Since I am obsessed with organizing the small space that I live in, I thought it would be time to share with you some handy tips that I have used the past few months to reorganize my humble abode. As you may know I live my life on 90 square ft (or 30 M2) and if you see the amount of stuff I have, people often wonder how it all fits into it. My big secret? I’m the queen of organization. I just love it. I love doing, love thinking about it and when I catch that ‘bug’ I can’t wait to get started. I have written other posts on organization ideas before, some more general, some more specific ones. This one will be fairly general. In total, I will be giving you 10 tips to organize tiny spaces into habitable ones without the clutter.
The golden solution to all clutter: throw things away. Getting rid of those things you don’t use/ need, makes for clear spaces and room for more. Now the trick about throwing things out is to take it step by step. Don’t try to clean up your whole house in one day. You will feel fed up half way through it and chuck everything in a corner thinking: what the heck. It’s better to go about it in phases. I have been working on purging several parts of my room ever since Christmas!
Here’s what I got rid of:
- uni & school stuff, backlogged administrative files
- socks, pantyhoses etc.
- scarves, belts, hats, jewelry and other accessories
- make up (lipsticks/ lipgloss/ face products/ eyeshadow)
- nail polish
- utility items (cables, old paint, etc.)
- years of Time Magazine subscriptions (about to get rid of those)
Purging is a messy business! Here I’m getting rid of my uni stuff and backlogged files
Like I said, I threw things out in phases. What I did is I just unpacked all of the boxes, sat down, opened every file and folder, every pair of socks. I basically reconsidered everything I had. And I asked myself: have I worn/ used this in the past 2 years? Answer is no? I immediately tossed it in a ready trash or paper bag. The most work was my wardrobe as I tried everything on to see if things still fit me right. No? I chuck it. Purging my wardrobe is probably what I do most often, about once or twice a year. This was the result the last time I did that:
A big pile of clothes and a load of hangers.
2.) Invest in storage bins
So after purging it’s nice to be able to keep the stuff you still want to keep nice and neat. That is why I decided to invest in some plastic storage bins. I had a bad case of mice over summer last year and I was scared to death they were going to eat their way into my childhood memory box or my beloved Backstreet Boys collection. In order to make sure my nostalgic memorabilia cannot get touched by rodents, floods or anything else I replaced my cardboard boxes by these plastic ones:
Clear storage bins (10 euros each from Blokker)
You can find these at any store that sells household goods. I like that they are clear, because this way it is easy to find which box you need once you want to take something out. I also still have some of the smaller cardboard boxes, which I keep under my bookcase, but since those are all different ones I generally know which box to take out to get what I need. Those boxes simply hold scarves, flats, candles, paper, arts & crafts, cassette tapes and other random things.
3.) Alphabetize your books, CDs & DVDs
Such a simple tip, but so handy. Of course when you have 10 CDs this is not necessary, but once you get more you will have to come up with a system so you can easily find your things. It’s a lot of work to do it (I once alphabetized 1000 records), but very rewarding. I even convinced my parents and some friends to alphabetize their books and CDs (and in some cases I even did it for them) and needless to say, they don’t want things differently anymore.
4.) Color coordinate your clothes
I cannot stress this enough! Color coordinating your clothes makes it so much easier to find stuff as well. Plus it allows you to easily pick the right color to combine items. And to top things off, it is also appealing to look at.
And that automatically brings me to another wardrobe tip…
5.) Don’t fold your clothes too tightly
When you fold your clothes too tightly your stacks will become wobbly and you run the risk of things falling over. I find it better to fold my clothes a bit wider, so the fabric is spread out a bit more. That way you are able to create sturdy stacks of clothing that remain in tact even when you try to keep the color coordination in tact.
Here’s what my sweater shelf currently looks like:
Lights & brights on the left, darks on the right. Plus the sweaters are all folded to roughly an equal size.
6.) Hang as many clothes as you can
Now I don’t know about you, but I despise folding clothes. It’s just such a hassle. Hanging them is so much easier, plus it is much better for most of your clothes as well. That is why, when I bought my wardrobe, I made sure to have plenty of hanging space. I would hang my sweaters and t-shirts too if I had the space, but for now what I like to hang are:
- pants, jeans, leggings, treggings
- boleros/ sleeves/ cover ups
- blouses/ button downs
- jackets & blazers
7.) Use similar colored hangers in your wardrobe
Another tip for hanging clothes is to use similar colored hangers. In one of the pictures above you could see a big stack of light colored hangers lying on my floor. I initially bought dark hangers for my wardrobe, but then ran out and just bought whichever hangers were cheapest. And it drove me nuts. Because the lighter hangers stand out between the darker ones, those articles of clothing would stand out more and so my eye would automatically be drawn to them. I now have switched out all of my light hangers for dark ones, and now I look at my clothes and not my hangers when looking for what I want to wear.
