Moving back to Idaho opened the outdoors to us, but it cut our living space indoors almost in half. We were perfectly comfortable learning and living in just over 1500 sq. ft. Now we have 888.
It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It has taken some getting used to though. Here is what I do to ease the squeeze.
1. Get rid of everything I don’t use regularly
(or replace it with something smaller)
Before we moved, all the stuff stored in the garage to fix someday was immediately purged. The television and entertainment center were given away. We’ve never had cable, so the computer suffices to watch movies.
I have a going out/give away pile that grows almost daily.
2. Keep toys small and few
My son is content with one huge box of Lego that slides under his bed.
My girls each have a shoe-box sized drawer to store all their little stuff: tea sets, dolls, and ponies.
One large wicker trunk holds all dress up clothes and a basket corrals their stuffed animals.
3. Hang up as much as I can
I hung hooks by every door in every room.
Pegs in the girls’ room hold their coats and bags. My son hangs up his music bag and sweatshirts. I thought of running hooks all the way down the hallway, but I dream of shallow bookshelves there instead.
The kitchen received the same treatment. A pan rack created out of a metal shelf and s-hooks freed up a cupboard. Cup hooks screwed into the edge of the kitchen counter create a place for towels and pot holders.
Inspired by this post, How to have open shelving in your kitchen without daily staging, I hung two shelves to display my dishes and freed yet another cupboard for food.
The brackets aren’t pretty, but they are what I had.
4. Decorate with creative containers (and books)
There isn’t room for lots of stuff to set about prettily, so I consider storage containers decorations.
- Jars showcase the rice and pasta.
- Small wooden boxes are stacked on a shelf.
- Suitcases work well as storage.
- Even my pottery usually has something inside.
My coat rack wouldn’t fit behind my front door, so I put it in the bathroom.
By hanging a bag on one of the hooks, I have a container for my make-up bag, brushes, and hair accessories.
5. Solve the issue of NO closets
I”m pretty sure the previous owners used one of the small rooms as a large closet. That won’t work for us, so I found some closet shelving on clearance and pounded it into wall to hang our clothes.
It’s not exactly pretty, but it is practical. And it creates a shelf for a bit more storage.
Wardrobes would be nice, but they might make our small rooms seem even smaller. The doors would have to slide or else hit the bed. For now, I’m calling the issue resolved.
6. Try to control clutter where it happens
A beat-up wicker laundry basket sets inside the front door to collect shoes.
My girls always have something creative happening, so baskets next to the craft table trap their art supplies. The largest basket I have stores their artwork.
I’m still working on corralling the laundry, but when we get the bathroom remodeled that will help. We’ll put in a closet for a laundry hamper. (I can’t wait! I’ll have a closet, a real closet!)
7. Embrace the process
Even though our house is still ugly on the outside, the inside is taking shape. It feels like home because we have the things we use and enjoy surrounding us.
Perhaps, these walls help shape us from the inside out, too. We have so many opportunities each day to prefer one another. We stumble over each other’s messes, wait in line to use the bathroom, and work together to improve what we’ve been given. Our closeness clarifies the importance of being family.