Three weeks ago I went and got married. We did all the parties that are associated with it – bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette party, wedding, reception, and even an after party. I was registered at Amazon and Target, and for several weeks before the big event we were receiving packages in the mail about every other day, maybe every third day. Combine that with the gift cards and money that was also coming, and later with the cashing in of the gift cards… I found myself in a unique position where I needed to pare down my belongings a little.
It’s not like I’ve never been in this position before – living at my parents’ house for the past several years and trying to cram a single-bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff into a bedroom, half an office, and half an outdoor shed made me really appreciate the duplex in which I now live. My things had the space to linger in cupboards, and if I was given a lovely new bed spread, there was a spot for it in the linen closet. My beloved husband moving in didn’t disturb my possessions very much as I had left space for him and he didn’t bring in much in the way of towels.
But now my kitchen doth overflow, and I am very happy because I can do all the baking I want! But, I had to bring in those tricks I used to use to cram more stuff into less space again. That’s when I realized (also when I was helping my then-fiance pack up all his stuff for his move) that I’m a master at the game of Tetris. When it comes to packing things away, or fitting them into a cupboard, I am the expert. Don’t know where to put your furniture? Place each piece next to the other around the perimeter of the room. Need a place to put that filing cabinet that just doesn’t fit anywhere? Consider the closet. Too many lids and not enough space for your pots? Line your pots with paper towels and stack them, then use commando strips to create a hanging place for the extra lids.
I’m the master of this ancient game of, “Where does this thing go?” Of course there are some tips (don’t worry, I’ll keep them brief).
- Remember that size only matters if it fits, and that bigger things go in the back. You see in the above picture that I have all my baking ingredients on a single shelf, with smaller things in front and bigger things in back. I also have them arranged so that if I need the sugar (big white container on the left) I only have to move a couple things out of the way.
- It doesn’t matter where it’s supposed to go in the design of your house or kitchen, it matters where you need to put it. I put the electric griddle above the vinegar and below the baking stuff because I wanted it in the kitchen and within easy reach. Also, the Crock Pot Trio is on the bottom, and the cook books are easier to reach on the shelf above it. Everything is the level of reachable-ness that I need it to be based on how much I expect to use it.
- Everything should have a system, even if you are the only one who understands that system. In the picture below, you see the “mess” that is my spice shelf. The thing is, I know exactly where everything is, even though I can’t see past the first row. Sometimes, if I’m grabbing something I don’t use as often, I’ll have to make two attempts, but in the nearly seven months I’ve been living here I only had to use a step-stool to see up there once – when I was arranging everything the day I moved in.
- It doesn’t matter what an item is meant to be used for, what matters is what you can use it for. Command Strips are my favorite tools. You can find them easily at any hardware store, they’re inexpensive, and they don’t ruin the paint on your walls. I’ve used them to hand everything from calendars to pot and pan lids, even a bead curtain. Measure twice and stick once, and you’ll be fine! And it is on our to-do list that we are going to arrange them so we can hang some pot and pan lids inside the cupboard doors. I just have to measure the ones I got to make sure the lids will fit first. I also love my filing cabinet. The top two drawers contain most of my manga collection, and this picture below is of my third drawer, where I keep our office supplies. Finally, they’re off my desk!
These are some of the things I’ve done to conserve space in my home. What sorts of things do you do to fit things in?