All dark hangers, organized by type AND color coordinated cover ups, blouses/ button downs, jackets & blazers
8.) Out of sight = out of mind
Many organization videos will tell you this, but it is so true. When you don’t see what you have, you will stop using things. That’s what happened to much of my jewelry, which up until last year was packed away in drawers which made it hard to see the different necklaces I had. My current organization allows me to see all of the pieces, making it easy to quickly grab something in the morning or really plan out my accessories the night before. The same goes for make up, clothes, shoes and everything else that I own.
9.) Put stuff back where it came from
One thing that makes for the most clutter is when you don’t have designated spots for you stuff. I know people who can never find their phone, because there phone is wherever they are, but sometimes they then forget their phone. Not mine. When I’m home my phone is always in the same spot (next to its charger). It’s easy to find when it rings and I always put it back after checking it. That way I can’t lose it or forget when I’m running out of the door.
10.) Take 5 mins at the end of the day to clean up
Probably my best tip to declutter. Since my living space is so small, I cannot imagine leaving things lying about because I am immediately confronted with it. So what I like to do, before I got out the door, and especially before I go to bed is put away things. That glass you used to grab some water goes back into the kitchen. That pen you used to take some notes goes back into its pencil case and the plate you used for some late night snacks is also put away. That way you can start a new day with a clean slate. I personally sleep better when take the extra 2 – 3 mins at night, then when I don’t.
So here are some of my organization tips. I hope you enjoy these because I am thinking of making this a blog/ picture/ vlog series once I have a new camera some time in the near future. Of course, if you have any tips on how you can organize a small living space than feel free to share them in the comments! And it would be jolly nice if you could let me know if you’d like me to make this into a series. Monthly? Bi-monthly? Weekly? Who knows! I could talk about organization all day.
Links to my other posts on organization:
Room tour (video) so you have an overview of the space I live in.
Wardrobe/ clothes organization
15 responses to “Organization & storage tips”
haha hier ook weer the same thought! Ik woon wel groter als jij, maar nog steeds niet in een kast van een huis, ik heb geen kamer over die kan gebruiken voor opslag. Mijn kledingkast is ook colorcordinated, mn cd’s/dvds’s staan op artiest, al mn beautystuff is netjes opgeborgen in een kast, zelfs mn BSBstuff is zo opgeruimd dat ik alles in no-time terug kan vinden ondanks dat het heel erg veel is. Ik ben inmiddels 2x verhuisd in 6 jaar tijd en ik heb iedere keer zoveel zooi weggegooid dat ik nu weinig dingen meer heb die ik niet gebruik, tenzij het emotionele waarde heeft.
Maybe moet ik ook maar eens post schrijven over hoe ik alles opruim, mn vriend heeft vaak echt de meest geniale ideeen.
oh moet je doen! Dat vind ik leuk om te lezen.
Way easier: don’t buy so much stuff. Saves space and money!
But who am I to say so… My study is crammed with books from top to bottom and back… over 3000 of them. So good luck with purging! 🙂
Yes, but who helped you create some order in that madness when you moved?! 😉
Ehm…. something does pop into mind. Starting with M 😉
System still operational, more or less. And gradually more less… if you catch my drift. Too many books, too few shelves. I need a bigger home!!! Ultimate reason to move: I can’t fit my books in my house anymore 😀
hahaha. One day your house will be filled with books and you will only be able to move around along a narrow pathway.
My house filled to the roof with books… My dream home! 😀
Remember Donald Trefusis from Stephen Fry’s ‘The liar’ and his room at Oxford? The ‘libraryinth’ (or something like that…). Suits me…
Hahaha that indeed is your dream house. And I can see you moving about already. Good thing you’re skinny. Makes more room for books. 😉
heel erg handig !
Dankjewel! Hopelijk heb je er wat aan.
My books and DVD’s aren’t in alphabetical order, because I like them in sections – boxsets, favourite authors, biographys, etc.
Also I have two boxes similar to your plastic ones but they are more flat and wide, with wheels on and they go under my bed.
I think you’ve pretty much covered it tho hun!
Oh I have my books and DVDS organized by section AND by alphabet 😉 Because I’m anal like that. 😛
Oh I can’t be bothered with that!!
[…] Organized or messy? Very very organized. I spent much of 2012 cleaning up and reorganizing my living space. I love doing it and I wrote a post with tips in July. […]
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