It’s hard to believe it’s the end of another week. I don’t want summer to be over so soon and have to move back indoors most of the time again. Speaking of indoors, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make living in a smaller home easy and comfortable. When I showed friends and family the apartment I was moving into everyone shook their head in disbelief that I would be happy without a separate bedroom. The children were the funniest because they came to the situation with complete innocence and pointed out the “rooms” that were in this one space. There was the office, the living room, the bedroom and the kitchen. To them it made perfect sense, but maybe that’s because children are used to keeping their belongings in one space designated as their own, that being the bedroom.
No matter how many ideas you can come up with for storage options there is no way to fit a lifetime of belongings from a multi-bedroom family home into a studio apartment. We have become so accustomed to owning our belongings we don’t even realize they have taken over our lives and now own us. We have a real problem with stuff when a small store carries three different organizational magazines. You will have to part with things if you want to downsize your life.
That said, each of us are different and have interests which require the necessary tools for us to feel at home and happy. Where I have little desire to cook and bake another person may not only enjoy the process of creation in the kitchen but may even earn a bit of income from it. For me, I paint. I collect cans of paint which need to be stored some place. In case you are wondering, my paint and tools are stored in my kitchen cabinets rather than cookware. ;-)
If you love cooking consider a bench that gives you added storage. There are many different ways of adding a bench to your seating area. I’ve even seen benches made from kitchen cabinets laid on their sides where the door could be lifted up to access needed items.
If what you need is more pantry space, an inexpensive book case, or make your own with two by fours, on wheels can fit between a wall and the fridge.
Look for furniture that can pull double duty. I have a futon that has a slim design and takes up very little floor space yet makes the perfect overnight sleeper for guests. Even better is that I have baskets that slide under that store the children’s toys and craft supplies.
Keeping a few extra pillow cases I can cover a throw pillow for a guest rather than have to store bed pillows. Another idea for decorating with throw pillows is to have one set of pillows and make slip covers for them to change the look seasonally. It is much easier to store a few slip covers than several pillows
Look for height. Instead of several low cabinets get one thin, tall cabinet that can store many things in less square feet. Keep in mind horizontal storage takes up more room, go vertical.
This Ikea cabinet went through a few changes over the last two years. It started off storing dishes, food, books and extra blankets. Today it still stores most of those items but now also holds all my clothes. That’s a lot of storage in a small footprint.
There are other ways to maximize your storage. One I learned from my grandparents was to cut an opening in an interior wall cavity and add shelves. This works well for a medicine cabinet but also in the wall outside a small bathroom to function as a linen closet. Just about anything can be stored inside a wall cavity, there are tutorials for cutting and framing openings to store bathroom supplies, kitchen supplies and even big flat screen televisions.
There are many options out there if you think outside the box. To create storage under a bed look at purchasing bed risers, while most are plastic they can be found for as little as ten dollars for a set of four. If you are handy with tools you can make your own risers from wood to fit legs on any type of furnishing, raising it up to create extra storage.
Look at your windows, do you have a nice sized window ledge? If so you have another storage spot. I keep planter boxes in my window but neighbors use theirs to hold books, especially the college students who don’t have bookcases or the extra room for them. Don’t have a deep window ledge, consider adding a shelf along the window ledge to maximize its storage potential.
My suggestion? If you want to live in a smaller home, take a good hard look at what you have, consider what you are willing to part with to attain that lifestyle you desire. You could use your current home as a staging area by filling only a room or two with the belongings you want to keep and see how comfortable, or not, you are in that space. But forget the subscription to organizational magazines. My impression of them is that they are written for those who want to hold on to everything and don’t cover the issue of what you need to be happy.