Tag Archives: Storage

Tiny Tuesday: Storage headboard

My break ended up being longer than I’d planned, but I needed it. I’m still trying to get a handle on the stress-related health issues I mentioned earlier, but taking a week and a half to catch my breath and open up my schedule helped a lot. I expect the New Mexico trip we’re planning this spring will make a big difference, too.

Anyway … here’s my latest project. I got to looking at those IKEA shoe bins I bought a while back and realized they were just about the right width to line up side by side and make a headboard for our bed, which didn’t have one. We took a trip up to St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, and I picked up two sets of the bins (the style is called TRONES, in case you’re interested) and hung them in a double row above the bed to store socks, underwear, and broomstick skirts. The little indentations on the tops provide a perfect spot to hold an alarm clock and glasses.

I need to move the dreamcatcher, which looks sort of awkward now, but I like this setup.
I need to move the dreamcatcher, which looks sort of awkward now, but I like this setup.

The bins freed up some space in my storage cubes, which I moved into the closet (as it turns out, they’re just the right size to set on top of the built-in shelf that conceals the basement-landing clearance), and that, in turn, opened up more floor space in the bedroom. Floor space is good. I like floor space.

Ron has promised to inventory his clothes and let me put some of the excess in space bags, and once that’s done, I’m probably going to treat myself to some more shelving and storage options in there.

Baby steps, but all in the right direction.

Emily

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Tiny Tuesday: Merry minimalism

When I bought my Christmas tree, I wasn’t dreaming of living in a tiny house. I didn’t even know tiny houses existed. I just wanted a cool retro tree that would fit in my apartment.

Seventeen years and four moves later, I appreciate my shiny, easy-to-assemble aluminum Christmas tree as much for its space-saving design as for its great atomic-era look.

I’m not suggesting everybody who’s considering a tiny house should rush out and buy an aluminum tree and color wheel, but as I was taking mine down, it occurred to me that of all the things I’ll have to shrink when we finally build that tiny house in northeastern New Mexico, my Christmas tree isn’t one of them.

I have a few other decorations, but they usually stay in storage; the ones I get out just about every year are the tree (with matching green and red glass balls hanging from its branches and a color wheel underneath to illuminate it) and the little plastic creche my mom bought for me at Ben Franklin when I was 3 or 4 years old:

Next year, I might put the end table in the garage and spring for a full-size aluminum tree with the branches that have the big flared ends. I'm betting it will still pack down to a reasonable size.
Next year, I might put the end table in the garage and spring for a full-size aluminum tree with the branches that have the big flared ends. I’m betting it will still pack down to a reasonable size.

In the featured image and the one below, you can see what the tree looks like when it’s packed into its box:

Gratuitous picture of the box, just because the graphic design is great.
Gratuitous picture of the box, just because the graphic design is great.

Below is the whole setup, packed and ready to be stashed in a plastic storage tub in the garage:

Tree on the left, color wheel on the right, and a 24-pack of glass ornaments on the bottom. I've no idea where the box for the creche went. It vanished several years ago.
Tree on the left, color wheel on the right, and a 24-pack of glass ornaments on the bottom. I’ve no idea where the box for the creche went. It vanished several years ago.

If your holiday decorations are taking over your attic or spilling out of the closets, I can wholeheartedly recommend a throwback Christmas tree, ca. 1958, for ease of assembly, disassembly, and storage.

Emily

Tiny Tuesday: Bed risers

When we lived in Tulsa, our house was 950 square feet, divided into a smallish kitchen, large living room, and three bedrooms, none really big enough to accommodate a bed and separate dresser.

Our solution to this problem was to buy a waterbed frame with built-in storage drawers and get rid of our dresser. This was kind of a shame (the dresser was a great blonde mid-century piece with matching chest of drawers), but we just didn’t have room for it.

