Simple Everyday Living: Chapter 12: Use What You Have and Get Creative with Storage

Before you go out and purchase a bunch of organizational items, first declutter and then use what you have on hand. When you declutter, you will most likely notice that you end up with some empty drawers and/or containers that you can use to organize.

Also when you declutter first, you'll find that you don't have as much to organize - that by decluttering, you have started to simplify your space and your life.

Once you have decluttered, then start to organize or reorganize. Decluttering and organizing are both ongoing processes - you have to keep up with both and when it comes to organizing, it can be good to think outside the box.

If you live in a smaller space, then you have to sometimes get creative with how you organize and sometimes you need items to work for you both from a functional stand point and an organizational stand point. For example, our coffee table opens up and we store extra blankets in it and we have a few smaller ottomans in our family room that store extra board games and puzzles but also work for some additional seating (and nice foot rests for movie nights).

Make sure to make use of vertical space. Extra shelving and command hooks can come in very handy for organizing wall space. You can use command hooks in your closets for hanging purses or belts. You can add all sorts of shelving for books, photos you wish to display, items in your bathroom, spices in your kitchen.... the possibilities are endless.

I also like the wooden crates you can get at most hardware stores but also at places like Walmart. I've used the wooden crates for creating extra storage space in my kids' closets. As you can see in the picture below, we used several wooden crates in one my kid's rooms and it created additional shelving space in their closet. At first, we thought about just installing an additional shelf above their existing shelf in their closet but found that using the crates was actually better in this instance because the items were less likely to fall over and could be organized in sections. Also we didn't put crates all along the existing shelf to leave room for items such as a sleeping bag to fit.

I also like to check out sites such as Pinterest for creative storage ideas. I actually got the idea to put a magazine file box (that I had on hand and wasn't using) in our smaller pantry for storage (and to use command strips to hold it in place) and it works great!

I have also used cork boards and push pins to organize jewelry.

We put a cube organizer under our console table in our hallway (fits perfect) to store our winter hats, scarves and gloves.

Again, look online for some creative ideas for storage when working with a smaller space and make sure to use space that is underutilized and when using space that isn't utilized, it can sometimes mean the whole room. If you have a formal dining room but never use it, you may want to convert it into an office space or a playroom for your kids. We turned out formal living room into more of a game room (our kids video games) and now it actually gets used (mostly by my husband).

When it comes to organizing your space - if you use what you have and get creative, then I think you will find that the amount of space that you have can work for you and your family.

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