Tag Archives: City-Living

Spread the holiday cheer!

I know I’ve still been a bit spotty in my web-world appearances.  I have been sure to keep my creative juices flowing and recently entered a contest on Olioboard.  I would LOVE it if you would vote for my holiday mood board!

Post #100 and it’s all about you!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to anyone and everyone who has ever read my blog! This has been an amazing journey thus far and I am excited about what lies ahead.

For my 100th post, I want to remind you about my TWO GIVEAWAYS that end TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCTOBER 29TH. The details are below:

Win a 1-hour decorating consultation

Email me a picture of a space you would like some professional help with.The Artist’s Eye has been generous enough to offer ONE lucky reader with a one-hour design consultation. Here is what you need to know to enter for your chance to win.

  1. For this giveaway, you need to live in the D.C. metro area (no worries, I will have other giveaways for readers outside of the D.C. area).
  2. Email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 29th.
  3. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.

Win  an arrangement of coffee filter flowers

You get to pick all of the details for the arrangement. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
  3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Meand let me know and I will count an entry for you)

You can do one or all three for a better chance to win. Deadline is Friday, October 29th.

So there you have it! Many thanks again.

Bonnie

Best Home Cure Yet!

I’m so very excited to hear that Apartment Therapy will be starting its next Home Cure this coming Monday, October 18th. Better yet is their new approach.

In only 20 minutes a day for 20 days we’re all going to make our homes beautiful, organized and healthy.

So perfect! I certainly plan to follow along. I hope to share my experiences with you all and also hear about your experiences along the way.

What a great way to head into the weekend.  Also, here’s a great quote for you to consider

Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.

– Chamfort

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend.

Image from Elle Decor.

Nearly a centennial of sorts

I almost can’t believe it, but this will be my 88th post! It is amazing that I’ve posted so much since Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet started in late June. It has been a great journey thus far and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.

All of this would be nothing if it weren’t for my readers. As a token of my appreciation, I have a giveaway for one lucky reader courtesy of The Artist’s Eye. Marise Riddell is the owner of The Artist’s Eye and has been generous enough to offer a free one hour consultation.

Here is what you need to do to win….

  1. For this giveaway, you need to live in the D.C. metro area (no worries, I will have other giveaways for readers outside of the D.C. area).
  2. Email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 30th.
  3. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.

Pretty simple.

If you live in the Washintgon, D.C. metro area, I recommend you check-out The Artist’s Eye’s website for more information about their amazing services.

A very very big thank you to Marise Riddell!

Just one example of the amazing work of The Artist's Eye.

Monday Mall

Today’s holiday Monday Mall theme is – living room furniture.

White Arm Chair – $20

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999447012.html

Cool Cabinet – $25

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/fuo/1999442786.html

White Ottoman with Storage – $40

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999436370.html

Map-Themed Cabinet – $20

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999338018.html

If you would like your Craigslist item to be posted, just e-mail me the link to your item. All items must be under $50 and include a photo.

Have a great Columbus Day!

Craigslist must be cool if Nate likes it

If you don’t yet watch The Nate Berkus Show, you should. While Martha Stewart remains my icon, Nate is certainly a close second. After watching yesterday’s show about shopping your own home to “Reinvent Your Living Space!”, I was browsing Nate’s website – which is amazing – and came across Nate’s tips to “Be A Craigslist-Savvy Furniture Shopper“.

As a follow-up to my Monday Mall post, I thought it would be great to share interior design expert Christina Salway‘s tips for shopping on Craigslist.com.

1. Stay on the Lookout

Scour Craigslist ads regularly! I try to shop every other evening, but if you don’t have time to scroll through the listings that frequently, try and look at least every Saturday morning when there are lots of new postings and people are available to sell items over the weekend. You can always do this in front of a movie or your favorite show each evening!

