You know what one of the weirdest things about moving from a one-bedroom city apartment to a suburban house (a small one, but still) was? How instantly we expanded to fit our new space. When we were packing up our stuff from our closet-free apartment (seriously, the place had one closet; it was the worst) I had this vision of how we’d move our things into our new home and wander from room to gloriously empty room, excitedly imagining the millions of possibilities for how we’d be able to fill all that spectacular space. I thought it would take months – years, maybe – for the house to stop echoing from emptiness.
And then we moved our stuff in, and every single room was somehow immediately filled to capacity. I continue to think that a magical furniture elf arrived in the night; I have no idea how this happened.
It’s mostly because of the closet situation, I think. Our new house, house-like though it may be, you see, is also a 1900 colonial, which means it has closets the size of my pinkie. But clutter makes me crazy, so I’ve continued to employ the space-saving tactics that I used in our old place in our new one.
1. Do A Seasonal Swap-Out. The first thing you have to do is commit to spending a little time every season taking every single non-seasonally-appropriate item out of your closet and storing it away. I keep one storage bag (this one, which has a frame) under my bed, as well as a bunch of big clear plastic boxes in the scary, dark corner of my basement (Kendrick is in charge of this particular part of the process).
One note: you’ll probably have to replace the storage bag every year or so; in my experience, they fall apart fairly quickly even if you buy decently sturdy ones. It’s still worth the expense to keep stuff organized.
2. Find Storage Spots Everywhere. There is not a single nook or cranny in our house that hasn’t been called into action: extra sheets are in soft zip-up boxes under our son’s crib, the backs of doors hold shoes, coat racks in corners store purses and scarves…even the little hidden space between our wardrobe and the wall holds my computer bag and tripod. Hunt down all those small spaces: I promise, they add up to quite a lot.
3. Look For Ways To Create Pretty Displays. Some stuff – like, say, extra sheets – should really be tucked away out of sight. But other things – like shoes, purses, and jewelry – can sometimes be stored right out in plain view; don’t waste valuable space on items that can be repurposed as decor.
- Hang hooks on your wall and use them to create a display of your nicest purses (use the same principles for creating a gallery wall).
- If you have a gorgeous shoe collection, pick up a shoe storage bench and let it double up as an end table, a TV table…or even (why not?) a coffee table.
- Find interesting ways to display your jewelry (click here for a JITH segment on this). I love the idea of pushing tacks into a board to create a display for necklaces, and have even hooked curtain tie-backs over doors to create extra storage.