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
Could you put some of the toys in plastic totes and store them in the garage and rotate them occasionally? Could you board the puppy until you have more room? Soon winter clothes can be stored the same way as the toys. That many people in a one bedroom apartment, it will be really hard to keep everything organized because you only have so much storage and floor or wall space. I know this from experience, because about 9 years ago my developmentally disabled daughter and I had my oldest daughter and her 4 kids move in with us for about 6 weeks.
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)
There are a lot of suggestions here so I don't know if I'm repeating, but take advantage of the trunk of your car. Don't store anything too heavy there, as you car will burn more gas, but you can store lighter things like blankets, out of season clothes, etc. I spread out blankets and quilts between my mattress and box springs when it's too hot to use them. You could also store other cloth items there. If you live in an area that has a half-price book store, you can sell unused books. I downsized to apt living a few years ago so I know what you mean. It's a work in progress and it was hard getting rid of sentimental things but I had to do it. Good Luck. (04/22/2010)
I'd start first with the overload of toys. Tubs are necessary and all MUST be picked up except for what is being played with now. You can store the stuff you use in the same kinds of tubs with lids and label the outsides and just stack them. I don't know how old your children are but you and dad MUST have some privacy so I'd work out some kind of screen or curtain to give a bit of privacy in the bedroom. Most of us have lots more stuff than we need and this is a good time to pare down. (04/22/2010)
The kids could also sleep on the living room floor. (04/22/2010)
I learned from this site how to use plastic large trash containers to store things in, I store clothes in them. Some people will put table toppers on them, but I just use them as they are. You sit them next to each other. I also keep toys and such in them that are not being played with and switch them out regularly. I also go through things to put on freecycle.org in order to clear out the spaces that are not being uptimized. Hope this gives you some ideas! (04/22/2010)
By Robyn Fed
The ideas I've seen here are all good. I'd also say it's a good time to lighten your "stuff stash." FreeCycle.org can point you toward your local chapter if you want to give away. Or if you'd rather sell, there are several free ad sites. Kijiji is good, in my experience. Local consignment shops work, too. If there are items with sentimental value, do what you must to safeguard and store them.
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)
Think "Little House on the Prairie." How did they do it? Make use of every nook and cranny. Prioritize what is most important to you right now. For privacy and or "stuff covering" -- make some curtain panels.
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)
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