2. Shop Specifically

Know what you’re looking for and “shop specifically.” If you are looking to furnish your dining room and know you love modern furniture, literally search for a “Modern Dining Table” on Craigslist. This will help to eliminate a lot of the postings that aren’t right for you. Better yet, if you know a particular brand that you love, or a piece of furniture made by a specific company, you can look using those details to help hone your search on Craigslist.

3. Consider the Space

Make sure you consider all of the measurements when you’re buying on Craigslist. Unlike big-box stores, people don’t usually accept returns on Craigslist, so be absolutely positive that your new piece will fit through your front door, and that it will fit nicely into the space where you envision it. It can be helpful to use blue-painter’s tape to map out exactly how and where a piece will fit to ensure that it is the right match for your needs.

4. Ask Away!

Ask lots of questions before you go to see the piece: Does it come from a home with pets? A smoke-free home? Why are you getting rid of the piece?

5. No Pressure

Don’t feel strong-armed into buying anything you don’t want. If you ask about a piece and then decide you don’t want it, you are under no obligation to buy it. If you visit a piece and it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you don’t have to buy it. Don’t let anyone guilt you into anything you don’t want.

6. Don’t Go It Alone

Never go to anyone’s home alone – always bring a friend. They can help you judge the piece, help you carry the piece, and they’ll keep you safe!

7. Be A Smart Shopper

Look for good details to ensure that you’re getting a well made piece of furniture. Authentic, older pieces tend to hold up better than brand new big-box discount furniture. Just because it is cheap, doesn’t make it a bargain!

From: http://www.thenateshow.com/tipsandtools/detail/tips-for-buying-second-hand-through-craigslist

Happy Shopping!

Reuse, Recycle…Capital Home Show Recap

As you already know, I went to the Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo this past Saturday. This was my first experience at any sort of home show so I didn’t have any real expectations.

We got to the home show around noon and spent maybe a total of an hour and a half or two hours browsing the two buildings. It was quite the hodge podge of exhibitors – everything from flooring, to remodeling, to microdermabrasion to purses and jewelry – definitely unexpected. The exhibitors seemed to be geared towards home remodeling and big ticket items which was a bit disappointing for me as I was hoping for more interior decorating and low-budget solutions, but again I had no idea what to expect. Another minor disappointment was that most of the decorators that were there were from the Virginia area – I don’t think I met any from D.C. or Maryland.

My favorite part of the home show was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore display.

Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public
While every ReStore is a little different, most focus on home improvement goods like furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances.

ReStores accept donated goods which are sold to the general public at a fraction of the retail price. The proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities. (From: http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx)

The displays kept in theme with ReStore’s of reusing and recycling materials. Here are some pictures from my favorite display – Urban Chic.

The designer said that this space was designed with the young woman living in Ballston, VA in mind. Approximately 90% of the items in the display are from ReStore. The chairs are adorable! They are from ReStore but have been reupholstered using only a glue gun and a staple gun.

These great shelves are meant from the fronts of cabinets.

This side table was my favorite part of the display. Believe it or not it is made from one of those gaudy old brass chandeliers. While I think I am pretty creative, I don’t know if I would’ve ever thought of this. I love it!

So there you have it – my first home show experience. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Dynamic Design

I have been struggling, since Friday, with the management of my apartment building. While I was enjoying my week off last week, I also began to have some upper respiratory issues. I eventually figured out that I only had problems when the HVAC (air conditioning) unit was turned on. After mentioning my concerns about potential mold to management on Friday (9/17/2010) and being brushed-off, my boyfriend and I were able to open the unit partially to find this:

While I’m not a scientist or an expert, this looked a lot like mold to me. Long-story made short, I have not been sleeping my in apartment since Thursday night. I’ve been in a bit of a battle with my building’s management to get them to resolve this issue.

I’m a fan of quotes, and came across this one in my blog-reading and researching today

From success to failure is one step; from failure to success is a long road.

– Yiddish Proverb

Happy Tuesday everyone, and don’t forget to let me know what topics you would like to discuss.

Two weeks of freedom!

