This week my focus is making the most out of small spaces, and here with another guest article from Alice Robertson with Tidy Home Co. She is such a delight and savvy when it comes to using your small spaces in a more functional way, and let's not forget...still making a statement!
Over the course of time, we all seem to accumulate a lot of “stuff.” If your belongings are starting to pile up, or if you just could use a little more elbow room, some clever storage tricks can be the key to a more comfortable house. Here are smart strategies to help make the most of the space you have so you can have a home that’s tidy and efficient.
Look at the Big Picture
When it comes to making the most of your available space, it’s important to take a hard look at your entire abode. Whether you live in a small house or your home simply lacks storage, examining the space throughout can help you find the answers to your issue. Think in terms of evaluating every square inch — from the basement to the garage and everything in between — so you can best maximize your property’s potential. HomeAdvisor offers some excellent tips and resources for organizing your entire home.
Clear Up Your Clutter
One of the first steps toward getting more organized is to eliminate the things you don’t use. As you go through your home, you’ll want to look at items with the mindset of three sorting categories: items to keep, items to sell or give away, and items that need to be discarded. If you have things you’re on the fence about, you can always store them off-site while you contemplate life without them. Having those items elsewhere is a great way to test drive whether you really miss them. Or, if the job is simply unwieldy and you don’t have room for everything, you can book a self-storage unit while you pursue in-home storage solutions. A 5’x5’ storage unit in Colorado Springs can be rented for as low as $35 a month at Mini U Storage - Motor City.
Cupboards and Cabinetry
Making the most of the storage built into your home can be a huge boost in helping you get organized and stay on top of your storage concerns. Examine your kitchen and bathroom cabinets for opportunities to be more efficient. Put your commonly used items where they are handy, and use totes for cleaning supplies so you can grab them as you need them. You can set up separate totes for your various jobs, such as a bathroom cleaning tote and a kitchen cleaning tote, and keep them near where you will use them. Keep enough supplies handy to do what you need, but don’t purchase an abundance and have them taking up valuable storage space.
Make areas that are inefficient more useful with shelves, totes, or storage bins (can be purchased for $11.34). Lazy-susans and pull-out shelves can make deep, low-level areas more accessible, helping you reach and use the items you store there. Keep similar items together, such as dry goods together on their shelves, so you know where to look for them. In the bathroom, keep hair supplies in one area, first aid in a special tote or container, and makeup in an appropriate bag.
Are your closets cramped, dark, and disorganized? Most traditionally structured closets just have a bar for your wardrobe and a shelf overhead, which makes poor use of the space. Installing a closet system can help you get on top of the clutter and help you keep your clothing tidier. If funds are tight, consider checking thrift shops and second-hand stores for shallow bookcases or dressers you can slide inside your closets. Pretty them up with trim, paint, and shelf paper. It’s an inexpensive solution that can help optimize your space, and you will enjoy seeing your handiwork when you’re preparing for the day.
If your home doesn’t provide much in the way of closets, attic space, or other ready storage, adding attractive, built-in structures like open shelving and cabinets can put otherwise useless wall space to work. Pick up some bookcases and paint them all the same shade to make the most of small areas, or for an eclectic look, try a few hues that pull together your color scheme. Install attractive boxes and totes on the shelves, or along those same lines, you can hang boxes directly on your walls if floor space is already occupied. In your garage and basement, you can search salvage yards for second-hand cabinets to add better organization, and add storage protected from pests and weather changes. A good scrubbing and a coat of paint can turn even ugly and worn cabinets into useful and attractive storage solutions.
Double Duty Furniture
A great way to make the most of your belongings is to find furniture that can pull double duty. Instead of buying a traditional bed, purchase a platform bed with drawers underneath (you can buy a bed with drawers for $499.99). Turn a vintage trunk into your coffee table, or stack old suitcases next to the sofa so they can multitask as your end table. Look for desks and tables with drawer space, and opt for ottomans with hidden compartments. Rather than letting clutter accumulate on horizontal surfaces, add attractive trays and totes to keep things sorted.
Even homes with limited square footage or minimal storage can stay neat, tidy, and functional. Look for ways to make the most of the space you have, and create more storage where you need it. With clever strategies, you can keep ahead of your clutter and enjoy a more comfortable, efficient, and attractive home.
It's just one of those rooms in our house that never really got any attention after we moved in- the office. It has sat neglected for the past year, and I decided while the kids were visiting the grandparents for Spring Break last month it would be the perfect opportunity to get my own "to-do list completed- actually doing something with this space was #1 on my list!
I also decided something I wanted to try for this little project- actually completing it with a small budget. So here are some of the tricks I personally used on making this space not fun, functional, practical, but AFFORDABLE!
For starters, the furniture I added:
Yellow Chairs- Amazon
Round Table- Amazon
Modern Sofa (scale to the space, not bulky)- purchased on Amazon
Black Chairs- local antique store
Yellow Rug- Amazon
Total Spent on just new furniture, $400
Not too shabby!
