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Five ways to create more space in your home

Five ways to create more space in your home

By guest blogger Casey Hazlett, Sustainably Organized, Inc.

Are you looking for more space to provide storage and organization in your home this year?

Look no further than these five places to refresh your space and repurpose what you already have to fit your family.

1.       Guest bedroom

If a guest bedroom has turned into the catch-all space in your home, consider how to flex the space so it works for you when you need it. Maybe turning the space into a playroom or office space that can shift to a guest room when the occasion arises.

Create more room by getting a murphy bed with a quality mattress to free up floor space. If you need art space for the kids, paint the bottom of the murphy bed with chalkboard paint so they can be creative when the bed is not in use.

2.       Attic or basement

Think about what you need to store and avoid piling just anything in these spaces. Store items that you only need a few times a year, like holiday décor or clothes for your kids when they grow into them. Line the perimeter of the room with shelves with storage bins, keeping the middle open for easy access. Only buy new bins – or reuse something you already have – once you know what’s going to go in them and where are they going to be stored. Don’t forget to label at least two sides of each bin so you can know what’s inside even if the bin gets turned sideways.

3.       Doors

Take advantage of the space behind doors for extra storage by using an over-the-door hanging organizer. Is it the door to the bathroom? Use it for overflow or rarely used toiletries and keep only what you use every day in the bathroom cabinets. Is it the door for the coat closet? Use it for mittens, hats and everything you need to keep warm during the winter months and get out the door faster with less stress in the mornings.

4.       Office

Casey organizing boxes and making space for a client.

Casey organizing boxes and making space for a client.

If your New Year’s resolution includes organizing your home office, take the time to set up the desk to be ergonomically comfortable. Now may be the time to try a standing desk. If your monitor or laptop needs to be higher to get it at eye level, repurpose something you already own, like a box or drawer, to set your laptop or monitor on. Use the bin or drawer for additional office supply storage.

5.       Vertical space

Look for unused vertical space in every room. Do you have space to install shelves to create more storage and help you stay organized? Think about space above the toilet or to the sides of the sink in the bathroom. These are great for often used bathroom supplies. Do you have a partial empty wall in the living room? Use it as a place to set up a household command station.


Make room at home and enjoy the holidays more

Make room at home and enjoy the holidays more

By guest blogger Casey Hazlett, Sustainably Organized, Inc.

Enjoy the holidays rather than just survive them: Consider these tips to create a plan.

Tip 1: Determine how much time you need to get ready for the holidays

No matter how much time you think you need – double it! This allows time for the unexpected and a little extra relaxation. Did Rudolph lose a leg? Consider how you can fix it before throwing it out. Make sure things (like gift bags) are stored properly so they can be reused each year. If you are planning to wrap gifts, consider creating a supply bin so you can just grab and wrap.

Bonus: Donate, give away or swap unused décor or supplies (like saved ribbon) that you hold on to but don’t ever seem to use or display. Organizations like SCRAP, Swap Positive or possibly family, friends and neighbors might appreciate them and it helps you clear the clutter.

Tip 2: Move furniture to display your holiday décor

Look at each room you’ll use during the holidays and think about it as an opportunity to declutter and reorganize. If you are moving a piece of furniture to fit more holiday décor in the living room, consider if any items can be donated. Check the Resourceful PDX map for options for resale shops and donation centers.

Tip 3: Plan for overnight guests

Use the guest room for guests, not storage! Consider giving yourself some time to make thoughtful decisions about where the best place is for stuff rather than hiding everything in a spare room or closet. If you still need that table or chair (or still love it!), discover a way to incorporate it into your home. 

Tip 4: Make space for new toys, games and stuff that comes home during the holidays

Now is the time to clear space to make room for the new stuff that’s coming in. What toys are no longer popular? Donate, fix what’s broken, or even consider having a party with friends to trade toys so you don’t have to buy new ones for your kiddos. PDX Toy Library is a local option for donation.

Tip 5: Take inventory of what you already have before heading out to shop

Gift wrap, holiday décor, baking supplies and presents that you’ve been saving to re-gift are just a few categories to check before you head out to shop. You’ll save time and money shopping at home first before heading out to the stores.

Bonus: Clean out the Tupperware drawer to reuse what you already own. If you are hosting a holiday meal and plan to send home leftovers with your guests, this is your chance to clear the clutter where you store durable and reusable items. Make sure you have the sizes you use (or can give away) and every bottom and top have a match. Use tins and baskets you’ve collected or buy used at a secondhand store.

You can (still) be more organized this year

You can (still) be more organized this year

We are more than a month into the New Year! How are you doing on your resolutions? Did you make any commitments to organize, de-clutter or simplify? It’s never too late to rethink how to manage your stuff.

Live more simply this year

Resourceful PDX is about making small changes in your everyday choices to live more sustainably. Our stuff makes up a big part of this – how and where we buy stuff, how much of it we have in our homes, and even how we keep it all organized.

Have less stuff

One of the most sensible ways to achieve that elusive organization is simply to have less stuff.

Check out the stuff that you have around your home. Is it meaningful and durable? Does it add enhancement to your life? Are there things around you that just add clutter or distract from quality time with family and friends?

Get rid of a lot – a little at a time

Another favorite tip: whenever you’re cleaning a room, get rid of at least five items, whether it’s a piece of trash, an old magazine, or just something you haven’t used in ages.

Could it be that easy? Perhaps. Especially if we take some small steps to help us manage our stuff and include proper disposal of unwanted or unneeded items.

If you have the time and energy to do a bigger room or whole-home clean-out, planning ahead is the most resourceful option. Sorting and organizing your items before passing them along allows others to get the most benefit from your stuff.

5 steps to declutter

  1. Schedule a block of time. Whether you have 10 minutes or more than an hour, knowing your time limit can help you to stay focused.
  2. Choose a room and stick with it. Pace yourself but set goals for when you want to have each room finished.
  3. Have the materials and resources you need on hand, like containers, boxes, sticky notes, scissors and tape.
  4. Divide your excess possessions into: things to sell, things to donate (for reuse or future swap) and things to store and bring out later.
  5. For some people, having a partner can help too. Choose someone who will help you stay focused and hopefully have buy-in for decision making.

Make Resourceful PDX a part of your year to get tips and resources for places and events that can help you live more resourcefully in Portland. Do you have resourceful ideas or resources to share for the New Year? Drop us a line.