I had my last day as a “Research Analyst” on Friday, September 10th. My first day working as a “Fed” (Federal Government Employee) isn’t until September 27th. This means I have two full weeks of NO WORK!

I can’t remember a time, since I’ve been able to work at 15 years-old, when I had two weeks with absolutely no work and no obligations. It’s beyond amazing. I’m a few days in and still loving it. I’ve decided to use this time for a few different things:

  • Fitness. In the last year, with my health finally in check, my workout schedule has been sporadic. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy yoga. I hope to use the next two weeks to get into more of a routine with my physical fitness.
  • Crafts. I have lots of half-started projects that I would either like to finish or get much further on.
  • Decorating. I’d like to finish-up my office area decorating and organization and then move on to my closet.
  • Learning to build a Web Site. I would like to take this blog to another level, but don’t have the technical know-how. With the help of the library, a tech savvy friend, online tutorials and a lot of patience, I hope to learn a bit more about web design.
  • Getting ready for my job. I need suits. My previous job had no dress code – literally. I’m used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work. This will go along with cleaning out, organizing and styling my closet as I will need to go through my clothes to determine what work clothes I need to purchase.
  • Dotting my “i”s and crossing my “t”s. I haven’t been eating the best lately. This is entirely due to laziness. The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook a meal. This needs to stop. I need to figure out what steps to take in order to make cooking more enjoyable and easier. I also want to make sure I at least start this new portion of my life with as much organization as possible.

I could ramble on and on about how amazing these two weeks will be and how much I have grown and changed in the past year, but I won’t.

The weather is gorgeous in D.C. and I hope it is where ever you are as well. Have a great Tuesday and don’t forget to e-mail me your space redecoration pictures!

My cat, Lola, enjoying the sun and fresh air on my newly recovered chair.

Wishful Wednesday

Sorry, but today’s post will be a bit short. Being that I have been quite the procrastinator at work as of late, I have some catching up to do today.

I thought I’d switch it up and list some ideas that I daydream about rather than sharing some images of my dream spaces.

I wish…

  • I owned my place. I had set a ridiculous goal of owning a home by the time I was 25 and clearly didn’t meet that. Now, being a bit more realistic, I’d like to own something before I’m 30.
  • that my apartment had another door. By that I mean, a bedroom. Not sure why, but sometimes I just want to be able to get away from stuff and close a door so I don’t see it. In the meantime, my bookcase divider will do.
  • interior decorating was my full-time job. I love this opportunity to be creative. While I do enjoy being a nerd, the 9 to 5 sitting at a desk really conflicts with my ADHD.
  • I was a super model. Doesn’t everyone?

Happy hump day readers! Also, don’t forget to e-mail me with any great projects you’ve completed, have questions about, etc.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 1

I hope that you all have enjoyed redecorating your space as I did! I’m just about done with my living room – The final step needs a little bit of help from my boyfriend. I love how my space has been transformed.

As I have with previous projects, I’, going to share with you how I made it to my wonderful final space!

My living room has been a constant work-in-progress. If you remember on of my earlier posts, I at first struggled with my small efficiency/studio looking like one big dorm room. Being that my futon is mobile so to speak, I first tackled that problem by making a slip-cover. While this definitely helped the situation, I still feel that this space has much more potential. Here are some photo of my living room space to remind you just what it looks like.

Step 1 of redecorating just about any space is “Inventory and Survey”.

First, I needed to take stock of what I was working with. Being on a budget, I need to work with most of what I have. Not so easy seeing as in my mind I want this space to look completely different when its done.

So there you have it – this is the inventory of my living room situation pre-redecoration. As you can see it doesn’t look like the prettiest, most stylish or cohesive little space.

Here is my apartment’s floor plan:

As you can see, I’m working with a pretty limited amount of space. Additionally, being that my apartment is an efficiency I will need to focus on defining my living room space.

