1000 square feet for a family of four sounds completely reasonable, but these days, it's started to feel a bit cramped. As our family has grown we've simply had to get more creative with how we organize our space. While we're very lucky to have three bedrooms, two of them lack a real closet space and are very oddly shaped. (The joys of living in an older home!). Here are a few ways in which we've attempted to solve our space challenges:
Problem: Not enough storage in the kitchen
My Solution: Purchase an inexpensive vertical shelving unit from IKEA and place it next to the fridge for added "open" storage.
The above photo is of our small galley kitchen. We don't have a pantry, and when the kids' stuff started taking over our cabinets (bottles and warmers, sippy cups, etc.), I started to run out of places to store everything. We decided to utilize the skinny space next to our refrigerator and installed an inexpensive shelving unit from IKEA. It now holds our larger and more attractive kitchen items like bowls, canisters, pots, and cookbooks.
Problem: Clutter on the countertops
My Solution: Corral the clutter with a pretty basket to make it feel more purposeful.
Another side effect of our lack of kitchen storage was that the countertops were home to necessary but clutter-y things like paper towels and stacks of dish rags and towels. I decided that instead of trying to find more space in the cabinets, I would purchase a pretty storage basket in which to corral everything and make it look less messy and more purposeful.
Problem: Not enough toy storage
My Solution: Baskets and storage bins everywhere!
We did okay with controlling the toy clutter until my second daughter came along. Until then I had the baby toys packed away in the basement and we only had our preschooler's things around the house. But when the baby toys and preschooler toys had to live side by side? I started to feel like I was living in a toy store.
I quickly became a little obsessed with storage bins and baskets and found lots of clever places to stash them around the house - under end tables (above), next to my daughter's bed (above), beneath skirted chairs, and everywhere in between. They became my best friend in the toy battle, but I fear I'm in danger of my home now becoming overly cluttered with storage containers!
Problem: A tiny bathroom for four
My Solutions: Utilize the vertical wall space and keep things open
We have one tiny full bathroom for four people, so we had to get creative with the storage. Because nothing but a pedestal sink would really fit in the space, we had no under sink cabinet storage. We decided to utilize the vertical space in the room instead and added a wall cabinet. We also added glass shower doors in lieu of a shower curtain to keep the space from feeling too closed-in.
Problem: A tiny nursery with no closet
My Solution: Find creative places for storage
In the above photo you can see that we made use of the space beneath our crib to store all of those necessary items that go along with having a baby - diapers, wipes, crib skirts, and Diaper Genie refills to name a few. We hid this unattractive paraphernalia with a long crib skirt so that it could all be easily tucked away out of sight when it wasn't needed. We also added lids on our window seat so that we could store blankets and toys.
Problem: No space for a home office
My Solution: Utilize an odd nook in the family room
Because we now use all three of our bedrooms for sleeping purposes, our home didn't have space for an office. We decided to make use of this odd little nook in our family room and added built-in cabinets with space in between for my husband's grandmother's nursing school desk. We also added a pop of wallpaper to define the space.
Problem: My daughter wants a play kitchen and there was literally no wall space available.
My Solution: Remove an unused dust-collecting console table and find an attractive play kitchen.
We don't have a play room to speak of and when my daughter requested a play kitchen I knew it would have to go in one of the main spaces in the house. But when I looked around - there was literally not one speck of free wall space to be found. Somehow, I managed to talk my husband into getting rid of our underused console table and replaced it with this little wooden hutch that we found on the side of the road. We gave it a little TLC and it fits right in with the rest of the dining room. And guess what? I don't miss dusting the console at all.
You can see more photos of our home by visiting my blog, A Lovely Lark.
(Image credits: Lauren Hufnagl; Lauren Hufnagl)