We certainly don’t live in a tiny home but for our family of five, we’re constantly short on room for everything. There are only so many cupboards in a small kitchen with an endless array of water bottles. Children have their own big chests of drawers but the hand-me-downs always seem to cause an overflow. There is room under the kitchen sink but never enough for the cleaning supplies that need to be stored there. Sure, it’s not a huge house, but you’d think that someone blogging about making life easier has this all figured out.
Although there is still much room for improvement, I did learn and apply a few hacks here and there which made a real difference. Of course, they won’t let me off the hook to carefully consider if something really deserves to be in our home. And they might seem like hardly worth mentioning but I’m telling you, #4 still puts a smile on my face every time I empty a trash bin. So without further ado, here we go:
#1 Freezer space
If you happily make use of your freezer, then you might find yourself short on freezer space more often than you dare to dream of owning a second one. The one thing that saves a lot of space in a freezer is freezing food flat. The advantage is that once frozen, food can be stacked like books which makes it easier to find what you need.
In order to do that, you fill a labelled freezer bag with your intended contents, press out all remaining air and close it. Now lay the bag flat on the counter and distribute the contents throughout the entire freezer bag. Place it on a baking tray or cutting board and freeze for 2-3 hours. Remove the board or tray and stack them like books. As a bonus, your food will also defrost much quicker.
#2 Saving space in your cupboards
While it looks like a great idea to have kitchen cabinets mounted all the way up to the ceiling, in reality, it’s hard to use the top shelves without constantly running around with a step ladder. Corner cabinets are just another example of something that seemed like a better idea than it actually turned out to be.
A wonderful way to use this space is a Lazy Susan. These rotating trays can be placed on a hard-to-reach shelf and then filled with whatever you want to reach faster. Whether it’s sippy cups or mugs, coffee and tea supplies or even snacks and spices, all it takes are a few turns to reach what was formerly stored in the unreachable depths of the top shelf’s back.
Another great way to save space in your kitchen cabinets is using fabric boxes or lightweight baskets. They are great for everything that has lots of small parts like baby bottle supplies, snack containers with their unshapely lids or sippy cups. No more worries that one wrong move ends your search with an avalanche of cabinet contents.
Heavier kitchen supplies can be stored in big plastic boxes in the lower cabinets. Instead of trying to find something while kneeling on the hard kitchen floor, you pull out the box and get what you need.
And then there are these little extra shelves that you can place over your stack of plates or hang from the shelf above. They enable you to store things in an area of your cabinet which would otherwise go unused.
#3 Water bottles
Empty water bottles are often rather tall with a strong tendency to topple over at the slightest touch. They usually require a tall shelf space which cannot always be used to its full capacity. Enter, magazine holders!
You can either lay them flat on top of each other or turn them on their backs. Either way, your water bottles will find a stable home which allows you to easily grab the one you need without causing another avalanche.
#4 Trash bins
Following the teaching of keeping like things stored in the same place if possible, I used to have a spot for all of my trash bag rolls right there under the sink. Until I came across this super-useful tip: Instead of running around the house, trying to figure out which size of garbage bag you need for the bin that you just emptied, you simply keep each roll INSIDE the bin, underneath the new trash bag! It saves me so much time and I get to use the space under the sink that was formerly occupied by a bunch of trash bag rolls.
The only bin where I don’t use this system is the really messy trash in the kitchen – you know, the kind where yucky stuff seeps through a tiny rip and causes a disgusting mess. But other than that it’s an awesome way to have one less thing I need to think of.
Folding laundry with the help of a folding board Sheldon Cooper style is not geeky at all but comes with two space-saving perks: All your shirts share the same dimensions which by itself makes for a neat pile that uses up less space. If you add just one more fold they can be stored like CDs in a drawer organizer, so you easily find the one you need without causing the pile of shirts to collapse into a mess of half-foldedness.
Another plus for a folding board is that kids love using it while it ensures a decent outcome if their offer of help is being accepted. So if you haven’t thought of getting a laundry folding board (or making your own), you might want to reconsider. I believe it saves more space than the board requires for storage… 😉
So, there you have it – five seemingly small tips for how you can save space in your home when you don’t have a lot of it. However, even with all the extra room or time saved, what I enjoy most is how such simple little things can make life just a little easier and a lot more joyful. And seriously, I smile every time I change a trash bag! I hope there is something here that will have the same effect on your everyday life – doing something menial with a smile. The world needs more of that.
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