To start, I identified specific problems with my living room that I would like to fix:

  1. How can I make my living space seem more like a living room? This is a problem I think most studio/efficiency dwellers face. While I embrace that it is all one big room, I still want to make various spaces seem separated and defined.
  2. I want to be just a little more grown up. I took care of the mobile appearance of my futon/couch, but still feel like this space has a just out of college feel. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want to have a more sophisticated and pulled together look for this space in particular.
  3. How do I give it some sense of its own style? This is another problem that faces many studio dwellers and even those living in very small apartments. It can be challenging to give a particular room or space a defined style while trying to get the styles of other spaces and rooms to blend.

So many problems, such a small budget….

Getting a little personal

Apparently when I said I would post a little later, I meant MUCH later – my bad.

I thought I would get a little personal today.

I’ve loved writing this blog for the past 2 months! I’ve enjoyed sharing my ideas, experiences and projects while also sprucing up my own apartment. When I first started this blog, I’m not sure I had any real plans beyond just writing a few posts about my decorating projects. Since then, a lot has changed – my small plans have turned into big ideas and my life has been on a bit of a roller coaster.

BIG Ideas. I’m a dreamer a heart and have a creative spirit that I’ve apparently suppressed for the past decade. In the past year-ish, I have been discovering quite a bit about myself and as a result, I’ve grown and changed. All for the good (at least in my humble opinion). To make a long-story short, I have been toying with the idea of starting my own business.

My bestest (translation: best friend) and I have been meeting up every two weeks to work on a business proposal and explore the possibilities, obstacles and intricacies of starting a business. I think I have a name picked out, and am very anxious to get something started.

To be completely honest, this is all getting a bit scary.

My Roller Coaster of a Life. This year has been eventful to say the least! After several years of single-dom, I started dating an amazing guy in July 2009. I have decided to cope with some deep-seeded issues from my past. My ‘step-cousin’ died in a car accident at age 20. Most recently, my mentor and role model died of pancreatic cancer.There you have it – a very brief description of the past year.

There is just one more thing – my job. I have been job searching since January and was given a conditional offer from a government agency in June. All wonderful, except that for the clearance they had to contact my current employer. To make another long-story short, my employer has already hired my replacement. My replacement has started working and works in the cubicle next to me – awkward. My last day at my current job will be Friday, October 29, 2010. While I now have a conditional offer, I don’t have a start date from either agency as my clearance is still in progress. As you may have already figured out – I will, as of now, be unemployed for the first time since I was of working age (15 I think) in my life. Frightening!

So there you have it.

I’ve been able to post so frequently at the start as I have completely checked-out in my current 9 to 5 position. I have realized, however, that I need to check back in, at least a little bit. This is where you finally see how this sh*t-show affects you.

I will have to cut-down my frequency of posting. I will post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Should I become an occasional slacker at work, I may add an extra post or 3. Just wanted to give you all a heads-up.

I’m so grateful to all of my readers. I can’t tell you how happy your comments make me (to know that someone is actually reading and cares a bit). Keep reading and I hope that you all will start to share your spaces and decorating projects and challenges with me (email: fab400sqft@yahoo.com).

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!

Pretty please – with a cherry on top! CB2 and photographer Todd Selby are hosting a contest called “The Selby is in Your Place”. Each entry can post 3 photos of their “most creative space” and are then voted on until September 15 at 11:59pm. The top 50 vote-getters advance to be judged by Todd Selby and CB2 for “their creativity and originality”. The grand prize is $10,000!!

Please please please vote for me and encourage many many others to as well :-).

Who doesn’t love steps?

step -noun:a movement made by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, accompanied by a shifting of the weight of the body in the direction of the new position, as in walking, running, or dancing. (From: dictionary.com)

I certainly do. I love all sorts of steps – the ones you climb (great workout!), steps of the corporate ladder, and most of all how-to steps.

For most of my life, I never knew that I was ADHD, and therefore, was un-medicated until the middle of my undergraduate years. As a result, I had unknowingly taught myself methods and systems to help me be successful. Looking back, I’ve learned that one of those systems, which I still use today, is breaking tasks, or pretty much anything, down into steps.