Sadly, the bed was of dubious quality, so instead of hauling it cross-country, we gave it away before we moved, which left me with a mountain of clothes and nowhere to put them. Plastic storage drawers aren’t the most visually appealing solution to that problem, so at my earliest convenience, I bought myself a set of bed risers and a couple of underbed storage tubs.

Risers come in varying heights, and some of the newer ones even have built-in cellphone chargers and electrical outlets. Besides being cheaper than a bed with built-in storage, risers are much lighter, which is something to consider if you’re planning to put your tiny house on wheels. (We’re not, but a lot of people do.)

The down side of bed risers — and the reason I don’t have any pictures of ours to share — is the “rise” part. I didn’t mind the elevation, but Ron found it uncomfortable.

I’d already reduced my clothing inventory to something resemblng a capsule wardrobe, but he still had a lot more clothes than he needed, so I made him a deal: The bed would come off the risers as soon as he freed up enough room in the closet to accommodate everything we were storing under it.

Two Goodwill runs later, the bed came down.

If you don’t mind the height, however, I can wholeheartedly recommend risers as an effective way to maximize storage space.

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, I’ll show you how we store clothes in a bedroom that’s not quite big enough for a full-sized dresser.

Emily

Tiny Tuesday: Hang a basket on the wall

This functional basket replaced a cute but useless plaque next to the shower.
This functional basket replaced a cute but useless plaque next to the shower.

Baskets seem to be a theme lately — and for good reason: In a small space, a well-placed basket can mean the difference between a cluttered mess and an attractive living area.

Our bathroom didn’t look terribly cluttered, but some of my storage strategies weren’t as convenient as they could have been. Case in point: washcloths. I had the washcloths stacked in the cabinet above the toilet — neat and out of sight, but nowhere near the shower, which seems silly. Meanwhile, I noticed some more underutilized space above the towel ring between the medicine cabinet and the shower, so I decided to take down the decorative plaque that was hanging there and replace it with a water-hyacinth basket.

A single-unit storage cube would have fit in that space, too, but the one I had on hand was an open-backed model that would have been a pain to hang up, as I would have needed special mounting hardware. All I needed was a place to store a stack of washcloths and maybe an extra bar of soap or two within easy reach of the shower. As you can see, the basket serves that purpose nicely, and being made of natural materials (or maybe crumpled paper designed to look like natural materials), it will coordinate well with the rest of the bathroom when I finish painting my faux-stone mural in there.

When we build our tiny house, I’m planning a permanent structure, but a lot of tiny-house enthusiasts like to build theirs on trailers to avoid some building-code hassles and allow themselves freedom to travel without leaving the comforts of home. If that’s the direction you’re considering, you’ll want to swap shelves and cabinets for baskets wherever possible to keep your home’s weight down. (And yes, I’ll explain the building-code workaround I’m planning in a future post.)

Emily

Tiny Tuesday: Over-the-door basket

Yet another product-review-type post: I was at the hardware store the other day and found a nice assortment of cabinet organizers of various types, including some fairly elaborate slide-out racks and trash bins and drawers that looked promising but way more expensive and elaborate than I felt like messing with just then. (File those under “worthy of further research.”)

I couldn’t spare the time or money to buy any of the fancy organizers, but I found a great little wire basket that hangs over the back of the cabinet door next to the stove, allowing me to reclaim yet another underutilized space. It’s not a huge basket, but it’s big enough to hold a couple of water bottles, my apple corer and slicer, and my small bamboo cutting board, which I use all the time. (It’s not in the picture because I’d just used it, actually.)

Reclaimed a little space with this basket and got those bottles up off the bottom of the cabinet so they'd stop tipping over and falling out every time I opened it.
Reclaimed a little space with this basket and got those bottles up off the bottom of the cabinet so they’d stop tipping over and falling out every time I opened it.

I got my basket at Lowe’s for about $12, but I’ve seen similar products elsewhere and can’t imagine one would really be much different from another.

