When you live in a small space, you either constantly feel frustrated that there’s never enough room for everything…OR you get creative and make space where you thought there wasn’t any! Since I’ve lived in smaller homes or apartments all my life, I have become quite a pro at creatively organizing small spaces. In fact, I find the challenge of making it all work super motivating and I get so excited when I succeed! This was one of those moments when no one seemed to think that it could be done. #watchme
Just as I was about to complete one organizing project (that, incidentally, I was loving), I had to redo the whole thing to make room for a piano! We’d been discussing getting one, and had plans for Faith to take lessons over the summer. I really didn’t want a keyboard for a variety of reasons (not as attractive, doesn’t “feel” like a piano, it’s an electronic so they can have issues…), but also didn’t want to spend oodles on a piano and wasn’t sure how I’d make room. I knew that pianos are often available on Craigslist and Facebook for under $100 (often even free), so I kept checking there. After much stalling because I wasn’t entirely sure where the piano would go, and after finding “a few good men” to help us haul it, we got one. (I should also mention that we found it from a very nice woman in town who had the piano since she was seven or eight years old! She clearly took great care of it and it was that much more special for us that it came from such a kind person.) I knew I could make room, and was determined to not just MAKE room but to add the piano into our home, not make it feel more cluttered, and keep everything looking nice. Oh, and I also made sure that come Christmas, that there would be room for the tree! #priorities
I had just purchased this shelf because I needed additional storage for summer daycare toys and supplies. This one had become my office/craft shelf, and the one I previously used was repurposed back to daycare storage. I love the look of this “weathered” finish (though it seems way more grey than in the photo, and I can’t help but wonder if I got the “rustic grey” by accident! (After talking to my sister I’m pretty convinced I did. She has the “weathered” shelf and said it’s much more light brown, not grey. I love this finish but the other would have gone much better in the living room!)
(That partial wreath and the ribbon spools were a project-in-progress…I have that done, too!)
Before I go onto the furniture moving, I wanted to mention these bins. The cube shelves I’ve used in the past are smaller, which meant the baskets were also smaller. Too small for these cubes!
I do not like wasted storage space, and having bins that don’t fully fit a shelf does just that. Those turquoise baskets (from Target) needed to stay with the smaller shelves…which I am using for daycare supplies…and then I went on a search for 12×12 bins for this unit. After quite a bit of online browsing, I chose these from Wal Mart…
I love the color and pattern, and at under $6 each, they were much cheaper than many other options. And look how much more space there is for stuff!!!
So much space that I may have to rethink how I’m storing some of my craft supplies!
I didn’t get that far, though, because I was still working on styling the shelves when I decided they were going to have to move. I was sad. I loved them in this space, and thought it made a much more attractive backdrop for my online chats with Michele (my productivity and business coach) and for making videos (which I just did for the first time yesterday…more on that tomorrow).
The piano was coming, though, so I needed to get busy. I spent all of that Thursday evening and a lot of the following Friday rearranging, purging and reorganizing. I didn’t want the piano in the living room. While we found one in great condition, it wasn’t the first thing I wanted people to see when they walk into our house. I also learned that you shouldn’t put a piano by an outside wall of the home. Soooo…that meant it was going to go under the pegboard in the office space. The daycare shelves are across from the piano, under the windows where my desk had been. (When summer is over, the desk can return if I decide I want it to.)
When I first got the shelves, I actually had attempted to use them as a TV stand and to double as storage. But I didn’t like it where our TV was at the time…where it has been for several years. With the need for creative furniture arranging, though, I decided to try it again, just in a different location. I moved the TV from the corner (Do you think I could find a photo?? I know I have one somewhere but I could not!) to the large wall under my faux “mantle” shelf (where the couch had been) and put the couch by the bay window.
We sold the TV cabinet (within like 10 minutes on Facebook and it was picked up later that day!), and I moved the baskets with the DVD’s that were here…
…and moved them to the built-ins here.
This is my least favorite built-in in the house. I have always struggled with styling it, and when I have used it strictly for functionality, it always seems cluttered. (Floor to ceiling shelves can do that!) It’s around the corner from the front door and not easily visible from the rest of the living room, so it has always felt like wasted space to me. (I have grand plans of demoing the whole thing along with the coat closet and making a bench with hooks. #hubbysaysno) For now, though, it serves as a good spot for our dvd’s since the TV cabinet is gone, and I pulled the games out of another cabinet and put them there as well.
In order to make this all work, I had to get rid of a few pieces of furniture: The tv stand and two side tables. I still have enough storage for everything and surfaces to sit a drink. I kept my favorite stenciled-top table (here) and am deciding whether to keep, sell or gift this one and one other.
Once the extra furniture was out, it was time to get the shelf set up with the TV! I wound up moving our green dresser to make room for the desk on the other wall, so it took a little creative styling to make it all work (and I’m still tweaking it a bit).
I brought those DIY frames from one our built-in hutch, and after summer daycare is over, I intend to make new ones for family photos. I liked that they tied in all the colors and brought more of the green in. I almost swapped out the bins when I found a lighter turquoise color at Wal Mart, but despite matching the coffee table and desk better, they just didn’t look as good for some reason, so I stayed with the teal.
I brought up our photo albums, too. They actually fit (some rather tightly!) in the larger shelves, and my hope is that a) we’ll get to look at them more and b) they’ll serve as a reminder that I need to get busy updating them! (Oh, and it added some more pops of pink…don’t point it out to my husband. ;))
The desk is working out well in it’s new (old) spot, and since I cleared out that built-in next to it (that’s where the games were), I have a spot for my extra binders and books nearby.
Another bonus: Since the desk is right where people walk into the house, I’m more inclined to keep it cleared off. (Not always, but more so.)
Everything is working out well. I was very concerned about moving the couch because I love being able to sit and look out the bay window. (And it just wasn’t going to be very fung shui!) But it’s been a refreshing change, and with the need to get rid of some side tables, it feels more open and not so much like every wall is covered with furniture (which I don’t like).
So I did it, and you can, too! Organizing a small space can be a fun challenge. You may need to be open to exchanging one piece of furniture for another, and it will likely involve a furniture rearrange (or two!), but it can be done!
Feel free to share your organizing challenges and/or successes on this post!