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small house issues

(34 Posts)
twocultures Sat 23-Apr-16 15:30:05

Anyone live in a small house? How do you arrange it to save space and what do you do to keep it decluttered?
We live in a tiny cottage, upstairs isn't an issue however downstairs we have a small kitchen which is where the front door is so lack of room for shoes and coats etc. and we have a small lounge. There is nothing else downstairs. the washing machine is also built in the kitchen.
We try our best to keep it neat but usually end up with lots of clutter everywhere, toys, clothes, coats on the back of kitchen chairs as there's no rack which drives me crazy, shoes on the stairs as no room to put them by the door etc.
A friend of mine said she always keeps a spare wicker basket in each room to chuck random bits in.

Any other suggestions?

Babyburd Sat 23-Apr-16 15:35:41

I used a garden storage container outside of the back door and filled it with big plastic containers with lids to store all the kids toys and just bring in one or two boxes at a time.

Constantly keep the sides free and this helps keep on top of the clutter; recycle, bin or store; don't let it build.

Use the stairs as extra storage during the day; small boxes / trays / wicker baskets and then at the end of the day, carry them around to return all of the bits and bobs to their rightful place.

Go high- find storage that looks nice that can be placed on top of units / wardrobes / bookshelves whatever and keep them to store whatever you need to in them.

I found keeping the floors as clear as possible was the biggest key to making the place feel organised and tidy.

howtorebuild Sat 23-Apr-16 15:41:41

I was going to suggest a small shed to access regularly.

storybrooke Sat 23-Apr-16 18:03:42

We use an ikea over door thing in the porch for coats, keeps them in one place and holds about 6. Great for small spaces.

storybrooke Sat 23-Apr-16 18:04:53


LovingSummer Sat 23-Apr-16 18:25:11

I don't know if this is small house related or more of an organisational thing, and probably most people live like this automatically, but I find lack of storage space is resolved in part by:

Everyone having their own towel kept on a radiator on the bedroom, with a spare at the bottom of the wardrobe drawer

All bedding kept in chest of drawers in each person's bedroom

I don't have winter and summer clothes as such, more all-year round clothes with extra thick jumpers for winter. Hence no need for clothes storage. If I get any future items for DC I label them and stuff them in the tiny loft until they reach that age.

Adults books kept on shelves front room, but children books kept on small bookshelf in each person's room.

We use an antique bookshelf for shoes rather than books, kept in the hallway.

All outdoor toys like cricket bats and footballs all live in the tiny shed outside with BBQ, lawnmower etc.

Above all, we try to operate with what we call the "OHIO rule" which means Only Handle It Once! So no opening post and leaving it hanging around in work surfaces, but put a reminder on the calendar to come back to it, and then file it away. We use blue-tack to pin school letters on cupboard doors in the kitchen, and anything that isn't immediate (but is needed for referencing later) gets blue-tacked on the inside of a crockery door out of sight.

LillyBugg Sat 23-Apr-16 18:33:42

I find what helped was only buying things which I knew had a certain space. So everything belongs somewhere. If it doesn't have a space I seriously question if we need it.

We keep coats and shoes under the stairs. Is that possible?

Tv is on the wall in both lounge and bedroom to save floor space.

RaisingSteam Sat 23-Apr-16 18:44:31

Start attaching things to walls - shelves, racks, hooks. For instance build in some little shelves on an alcove rather than a bulky freestanding bookcase. This makes good use of space.

It is a bit hard in the toddler- downstairs-toys stage -I dont know anyone who kept an uncluttered house then- but this does pass. Maybe some storage unit that could go up to a bedroom in future? I should go and look round the small home roomsets in ikea but I think a lot does depend on limiting stuff in the first place.

twocultures Sat 23-Apr-16 20:58:18

Thanks storybrooke that's a really good price too!
Unfortunately we don't have any space anywhere for any sort of shoe rack.
Lillybug we don't really have too many things just hard to find space for everything, I have been bugging DP to put the TV on the wall I think it'll really open up the lounge smile
We don't even have anywhere to put the pushchair hmm

Artandco Sat 23-Apr-16 21:01:09

Less of everything

Keep shoes and coats in bedrooms

Artandco Sat 23-Apr-16 21:01:44

Buy tiny pushchair like babyzen and store under sofa or use sling

twocultures Sun 24-Apr-16 20:31:05

Artandco he's too big for a sling and the sofas don't have room under. We are planning on getting the XXS stroller from mothercare when we can, it's so tiny !

LillyBugg Sun 24-Apr-16 20:59:37

Can you keep your pushchair in the car? That's where mine lives!

Artandco Sun 24-Apr-16 21:51:03

Really? How old is he? most slings last 3-4 years. If he's younger I would def look at another type. If you have a babybjorn or similar they only last 10 mins until hurt/ too heavy

Sundaysmumisfullofwine Mon 25-Apr-16 09:16:58

Don't get the xss it's rubbish. It may be small but it's no good for regular use (more of a take on holiday type thing).

