i am REALLY excited to share today's 5 tips post because it means i get to share before & after pictures of the spaces that we made tiny changes to, but created TONS more space for ourselves. i'm still a little shocked at the space we were able to create & i wish that the pictures gave more of an idea of how cramped i felt in our space. since making these changes, i feel like we have SO MUCH MORE SPACE & the truth is that we have the exact same amount of space, we're just utilizing the space better, which makes it feel like we have more space. so without further rambling:
5 tips for creating space in your rental
1. pay attention to the layout of the room
in our bedroom, we were NOT paying attention to the layout of the room. the room is basically a square and we had our bed smack dab in the middle of the room. which isn't really a problem or bad idea, BUT the way we positioned our bed, cut the room in half in the worst possible way. the far end of the room was always piled up with junk because it was unseen & it just got really yucky & unpleasant. after we added the shiplap wall, we decided to push our bed all the way against the far wall because we also cleared around the desk area and put the chest of drawers on the ground & put a tv in our room. this opened up SO MUCH SPACE in the front portion of the room & i am really happy with the way that everything looks & feels. it feels so open & gives us lots of room to play with mozzie, so we are all happy. (i'm writing a post on how we added shiplap to the wall so you'll have to wait until then to see the full room reveal!!)
2. utilize shelving + be open to adding shelving
i realize that not everyone can add permanent shelving, when you can add temporary shelving in a room, you are able to use a lot of otherwise wasted space. we had a closet in our bathroom that just was a little awkward in terms of storage. we weren't able to fit everything very well & stuff was always falling off our temporary shelves, so we added two rows of permanent shelving in the closet & moved our laundry baskets under the bottom shelf. we have so much more room for our bathroom things & all of our dirty laundry is in the same place, so it gives us an opportunity to be a little be more organized on the laundry front.
3. get rid of things you don't use or have grown out of
obviously, minimalism is one of my favorite topics. i am a firm believer that stuff is just stuff & at one point or another, most everything is going to get thrown away. *insert shrugging emoji here* obviously, i have things that are special & sentimental that i'll keep forever (journals & pictures, mostly) but other than that, there isn't much that can't be replaced. and if i'm being completely honest here, how many hangers does one person need? how many tee shirts from high school does one person need? how many pairs of shoes does one person need? (i have four pairs of shoes. i cut my shoe collection down from like 10 to four. & that's ALL i wear. & they work for everything. feel free to check out my capsule wardrobe post here. & stay tuned because i'm in the process of revamping my capsule wardrobe & can't wait to share the changes with you!) how many SPOONS does one household need? cups? can openers? tupperware dishes? you get the picture. most spaces have AMPLE amounts of room, but we insist on hanging on to ALL of our tupperware dishes, shoes, hangers, tee shirts, etc. because we MIGHT use them one day. spoiler alert: if you haven't used them in 3 months, you probably won't use them & if you DO need whatever it is in 4 months, you can probably go out & buy another one. but here's what i've learned: if it's out of sight & out of the house, i won't go buy another one, i'll just learn to live without it. & friends, that has worked for literally every single thing we've given to the DI (local thrift store) or sold. with the exception of our couch. we bought another couch, but we had sold our couch with the intention of buying another one down the road.
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4. utilize unused space that has potential
now that i just told you to get rid of things you don't use or have grown out of, i'm going to tell you how to store the things that you do use on the regular (or if you're like me, your stock pile of christmas decorations. i make exceptions in my minimalism. do what works for you) there is LOTS of unused space in your rental. i already know this because most of the time, this space goes unused by basically everyone. these magic spaces are:
under your bed
your cupboard doors
under your couch
on top of your cupboards
okay, here's the part where you're like, "wut? sadie, those are the most ridiculous spaces i've ever heard of." and here's the part where i tell you, you're wrong. *insert shrug emoji yet again*
under your bed or under your couch are FANTASTIC places to store seasonal clothing & shoes. in fact, stores like wal-mart & target even sell fancy little bins that are MADE FOR putting clothing under your bed.
your doors are honestly the MOST un-utilized spaces in your whole space!!!! (i feel FIVE EXCLAMATION POINTS STRONG about this) this is something i learned as a missionary & have used in every single apartment i've lived in up until our current space. get yourself a few door shoe hangers. they're like $7-$15 & will be one of the best purchases you can make while renting. you can store ALL SORTS OF STUFF in those bad boys. my personal favorite things to store in them were: cleaning supplies (put in the laundry room), socks & undershirts (put on the bedroom door), hair accessories & products (bathroom, obvs) that way in all of these different rooms, you're opening up space in on the shelves or in drawers for other belongings & using space that goes otherwise wasted. cupboard doors are no different, hang towels, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, etc.
on top of your cupboards is a great place to store things that look like they could be decor. we've stored casserole dishes, bowl sets, & platters on top of our cupboards. the only issue with this space is that you're going to have to rinse off the dishes when you use them, but is that such a bad price to pay when you've just opened up an entire cupboard's worth of space in your tiny kitchen? no, no it is not. especially if you don't use those dishes very often anyway.
5. LESS IS MORE.
i say this in basically every single post about minimalism or downsizing. & here's why: most of the time, we fill our homes or spaces with big furniture or lots of furniture & then we feel crowded, stuck & unhappy. if you're just starting out, start with one small sofa or love seat in your living room & a coffee table or entertainment center. don't buy any more furniture until you feel like you NEED it. in our second apartment, we didn't have a kitchen table because we never used our kitchen table & it just became a landing space for junk. the same can be said for dressers. if you have shelves in your bedroom, try putting your clothes on shelves or hanging everything up & ditching your dresser. these changes may take some time to get used to, but once you make the change, you'll wonder why you had those things in the first place.
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in all my time living on my own, i've come to find that open space makes me so much happier than when i feel crowded or overwhelmed with stuff. purging unnecessary stuff feels SO GOOD. & honestly, every space has something to offer, you just have to give it the chance to be great. & if you're feeling stuck in how you could better create space in your rental, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org & let's chat! i'd love to help you feel more at home in your home!