You will notice that I did this earlier with my 5 Steps to a More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen. These weren’t just steps I made up to help explain to others, but they were steps I had applied to help myself accomplish this task. Now that I am correctly diagnosed with ADHD, I find that I still break down tasks into steps for several reasons:

  1. A sense of accomplishment. Each time a step is completed a goal has been reached. This great feeling of accomplishment and completion can be a motivator to continue on in the project and help when you are losing focus. With steps, you do not need to wait until everything is 100% completed in order to feel accomplishment.
  2. Less overwhelming. When approaching a task, particularly a large or important one, it is easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed. This can be discouraging. To prevent this, breaking it down into steps allows for the once large task to be viewed as several smaller ones.
  3. Keeping on task. I have purposefully made steps very focused. There aren’t several tasks or goals to be accomplished in each step – just one. This helps prevent being easily distracted and taken off-track or off-task.
  4. Time management. Large project can be time-consuming. While recognizing that is a start in planning and scheduling your time, it’s often not enough. It can be challenging to determine how much time a project will take especially if it is something you have never done before. Defined steps provide individuals tasks or goals which are much easier to schedule.

I know that recognizing this organizational method I have used for years, and applying it to most things I take on, has certainly helped me to get to where I am today. As such, I figured I should be a bit more methodical in the projects I share in the event you would like to try them at home (which I hope you do). I will begin by breaking down the redecoration of my living room into more defined steps.

Who doesn't love steps?

step -noun:a movement made by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, accompanied by a shifting of the weight of the body in the direction of the new position, as in walking, running, or dancing. (From: dictionary.com)

I certainly do. I love all sorts of steps – the ones you climb (great workout!), steps of the corporate ladder, and most of all how-to steps.

For most of my life, I never knew that I was ADHD, and therefore, was un-medicated until the middle of my undergraduate years. As a result, I had unknowingly taught myself methods and systems to help me be successful. Looking back, I’ve learned that one of those systems, which I still use today, is breaking tasks, or pretty much anything, down into steps.

You will notice that I did this earlier with my 5 Steps to a More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen. These weren’t just steps I made up to help explain to others, but they were steps I had applied to help myself accomplish this task. Now that I am correctly diagnosed with ADHD, I find that I still break down tasks into steps for several reasons:

  1. A sense of accomplishment. Each time a step is completed a goal has been reached. This great feeling of accomplishment and completion can be a motivator to continue on in the project and help when you are losing focus. With steps, you do not need to wait until everything is 100% completed in order to feel accomplishment.
  2. Less overwhelming. When approaching a task, particularly a large or important one, it is easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed. This can be discouraging. To prevent this, breaking it down into steps allows for the once large task to be viewed as several smaller ones.
  3. Keeping on task. I have purposefully made steps very focused. There aren’t several tasks or goals to be accomplished in each step – just one. This helps prevent being easily distracted and taken off-track or off-task.
  4. Time management. Large project can be time-consuming. While recognizing that is a start in planning and scheduling your time, it’s often not enough. It can be challenging to determine how much time a project will take especially if it is something you have never done before. Defined steps provide individuals tasks or goals which are much easier to schedule.

I know that recognizing this organizational method I have used for years, and applying it to most things I take on, has certainly helped me to get to where I am today. As such, I figured I should be a bit more methodical in the projects I share in the event you would like to try them at home (which I hope you do). I will begin by breaking down the redecoration of my living room into more defined steps.

Design Dissection: My more organized and usable small kitchen (Part 2)

I’m so excited! I finally received all of my purchases and had some time to put everything into place last night. I love love love the result.

I already walked you through how I completed steps 1 thru 4 of my process. Here is what I did to complete the 5th and final step:

Step 5: Implement

In Part 1 of this Design Dissection, I mentioned to you my acquisition decisions and now you will get to see how I was able to utilize them to improve my very small kitchen space.