The big mistake people make when redesigning a room or even starting from scratch, they think everything needs to match. You don't need to make a space look put together my matching everything, that is unless your design style calls for it. As in your style is monochromatic. In most cases that is not the style most of my clients are trying to achieve and definitely not the case for this area. I wanted something fun, someplace my kids would feel motivated and comfortable to do their homework, be creative- so that means color! I also wanted to make sure this room was consistent with the rest f the house- so I incorporated the colors I have throughout the house (green, blue, black, yellow), but yellow was really my primary anchor color for the vision of this room.
With the already dark cherry custom built cabinetry in this space, painting over it wasn't something I wanted to do for re-sale value purposes. So with a little extra labor, I added contact paper to the back of the bookshelves. Guess from where? The local $1 Tree! Yes! It sticks perfectly, and with a straight edge razor I cleaned up the edges, and it really helped brighten up those dark bookshelves. When I decide to redesign the space or sell the house, I can just peel it off. So easy!
Next, we needed some serious organization in this area. With 4 kids who love arts and crafts (I wonder where they get from!) you can imagine the over excessive amounts of markers, crayons, paint, coloring books, clay, beads...I can go on and on. Again, I took bright colored bins from the $1 Tree and added some fun labels I made especially for their art supplies with the help of Publisher and blank sticker paper (I will add the template later for those of you who want to use in in your own home office/homework area). I also took those fun little jars you see, yes, from the $1 Tree, spray painted the lids with a yellow spray paint meant for metal, added a chalk label, and Voila! Those little jars were perfect for small things like erasers, paperclips, and staples.
Again, keeping the fun and bright theme going, how about we talk about the cute way I displayed their artwork! Those cute little clipboards, yes...another $1 Tree find! Again, I spray painted them with the same yellow I used for the lids, and added some green ones too. These make for great picture hangers! You can customize these with just a little paint that matches whatever room you are decorating,
Probably my favorite creation for this room was the little modern table you see next to the sofa. Friends, this table was made for $3! Seriously. I took two wire mesh waste baskets and a pizza tray...yes, spray painted with the same yellow as the jar lids and clipboards- then used E6000 to glue to the tops of one of baskets, after I flipped one of the waste baskets around and glued the bottoms together. It is sturdy if you are wondering, and adds that modern feel to the room. The lamp you see was also spray painted the same green as the clipboards. It matched the lamp on the desk I had previously found at a barn sale, but was a brown color. I thought making it a happy green, contrasted well with the yellow table top.
The other little accessories you see throughout the room like:
Those are all courtesy of Target's $1 Bargain Area
The vintage map was one of two I bought at that same barn sale a year ago. I bought one with the intent of using it as a window shade for my oldest son's bedroom, which I did. I wasn't sure what to do with the second one, so it sat in my garage until I decided to do this little project, and now it looks like I intended on using it for this room all along.
My old typewriter was a gift given to me by my late Great-Uncle Dan, and I added some flashcards to it, sometimes I put photos in between the keys. Just a cute way to display things.
Of course this is our home, it's lived in. It needs to represent the people inside, just as your home should, everyone's homes should. Our bookshelves are adorned with the kids arts and science projects from years past, photos of old family pets that have since passed away but bring smiles to our faces when we look at them, our favorite story books, pretty rocks my 5-year old daughter has to keep,
Your home should make you happy, these things make us happy. I've always found that creating a conscious relationship with the space arounds us opens a whole new world of nurturing support in our lives. A beautiful, well-intentioned home reflects your true self back to you. It holds you through life’s lows and celebrates you through life’s highs. I think this space truly reflects that and my children are so happy each time they step inside this room now, and I am happy it is finally finished and I didn't break the bank doing it!
Yes, that’s right. You will notice I use the color blue a lot in the homes I stage for sale,and there is a good reason why. Okay, there are a couple of good reasons why. Here are a couple good reasons you should use blue indoor home before you put up a “For Sale” sign:
This Valentines day I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew, I usually don't take on projects like these. It just so happens to be my oldest daughter's last year in elementary school, and my youngest daughter's first Valentines day in pre school. So I figured why not make it extra special for both of them.
Earlier this month I posted the Valentines day bookmarks we made for my oldest daughter- they turned out so cute! For the how-to and template check out my blog post here. For my youngest daughter we did salt dough necklaces, then of course for their teachers, we did these fun nail polish gifts...of course we decorated the bottles with... buttons!
The salt dough is a fun project you can do with your kiddos anytime, and even make ornaments at Christmas time. Here's what you'll need~
2) Roll out and cut out some hearts – in different sizes. Place on a baking tray.
3) Using a toothpick make holes for hanging later.
4) Place in the oven at a 100C. After 5min, “repoke” the holes for hanging (they may close up) and turn. Repeat 2-3 times. Then leave in the oven for 3-4 hours. In summer, these will EASILY dry outdoors in the hot sun. You CAN bake them at a higher temperature, but take care that a) they do not bubble and b) don’t brown at the edges (or completely burn them like I did). Patience is best though. If you do end up burning them, you can spray paint them. :)
5) Once fully dry (you may want to wait a few days). Take some bakers twin or other string. Add some cellotape to the ends – a bit like shoe laces to make threading easier…. then thread your buttons onto the twine and through the hearts.