Emily

Disclaimer: As always, I just posted about this product because I found it useful and thought somebody else might, too. Nobody paid me or gave me free products or anything.

Tiny Tuesday: IKEA shoe bin

As always, product reviews are provided as a service to readers. Nobody gave me any money or free products or anything like that. But if somebody would like to give me free stuff to review, I’d certainly entertain offers to that effect.

As I mentioned last week, we made an IKEA run a couple of weekends ago, and I picked up a bunch of stuff that looked handy. One of the things I was really excited about buying was a set of plastic shoe-storage bins I’d inexplicably passed up on a couple of previous trips.

I’d been storing some of the stuff I use outdoors in a peach box on top of a small plant stand near the back door in the kitchen, with several other items stashed in a wall-mounted flowerpot I’d picked up at Target a couple of years ago. That setup was convenient, but it was starting to look pretty cluttered, so I decided I’d buy a set of those shoe bins and hang them on the wall below the planter.

That would have worked fine if the measurements had been clearer, but they weren’t, and I didn’t have a tape measure with me, so I ended up with a nice set of wall-mounted bins that wouldn’t fit on the wall I had in mind.

No matter; I’ve been on a hang-stuff-off-the-sides-of-the-cabinets kick lately, so I decided to move the plant stand out to the front porch and attached one of the bins to the side of the cabinet, where it now stores an assortment of gloves, tools, mosquito dunks, beekeeping equipment, and various other items.

Everything in this corner is hanging up because I can't set anything on the floor without blocking the heat register.
Everything in this corner is hanging up because I can’t set anything on the floor without blocking the heat register.
For a relatively shallow bin, this thing really stores a lot of stuff.
For a relatively shallow bin, this thing really stores a lot of stuff.
From this angle, the single bin has sort of a toilet-tank aesthetic, but it looks better in real life.
From this angle, the single bin has sort of a toilet-tank aesthetic, but it looks better in real life.

The other two bins went to live in the bedroom, where they’re currently storing socks and underwear, although I’m thinking of moving them to the office and hanging them above Song’s crate to store leashes and stuff instead.

They’re plastic, and you’re not going to fool anybody into thinking they’re not plastic, but they’re handy, relatively cheap ($40 for a set of three), and look a lot better than having a lot of small items out in the open, cluttering up a table or shelf. I can think of several ways they’d work well in a tiny house. Highly recommended.

Emily

Tiny Tuesday: Magnetic knife block

FYI: We made an IKEA run last weekend, so my next three entries are probably going to be extolling the merits of my purchases. As always, I wasn’t paid anything or given any free products to endorse; if something is posted here, it’s because I tried it and liked it and thought somebody else might, too.

I think it might be illegal to pin a picture of a tiny house that does not include the obligatory magnetic knife bar mounted on the wall above the backsplash. They certainly show up regularly. I usually ignore them, because as much as I love saving space, I am completely unwilling to get rid of the freestanding knife block Ron bought me a few years ago:

Ron bought this for me shortly after I was hired as a crime reporter for the paper here. Don't act like you're not jealous.
Ron bought this for me shortly after I was hired as a crime reporter for the paper here. Don’t act like you’re not jealous.

While I was at IKEA in St. Louis last Friday, however, I noticed they’d dropped the price of their magnetic knife bars to $9, and I decided one of them might be perfect for all the awkwardly shaped or oversized kitchen tools I couldn’t quite fit on the back of the cabinet the other day.

It was, indeed, perfect. All of my big spoons are now out where I can reach them easily, and I’ve saved a little space in the cabinet drawers and on the counter.

Very handy, very easy to install, and highly recommended. Mine happens to be an IKEA product, but in looking online, I found everybody from Target to Williams-Sonoma seems to carry them, in prices ranging from $5 all the way up to $50. I can’t imagine there’d be much difference among manufacturers — there are only so many ways you can put magnets in a metal case and hang them on a wall, right? — but it’s probably worth reading reviews before you order, just to be sure.

Emily