Starting with my entryway/kitchen closet and pantry:

  • I did not make any big purchases for the first half of this closet even though it looks completely different and is much more organized.
  • I had previously had a plastic drawer that I used for cleaning storage. Under the side table in my living room, I had two more plastic drawers that stacked together. By cleaning  out the two drawers under my side table, I not only got rid of many things I simply didn’t need or know I had, but I also created two more drawers to be used in my closet. I stacked all three next to the coat bag in the closet. The bottom drawer contained candles and air freshener in its old location, and since I kept some of these I simply kept them in the drawer when I moved it to the closet. The middle drawer was already in my closet and didn’t need any cleaning out. The top drawer I was now empty to use as needed! This turned into part of the storage for my plastic containers and serving dishes. While these drawers had been purchased years ago – you can still buy them at The Container Store and they are currently on sale for $16.99 each.
  • Remember all of those large containers and pans on top of my cabinets? They are no longer there. I have now stored them on top of the three stacked drawers so they are out of sight!
  • Being the frugalista that I am, I needed to find a way to use that three-tier hanging basket I purchased. One of my biggest storage frustrations is my plastic container storage. No matter how many times I have reorganized them they inevitably end up in a mess a few weeks later. I figured that the solution to this problem was more accessible and visible storage which was perfectly solved by the hanging baskets! The containers are easily visible to me when I need to find one, but still out of sight in the closet.
  • The top shelf of the left half of this closet didn’t need any real organizing this time around. A few months ago I had reorganized this shelf by using an expanding shelf that I already owned to make the space more functional. Using this shelf allowed me to better see and access the sandwich bags, garbage bags and what-not I had stored there. This shelf is also not factored into my budget, but you can still purchase it at The Container Store.
  • The other half of my closet is more for food storage. Here I already owner an ELFA organizer from The Container Store. This has been great addition storage for my pantry. As part of this project, I cleaned out the drawers and reorganized the space with my new storage purchases.
  • My favorite purchase for this project is the hanging shelf I bought for my pantry. This has allowed me to finally make use of the empty space above my ELFA unit and utilize the closet pole.
  • For the top shelf, I purchased a can dispenser. I also used many of the plastic storage containers I purchased to store my bulk items (ie. flour, pasta, sugar, etc.).
  • Lastly, I was stuck on how to best organize the many bottles on this shelf. My struggle has been finding a way to see and access all of them easily. My aha! moment (thanks to my best friend) was using the lazy suzan I had on my dining table for these bottles. I couldn’t have imagined a better solution!

Moving to the other half of my kitchen, I also reorganized my cabinets. I was thrilled at the amount of space I opened up through this project. Much of the space was not so much from discarding old or unwanted items but from simply better utilizing the space I had.

  • I have three cabinets above my stove and sink, as well as, two hard to reach cabinets above my refrigerator. The only item I purchased for this part of the project was an expandable tiered shelf for my spices.
  • For the cabinets below my counter-top, I had done much of this reorganizing earlier. One great idea to help contain the cleaning supplies under my sink was to use a plastic container. This not only contains them but also allows me to take the whole container out with everything I need for cleaning.

There you have it! My newly reorganized and much more usable small kitchen!

Design Dissection: My more organized and usable small kitchen (Part 1)

Steps 1 – 4:

Inventory: It was great to fully empty all of my closets and cabinets. I realized I had quite a few expired food items. I finally cleaned out my food storage containers and now have a top for every bottom. It was almost odd to see my closet and cabinets empty.

Cleaning: I actually really enjoy cleaning, so I am always up for making time for a thorough cleaning. I must say that now having everything out of the closet and cabinets there were definitely some corners that needed to see a vacuum. It was great to see my kitchen in tip-top shape.