DONE! Pretty pretty pretty!
Free Download For Teachers Tags
(Better Than My Version, You're Welcome)
You can find gold nail polish at any $1 Store. We took some gold heart buttons, hot glued them to the bottle, took bakers twine to attach the tag, and, there you have it!
I must say it is was a lot of work getting all these cute handmade goodies ready for today, but it was fun, and I am so happy we did it all. While they may not remember every Valentine's day, maybe the memories we made creating for this one, they will.
Happy Valentines Day from The Toscano's
This week I am excited to share a guest blog post from fellow blogger, Alice Robertson, of A Tidy Home. Be sure to visit her website for great organizational tips for your home.
You’ve spent countless hours perusing Pinterest and gazing in awe at all the gorgeous home office spaces, but they all seem to be designed with two things in mind: a big budget and big space. Unfortunately, you have neither of those things, leaving you wondering if you’ll be destined to use the living room couch as your makeshift desk. Fear not; there are plenty of ways to create a fully functional home office with limited space, all without forking out a ton of cash.
Get Creative With Your Office Location
Building an extra room will cost you a pretty penny, but utilizing the space you already have won’t. There are several creative places where you can squeeze in an office. If you have a spare closet, convert it into a small office space and use the shelving at the top as bonus storage. Perhaps your home has a random nook or corner that a desk could easily fit into. Think about rooms you never seem to use such as the dining room or a child’s playroom. You eat most of your meals in the kitchen or on the couch, and the toys end up in the living room anyways, so make use of this space however you can. The fact that you aren’t building on an addition paired with a small space equals savings that can be used to furnish and decorate your home office. If you’re having trouble picturing it, these home office photos courtesy of Apartment Therapy will get your creative juices flowing.
Stick to the Essentials
Once you’ve got a space carved out, it’s time to start filling it with the essentials, but if you aren’t careful costs can add up quickly. To maximize savings, scour your house for things you already have such as office supplies, desk lamps, and décor. Check out your local thrift store to find unique and affordable items, and personalize your space with DIY touches. Of course, there’s no need to count out the chain office stores as long as you know how to make them work for you. For example, you can fill your office with many of the supplies and technology you need by shopping at stores like Best Buy. Before you go, do your homework and look for Best Buy coupons and promo codes to help you save money, and make note of any upcoming sales. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family via word of mouth or social media to inquire about any unused office supplies they are looking to part with for free or a fair price.
Focus on Productivity
It’s easy to get caught up designing your office space, but don’t forget about its ultimate purpose – providing you with a productive, distraction-free workspace. Clutter makes an office feel chaotic and stressful, making it hard to focus. Having the right desk, chair, and office technology is important, but proper storage is right up there too. Thankfully, storage is an area you can DIY, and it’s budget-friendly too. Install wall shelving above your desk and paint or wallpaper the wall to add a pop of color. Use storage containers in various sizes to keep your desk and office area neat, and don’t forget about desk organizers to prevent drawers from becoming a chaotic mess.
Comfort plays into productivity as well, so invest in things that truly make a difference such as an ergonomic office chair, extra lighting, or a diffuser filled with your favorite scent. Keep in mind that working from home is filled with distractions, so take advantage of tech tools that keep you focused such as a social media blocker, sound machine apps to block out noise, and a digital to-do list to hold you accountable.
There’s no reason to let your small space and budget keep you from having the home office you want and need. You might have to get a little creative with the location, but it’s all part of the fun. All you need is an idea and a budget-friendly mindset, and you’ll be setting up shop in your office in no time.
My dear friend Lori, bless her heart because this friend of mine has everything you could ever imagine when it comes to arts and crafts. A few years ago she showed up at my store with a huge box filled with buttons she no longer wanted. Hundreds, actually THOUSANDS of buttons. As the years have passed those buttons have sat in a cabinet in my store waiting to be used. Finally I found a use, or maybe a few.
I typically don't decorate for Valentine's day at home or at my store. However this year I wanted to get back to the part of my business where I was when I first started; creating more, trying new things, and not just for monetary gain but for the peace it brings me when I'm doing it. So, I pulled out that box of buttons this week and just let my creativity go.
After a few cute Valentine flower arrangments, I started to look for some other fun ideas courtesy of Pinterest, and stumbled upon some cute bookmark ideas made with paperclips, except the bookmarks were made with cloth hearts. So with the help of my two daughters, we dug through that box of buttons looking for every heart shaped button there was, and there were A LOT! After a few hours and a lot of hot glue, the bookmarks were modified and complete. Not too mention how much fun we had looking through thousands of buttons.
What things do you have laying around your home that could be used to create something beautiful and fun?
Valentine bookmark tags courtesy of The Mama Diaries Blog
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."