Adding shelves to some of your most used storage spaces will transform your life. This is not an exaggeration.
This is a tip in three parts. First up, your clothes closet.
It’s a shame that the default clothes closet comes with a single bar for hanging clothes and a single shelf above that. That top shelf is too high for me to use without a step stool and I have more clothes that should be folded than hung. It’s a much better use of space if your clothes closet also contains a vertical column of shelves for all of your folded clothes – jeans, sweaters, more sweaters, etc.
For a quick and cheap solution (good for rentals) try a set of hanging shelves, which attach to that single high bar in your closet. This has been my solution for the past several years. Another good option is a tall, skinny set of shelves. A single Billy bookcase or a skinny Expedit (hurry before they disappear from your Ikea!) might work, depending on the size of your closet. Try these vertical or horizontal – if you’re okay with having your clothes close to the ground.
Another option is to install some shelves. There are (obviously) expensive solutions, custom designed closets and whatnot, but I’ve also seen some more affordable options at home improvement stores – Closet Maid is one such an example. Here and here are some examples.
Our kitchen is small. (I mean, our apartment is small, so of course the kitchen is small). We also have a large number of mugs (they are all necessary, I swear) and a second set of “fancy” plates. How do I fit all of these into the one and a half cabinets we have for dishes? Additional wire shelves. Bam. Doubled the shelf space in no time. Even if our kitchen wasn’t limited in space, I find kitchen shelves to be much higher than is necessary. The wire shelves are inexpensive and come in a couple of different colors and sizes. I bought mine at Target and The Container Store.
Medicine cabinets are small. Period. First of all, do yourself a favor and store only your most important items in here – tools and products used daily or weekly. Anything used less frequently should not earn a spot in this cabinet. Under the sink (in a bin, of course) or in the linen closet is a better place for those occasional items. Secondly, help your self out by picking up a couple of tiny shelves for the medicine cabinet. I have a number of short items that I wanted to store in the medicine cabinet. These acrylic shelves (from the Container Store) create additional surface area for these types of items. Now everything has its place in the cabinet and things don’t look overly crowded in there, either.
A key concept in organizing is assigning a home for all of your belongings. An easy project to tackle is the area by the door you use the most to leave your home. I call this a docking station. The rest of the internet calls this a landing strip.
The docking station should hold all of the things you need to leave the house – keys, wallet, purse. Additionally, there should be spots for things that you like to drop off as soon as you walk in the door. For us, this includes a change jar (to avoid tiny piles of change all over the house) and a basket to recycle junk mail immediately. For you, this might include sunglasses, hats and mittens, cell phone, etc.
This is our current docking station. We bought this little table (actually a night stand from Ikea) to fit in a very tiny space in our last apartment. Currently, there’s a bowl for our keys and headphones, another container for change, plus a basket on the shelf to recycle junk mail and other paper that comes in the door. In the drawer, I store coupons that we will actually use. After our next move, I’m going to upgrade to a larger table that will also hold my purse and another work bag – which you can see sitting on the floor next to the table.
The space devoted to the docking station need not be large – it just needs to be a dedicated space. Even if you don’t have enough floor space for an additional table, you can create a wall mounted docking station. Here are a few ideas (from left to right):
- Cloud Key Holder – by Suck UK. There are three super strong magnets on the bottom of the cloud. A cute solution for those minimalists out there. Available on Amazon and other online shops.
- Fusillo Wall Shelf – by andViseVersa. This shelf is fully customizable. Each slat of wood can rotate up to be a divider, down to be a hook, or flat to be part of the shelf. See here for more pictures. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a price or a way to buy this item online!
- Elephant Organizer – by Kikkerland. This letter organizer can sit on a table or be mounted to the wall. When mounted, the trunk serves as a hook. Also available in bear shape, but with no hook, unfortunately. Kikkerland.com has a online shop.
Life has been keeping me very busy since the start of 2014. Not wanting to neglect my blog altogether (it’s on my list of intentions, remember!), I’m going to bring you a series of quick tips you can use to help you get and stay organized. These are all things I do in my own home.
First up, hooks. I don’t think I have enough words to express how much I love and use hooks. By installing hooks (yes more than one) inside each of your closets, you’re making it that much easier to keep all that extra “stuff” off of the floor, such as:
- Purses (if the straps are leather, make sure the purse itself is not too heavy before hanging)
- Totes and reusable shopping bags
- Dog leashes
from theorderobsessed.com – a blog i love.
A hook inside your closet door or a set of over the door hooks is especially helpful when it comes to dealing with clothing. A hook is better than the floor, for sure. Here’s some ideas:
- Pull out tomorrow’s outfit and hang it on the back of your closet.
- After you get in your comfy clothes, hang up today’s outfit, giving it time to breathe before getting returned to the closet.
- Use a hook for your everyday coat. (yes, sometimes its too much for me to put my coat back on the right hanger)
- Hang up hoodies and jeans and yoga pants – or other things you wear all the dang time.
The hook itself does not need to be pretty or expensive. In my coat closet we’re currently using large nails that were already in there when we moved in. Our reusuable totes live there and the handles cover up the nail completely. Also, Ikea is a great source for attractive, functional, and inexpensive (of course) hooks.