As requested, I’ll be doing a home-tour series. If you read my Month-By-Month Plan for the year, you saw how I divided up my home into sections. I like to focus on reorganizing a different room each month. This really breaks it down into manageable bits for me and although the room never ends up ‘perfect’ things are always getting a bit better as time goes on.
Throughout the year, I’ll be posting a photo tour of a different room each month. This is to give you an idea of how a small home (under 1,000 square foot) can stay ‘relatively’ organized (with little kids underfoot) on a shoestring budget. Yes, those are my three challenges.
I believe the secret of living in a small space lies in only keeping what you use and love. It requires you to be intentional about what you keep around and what you don’t. I’m an unabashed minimalist and have found such freedom in just having less stuff.
Staying organized with littles in the home sometimes means settling for the ‘good enough’. I don’t have a picture-perfect, magazine-inspired home, but we live here, love here, and can usually find what we’re looking for without too much stress. That’s the goal. Our home is functional, and most importantly, peaceful. Someday when my kids are older, I’ll be able to employ them to paint the bathroom a prettier color for me, but that’s just not our stage of life right now. No painting’s going on around here until the littles are old enough to not eat or fingerpaint with it.
Working with a shoestring budget means creativity and contentment come into play. I could go out and buy a $300 shelving system that would solve all my closet’s problems, but what would be the challenge in that? Budget living sometimes requires yard-sale searching, Craigslisting, or multipurposing of an unlikely items. The whole process can be fun if you set your mind to it.
So let’s get started…
In our home, we have a single bathroom which doubles as our laundry room. If you divided the room into sections, it would include the sink area…
The less-exciting, more functional area…
The shower/bathtub and laundry corner… (the cute kid is one of my favorite accessories)
A set of cabinets above our washer/dryer…
And this little corner which doubles as an open broom closet and our shoe-holding spot (since it’s close to our home exit/entry).
This spot is a prime example of putting an odd, unused corner to better use. I thrifted a flat, rectangular basket to keep our shoes in and installed some sturdy nails into the side wall to hang our broom, mop, and all-important fly-swatter.
Because I like to make things pretty without doing much work, I (thanks to pinterest) repurposed some wall-decals and stuck them to my light switch and washer and dryer. They’re entirely removable and such an easy way of adding prettiness. Besides, having ‘Every Day is A Gift’ written across your dryer door makes it hard to feel sullen about warm, fresh-smelling laundry, however mountainous it may be.
Someday, I’ll have a full linen closet that looks like this… Ta-dah!
But until then, we’ve been keeping our towels on the shelves like so.
Since each person re-uses the same towel throughout the week, we don’t need a lot of them. Since we don’t have a complete set of the same colored towels (someday, we will!), the striped towels belong to my husband and the brown ones are mine. The boys each have their own hooded towel.
In the lower right are our ‘junky’ towels that come in handy more often than you’d think. We use them to mop up spills, dry off the dogs, or to keep our kitchen from flooding when the downpour starts leaking in at 4am. (Ah yes, the adventurous life!) The red handtowels are our spare kitchen hand towels (the kitchen is right off the bathroom) and the brown hand towels are the bathroom spares.
I should point out that the towles that are in use that week are hung up on the back of our door. Since everyone has a different pattern, its easy to remember whose is whose.
I switched to hooks after realizing the profound truth of this pinterest find.
Now that I’m a towel hook convert, I’m never going back. Someday, when we have the budget for buying a set of new towels, I’m going to buy a complete set of the same color. It’ll do my type-A heart good, I think. I’d like to sew different colored ribbon loops on like these so everyone will still know which towel is theirs. (Plus, that kind of sewing project seems just on my level!)
Now that we’ve covered towels, lets continue with the cabinet tour. I keep all the bottles of pills and syrups corralled in this dollar tree basket. Do you like my little masking tape label? In the little box (actually a lid) to the right, I keep ointments, syringes, and droppers.
On the other side of that shelf, I keep my favorite nail polish colors (in the tin), polish remover, cotton balls, etc. (And a pregnancy test I’m hoping to get to use this year)
We have a shelf for our sunscreen, bug spray, and aloe vera (for sunburn) in the summer. In the winter, we also usually have chapstick and moisturizer there as well.And since my husband and I have sprained/injured a variety of different things in our life (we were both into martial arts for several years and it comes with the territory), we’ve managed to collect a shelf full of splints, braces, and heating pads.
To the side of my washer/dryer, I have this multi-tiered shelf.
The top shelf has our Great Value laundry detergent (off-topic note, but I am now searching for cheap homemade laundry detergent recipes! If you have a favorite, please post a link to it on my facebook page!). It also has a small little box I’ve repurposed to hold my stain treatments, dry-clean envelopes, and mesh bags. If I have a spare sock that loses its mate, I’ll also stick it there until the second one reappears.
Behind this shelf, I keep my baby bath seat (similar to this one) so when my child is still insecure with the whole sitting thing, he can still sit, play, and splash around without my hands holding him up the whole time.
The next shelf keeps all my bathroom cleaning supplies. I like to keep it simple. I use Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner for cleaning all our surfaces. It works well and one bottle seems to last FOREVER. I use off-brand windex for cleaning the mirror and bleach for washing my cloth diapers.
The next shelf down houses bubble bath and candles (in case the bubble bath is for the adults and not children… *cough*)
And lastly, within reach of the kiddos, I keep the wipes on the bottom shelf.
In my next post, I’ll be giving the Below-the-Sink Tour and showing how I organize my hair-styling supplies, make up, ‘man drawer’, and more. You can find Part 2 here!