Organizing/Storage Tips for Small Areas

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We now live in a small 3 bedroom apartment. It is only 1 bath and there is almost no storage in the bathroom. We have just enough to store toilet paper. Period.

    The kitchen has very few cabinets/counters. I absolutely love to cook and have a TON of kitchen equipment, and much of it is used often.

    Two things we have found to be invaluable are hanging laundry hampers and over the door shoe storage.

    We got three over the door hampers for $5 each at big lots. They have a hook that goes over the door, an oval hoop that hangs from a nylon strap that hooks to the over the door hook, and a bag that fastens to the hoop with a drawstring. It was very easy to adjust the height of the hoop so that even short little me can easily put clothes in and get clothes out of the bags. This means no more clothes piled on the floor and no more baskets to trip on. I do insist that the bags only have dirty clothes in them. If husband or the kids wants to carry the dirty stuff to the laundry in the bags, that is fine. but they have to have baskets to bring clean clothes in and the bags must be put on the hoop immediately, not left on the floor to get lost or torn. I don't want clean clothes in the bags because they will get left in there and not folded or hung up and if the bag is dropped outside, the clothes would get all dirty.

    The shoe storage is the kind with pockets for each shoe and it hangs on the door also. These are WONDERFUL for keeping bathroom stuff organized. They are also great for tools, school supplies, pretty much everything. We have one for each bedroom and one for the bathroom. No more searching for the peroxide or bandaids or extra shampoo or deodorant or whatever. It is all there in clear pockets (some have vinyl pockets, other have cloth mesh that is see through).

    Last year I did an over the door toiletry bag filled with tape, bows, ribbons, and other gift wrap supplies as a gift for my mom. I am thinking of doing one for here also as I no longer have the dresser I kept those in. We just don't have room for it. I used a bag iwth a long mesh pocket about six inches high for ribbon. It is easy to pull the ribbon out through the mesh and cut off what is needed - and no dropping the spool and having half of it come unwound. My mom has just loved it all year, and has put together several more because she has tooooooo much gift wrap! (she spent about $100 just on gift bags at a close out place (prices about fifty cents to a dollar for even the biggest bags!) about two years ago. So now she keeps wanting us to bring all gifts over unwrapped and wrap them in her den with her wrapping supplies because she is over run iwth them!

    What are your best ideas/solutions for storing things in tight quarters? I get mind boggled by all hte stuff around here sometimes, and we have pared down a TON from what we used to have.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If you have a formal storage space, get moving boxes to store stuff in... because they are all sized to fit together tightly. Oddball boxes give you waste space.

    Under-the-bed plastic storage is great for winter blankets, off-season clothes. Some have cedar in the lid. Get the max height that will fit under YOUR beds, to make use of the vertical space.

    If all you have is "a" closet rod, get some strong cord and some more closet rod, and hang a half-length tied to the upper rod. Shirts and tops go on these, longer stuff on the other half. (using "half" loosely, depends on your mix of stuff... a boy's closet can be all double-rod, for example)
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Our bathroom had zip storage space. I bought one of those shelves you put up over the toilet and a hamper/shelf combo that sits across from the toilet that I keep the towels on and hung a toilet paper roll holder off of it (installing the over toilet shelf took out the roll holder that was installed).
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    These are great ideas, thanks.

    Just a couple of days ago, husband and I were on our thrift store/closeout store shopping trip. At the closeout store that is a chain only in OK/KS, we found a folding metal shelf that fits into our rather strange pantry. The strange thing about the pantry is that it has oddly spaced shelves (fixed, not adjustable) and the bottom 40 inches has no shelves. It is quite strange for a pantry or kitchen storage. We haven't had a chance to put it together, but that is on today's agenda.

    We also found one of those over the toilet units. It is actually quite attractive (not like the ones I remember from being a kit, thankfully) and exactly the right size. husband was afraid nothing would fit there because it is an odd size between the sink and the wall. The ones at Walmart and Lowes would not fit. Even better was getting this unit that sells for $60 for just $30. It isn't a lot of added storage, and we couldn't keep small containers on it or else one of use would end up knocking them into the toilet. I cannot get the boys to put the lid down on the toilet. They DO put the seat down, so i pick my battles there.

    IC, it never occurred to me to just use rope and a dowel rod to add a second rod. Not sure why, I think I would probably have to put a piece of wood with a hole drilled out for the rod rather than handing it from the existing rod. The existing rod is't anchored well and if we are not very careful it is going to fall down. The landlord wouldn't mind the extra rod though. They have already said we can use hooks or nails in the walls anywhere, and to just use anchors or make sure we are going into a stud for whatever we want to hang.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Small, clear plastic boxes with lids that fit tightly. They're sold at Lowes as shoe storage boxes and cost $0.99 each including the lid. The lids are recessed to fit the bottoms of the bins, so they stack nicely. And since they're clear, you can easily see the contents.

    We use them to organize the children's toys. One bin per category (e.g. cars, Thomas trains, tea sets, etc). We stack them in the wall unit, and the children are allowed to take out one bin at a time. They have to pack up and put the bin away before they can take out something else to play with.

    We also use them to organize husband's and my workshop. Screws, nails, drill bits, interchangeable heads for grinding tools, sand paper...whatever odds and ends needs to be sorted and easily seen.

    Wall-mounted storage hooks. I have a row of these hanging above my desk in The Batcave (my home office). They're sturdy metal, and mounted right into the cinder block. I use them to hang calendars, wall-mounted magazine holders (which I use for specialty paper -- labels, card stock, etc.), and even as cable dressing for the snakes of wires and cables: phone charger, headset charger, etc. The cables hang neatly on the wall, with the end available to plug in whichever device needs plugging in. husband has even mounted hooks between the floor joists in the Batcave, to hang things we just don't need too often, such as extension poles for paint rollers. They're out of the way, and we know exactly where to find them.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    One thing my Dad used to do in his workshop area of the garage - he took the old babyfood jars and nailed the lids the the underside of the shelf and used the jars to hold nails, screws, etc.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You can do the same thing with small plastic containers - like 1-cup or 2-cup peanut butter "jars".
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Susiestar, if the towel rod is going to fall down, I always just butterfly (or toggle - depending upon what you call them) screws in the hole that is already there. Plastic molly screws are never strong enough. If it's already in a stud, just use longer screws, and you can shove a couple of toothpicks into the existing holes with some wood glue to make the screws fit tighter.