Inspiration: Searching for inspiration for this project was a bit different from other redecorating projects I’ve done. I needed to find organizational inspiration. I sought to find pictures that explained: What does organization look like to me? I looked for photos of spaces that appeared uncluttered, easy to access and practical for my budget (we weren’t going to be building any amazing cabinets in my rental). Here are some of my findings:

Shopping: As you already know this is my favorite part! Fortunately, I had already made some attempts at organizing so I had a few things I could use, but I definitely needed to make some organizational investments as well. For me, I have realized that part of making a space feel organized is cohesiveness. Things need to seem to match for my mind to feel like they are organized. Since I already own a white Elfa storage unit from The Container Store, I kept with white for most of my other organizational items.

While taking inventory of my pantry and cabinets, I realized I had quite a few items that would be better stored in plastic containers than their original packaging, such as – flour, sugar, oatmeal, rice, pasta, crackers, chips, nuts, cat food, etc. (I already had storage containers for my cereal). I found some great Snapware containers that come in tons of sizes and considered how much storage I would need for each item.

Being that I have such limited reachable cabinet space, my one kitchen drawer and the cabinet I use for many of my cooking and baking utensils were very crowded. I realized that this was in large part because I owned many sets of measuring spoons and cups that were all over the place and hard to find. It is very hard for me to rationalize purchasing something when I already own something that does the same job; however, I finally broke down and bought some great space-saving measuring spoons, measuring cups and a colander. I also purchased three containers for my silverware which had previously all been dumped into one container and would take me a while to find the silverware I needed. For my upper cabinets, I found a great expandable shelf at The Container Store that would allow me to stack spices so that I could much more easily see where things were.

My last organizational obstacle was my closet/pantry. I already owned a shelf that I could use to create more usable and visible storage space. I realized, however, that it seemed there was a large amount of space between the shelf and my Elfa unit that was unused. Being a rental I couldn’t make any major shelf installations, so I decided that the best way to utilize this space would be to take advantage of the closet bar and buy some hanging storage items. I purchased a hanging shelf which I found by looking through clothing storage items. Lastly, I purchased a 3 tier hanging basket that I think I may hang outside of the closet from the ceiling.

So there you have it, and here I am waiting for the last of my purchases to arrive. I am waiting for the 2 hanging units and they are supposed to be delivered next Tuesday (7/27). Until then, I’m at a bit of a stand still with organizing.

Now that I have a clean and organized kitchen – how do I give it more color, or are the plates and posters I’ve added as part of my “entryway” makeover enough? What do you think?

A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen – Step 5: Implement

Now that you have all of your great new or re-purposed organizing materials, its time to put them to work. Here are some things to consider when deciding how to reorganize your kitchen:

  • Accessibility: What do you use most often? If you are like me and like to bake often, it is not a good idea to keep the flour on a top hard to reach shelf. Make sure that the items you use most often are most easily accessible.
  • Like things go together: This may not work with your organizational style, but for me, I like to keep like items together. For instance, all of my baking supplies are in the same cabinet; I keep all of my 100 calorie pack cookies and chocolates in the same drawer of my pantry storage unit. Similarly, I like to keep food items and cooking tools separate.
  • Keep the counters clean: While it may be tempting to put some of your organizing tools on your counter, I would recommend avoiding this if possible. One item on the counter may lead to two, which may lead to clutter.
  • Micro-Organize: It is not always good enough to just put things in a drawer or on a shelf. Organize that drawer or shelf. If its silverware – purchase dividers so each utensil is easily found. For cans, I have a ‘can dispenser’ of sorts where tomato sauce is kept on one level and salsa on another, etc.
  • Utilize every inch: When working with a small kitchen, every inch of space counts.
  • Everything needs a home: I have found that if an item doesn’t have a set storage location it often is never put away or is constantly in the way.

While this is step 5 of 5, there is still one more step – Re-evaluate. Now that you have all of your acquisitions put to use in your space, re-evaluate how things are working. Is a particular system of organizing not nearly as convenient as you thought? – Change it. Don’t be afraid to make changes. No one is judging you for trying an idea and then realizing it wasn’t so great in practice.

This is your space – your small kitchen. Make it feel like yours.