubs are also a great idea, but don't forget your place has 3 dimensions. A large fishing net hung in a corner of the room with s-hooks can make an attractive, out-of-the-way storage area for a variety of items.
Use your imagination, and have fun. :D (04/23/2010)
Screw plant hanging hooks into the ceiling, then place those inexpensive round curtain rods you can find at Walmart or Lowe's ( 1/2" round) onto the hooks. Slide your homemade or store bought curtain panels over the curtain rods and place on hooks for ceiling to floor privacy panel. (Resewing sheets into curtain panels is popular.) Just make sure you use a material that will compliment and not look like a sheet and end up feeling cheap. You want it to feel homey and cozy when you get done.
You can separate areas this way. You can have a pantry wall ceiling to floor that is covered with panels. You can have a toy corner covered by a panel. Make your furniture do double duty. There is storage under beds, sofa, coffee/end tables. Make use of the space all the way to the ceiling. Build shelves.
Be flexible during this time. Get rid of stuff that is more in the way than a blessing right now. Having a cozy, warm, inviting, smooth running, efficient home no matter the size is more important than toys. Having each other and being happy and content is more important than toys. (04/27/2010)