You’ve probably heard about the “Tiny House” phenomenon and wonder – could I do it –could I live with less space and far fewer belongings?
Well, I can tell you right now that with 3 kids under my roof — I’m out.
I’m always in need of more space, quiet space is what I really want, but that’s a topic for another day. As we all know, KIDS = A.TON.OF.STUFF.
Still, the “Tiny House” movement had me wonder – is it really more space we need or do we need to learn how to make the most of the space we have?
I believe it’s the latter and that staying organized comes down to these three things:
Maximize the space you have
Whether your house is 600 or 6,000 square feet, what “Tiny House” dwellers teach us is how to maximize space. It’s really just a matter of making choices and using some creativity.
Whether it’s a cabinet or a closet, organizing with functionality in mind makes a tremendous difference and gives “stuff” a meaningful home. Check out this closet turned office from homesthetics.net.
One of my favorite organizers and bloggers Amy Volk, owner of ‘Simplified Living Today’, focuses on functionality and has great tips on everything from where to put the batteries to the type of container in which you should store them.
Limit the number of containers you buy and use
Speaking of containers – perhaps it’s human nature to see an empty box and find something to put in it, but it’s the enemy to organizing. With spring here, it’s time to pack up the sweaters and get the shorts out. I store all of my seasonal clothing because I’m limited on closet space.
The problem is, the number of items I have to store seems to grow every year, but my space for storage containers stays the same. I could pack it all away, but that means more plastic storage containers trying to fit into the same space.
So I have learned – decide on the space you have for storage and limit the containers you use or buy to that area. Then, get rid of items you don’t use or wear. I just purged what were obviously my “I’ll get back into these” clothes that I’ve had since before I had kids.
If you do need to buy containers, buy them after you purge. The important piece here is to understand the full scope of what you’re storing and then purchase the right size and shape container for the stuff you have and the space where it’s going to be stored.
Get rid of more, more often
I just touched on purging but let’s go a little deeper.
While I’d love to tell you that my Zen drives me to live simply. Instead, it’s the reality of living in a 1940’s three bedroom home as a family of five. We have small bedroom closets and only one general closet in the entire house. In most homes, the general one would serve as a linen closet. At my house it’s the linen closet, coat closet, arts and crafts station, pantry, you-name-it closet.
The point here is, art supplies, towels and linens must be continuously purged or we’d have to go coatless for the winter because we’d never find them. When something new comes in, something else goes. I try to stick to the rule of only buying if I’m willing to go home and trade something out.
As I do laundry, put away towels, or clean up toys I try to take stock of how often these items I’m continuously organizing actually get used. A great tip I learned is to keep paper grocery bags in the closet to help combat procrastination on getting rid of items.
Plus, purging often means I won’t be overwhelmed by a sudden all-day cleaning event. I’m a working mom so my Saturdays belong to my kids, not my stuff. Goodwill has a slew of drive-thru donation centers so donating a small bag on the way to or from work is very manageable.
While none of us may be ready for a “Tiny House” move, we can certainly benefit from thinking differently about space and stuff!
For more inspiration, check out professional organizer and blogger Lorrie Marrero’s tips and tricks. Happy spring (cleaning)!