I second the recommendation for over door hanger for coats - and added to that, only one coat per person, others get put away in the wardrobe. Ask people to put shoes away when they take them off rather than having a rack for them. TV on the wall is a good idea along with shelving where you can manage it. The only real answer is less stuff though - hard with kids toys especially!

twocultures Mon 25-Apr-16 09:18:12

Artandco we have a carrier from chicco I think...we only use it for long walks in the countryside where we live, he's too wriggly to use it anywhere else (like shopping) and kicks around a lot & I can't wear it because my back is really bad after pregnancy so we still need a pushchair.
Mine used to live in the car lillybugg but I'm currently without one so all the baby gear all over the place is making me go crazy. I recently went to visit my friend (who doesn't have any DCs) and her house was clean perfection! She has cream, white and shiny metal stuff everywhere and its all pristine clean and there not a spot of clutter in sight, I miss that I'm jealous.

allegretto Mon 25-Apr-16 09:28:07

We live in a small flat. The trick is don't let stuff in through the door unless you really need it. We have 3 kids and no big toys such as play kitchens, jumperoos etc We kept the double pushchair in communal area - not really allowed but needs must! Gifts that were too big plus things we need to keep are at the in laws. Clear out stuff regularly.

Artandco Mon 25-Apr-16 09:55:47

Ah yes - the Chicco is just like babybjorn. Will kill your back in a few mins. If you do want another look at the 'soft structured carrier' type. Lots of brands around.

We live in small flat. We had no baby gear, save so much space. No bouncers/ jumperoo/ large toys. Donate and use the floor

Toy wise - like above, but no big toys. We only have toys that can be taken apart and stored in baskets. So wooden track for example assembles big, but then come apart to store. All big toys they can play with at toddler groups/ nursery later/ school/ friends houses smile

Just really think about what you buy in future. Try and buy one thing that can be used in several occasions rather than need lots of similar items. For example friends with similar age children to ours had a large cupboard in kitchen full of kids plastic plates/ cups/ pots etc. We just used regular China plates from tiny, so our cupboard of similar size in kitchen was free of that and we use for kids arts and craft storage instead. Saving space elsewhere.

Once they grow they also get loads of crap from kids party bags. I filter into the bin within a few days and they have never asked for it

Artandco Mon 25-Apr-16 09:58:35

Oh and baskets are great. All sizes. Means house looks clutter free. Baskets in hallway on wall for hats/ gloves/ similar, small baskets in bathrooms for cosmetics and shampoos, baskets under coffee table for toys. Means a) cleaning easy as who lot moved in one move b) dont buy anything that doesn't fit in baskets c) chuck everything in baskets quick before anyone comes around and it looks instantly tidier

GrubbyWindows Wed 27-Apr-16 22:13:10

Artandco what do you do about gifts your DC have received? DS has just turned 3, and has been given all sorts of bulky crap for his birthday, but he loves it of course.
Even though we make a big deal about how small our flat is, people still give him stuff we would never buy!

Re shoes- ours are on IKEA picture shelves low down along the wall by the front door, the sort with a little lip so you can lean frames. The previous owners put them up, and it works.

We have a freestanding hat stand for coats, bags etc which is good, as it tucks into a wee corner and you can fit loads on there.

And we are forever getting rid of things. I think we have less stuff than most people I know, but still could get rid of 30%...

loresho Thu 28-Apr-16 11:06:17

how high are your ceilings? We used to live in a titchy terrace (with highish ceilings) and put up a high single shelf running around the whole room in each room. It was really handy for storing things away - but not so good if you need to access those things very regularly (we used it for our books, then used the alcove bookcase for other things).

Artandco Thu 28-Apr-16 11:55:07

We told everyone from their birth not to get anything big. If they do it has to stay at theIr house or gets regifted as we simply haven't room.

We also have an ongoing wish list on Amazon. Means it has various things on and we can ask them to get from that if they want to get something as then at least we don't get duplicates as if one buys it comes off list. Especially good as instead of saying art things, we can list everything, so they don't get 5 packs of pencils but instead get one pack, plus some paper, plus some glue, plus stencils.

Grandparents only buy annual passes now and books ie annual pass for farm/ zoo/ swimming eat nearby. Plus a book wrapped up. Again we have a book list now also as they have many so we don't get duplicates

twocultures Thu 28-Apr-16 12:25:12

I like the idea of the Amazon wish list! My Parents just recently bought an actual ball pit! From day 1 I just told them it can stay at their house and DS can play in it when we visit. I wonder where they thought I'd put it? hmm
I'm currently on the lookout for a big wooden toy box/bench that can sit in the lounge, hide toys and look nice!

Artandco Thu 28-Apr-16 12:28:25

Yep, mil once wanted to buy ds1 age 3 at the time a basketball hoop! For our flat! Needless to say they do have one now, but it lives at grannies house

GrubbyWindows Sat 30-Apr-16 17:01:45

Hmmm, we are super strict about leaving gifts at MIL's house, but she occasionally sidesteps with a posted parcel, which is obvs hard to intercept. We've had a few of those from distant relatives who we don't really visit too, and some corkers brought to his birthday party. A massive garage, from a friend who comes to dinner on a regular basis, and therefore has both experienced the hell of climbing over stuff all the time when the dinner table is pulled out in the one eating/sitting/playing room, and hears us moan about big toys!!!

I'll second the long bookshelves all round the tops of rooms. Annoying for browsing books though.

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