Suburban Homesteading in SW Pennsylvania by Stacy Artis

Tips for Living in a Small Space


Our family of four lives in a house of about 950 sq. ft.  Sometimes it feels quite crowded, but we've done our best to get creative with storage.

Cabinets-Lots in both the kitchen and bathrooms hold all the things we need and keep it looking neat and streamlined.  Our kitchen came with plenty of cabinets but in the bathrooms we removed the vanities and installed larger pieces we purchased at an odd lot/overstock/clearance yard.  We also found a large medicine cabinet for the master bath there and a nice wall cabinet intended for a kitchen that we hung in the children's bathroom to hold all their things.  When we installed the fireplace we used the corner space on one side by building in an angled cabinet to hold all our videos.  The television sits on top of it and above that is a matching shelf  with a "box" suspended under it that holds the VCR.  There is room on top to store or display more things.  We built matching shelves on the other side of the fireplace.

Wire shelving-We've installed wire shelving in several places to maximize storage.  There is shelving over the washer and dryer, in the back entry hallway, in the huge space that previously housed only the water heater and in all our closets.  In the closets we left half of the closet for hanging items and have shelves running floor to ceiling in the other half.  In some areas we've hid the shelves behind curtains hung on tension rods and in others they are behind bi-fold doors.

Furniture that pulls double duty-Those round decorator tables are great endtables or accent pieces and you can store all kinds of things out of sight underneath them thanks to the cloths that cover them.  Some of them even come with a shelf built under them.  You could also use small chests or boxes for side tables or coffee tables.  If you have kids, the beds that sit on platforms with drawers under them are great.  I picked one up at a garage sale a couple years ago in like-new condition for a fraction of what I'd have paid in a store.  I found great pieces for the kids's rooms at Wal-mart.  The base is a toy box and the top is a bookshelf.  The two pieces can be stacked (with brackets that keep the shelves safely in place) or separated to give you more options.

Plastic storage containers-Get the long, low ones that will fit under the beds and sofas.  You can store lots of stuff in those spaces.

Space saving bags-I don't know what they are actually called but those plastic bags that you put a bunch of clothes or bedding in and then remove all the air with a vacuum to flatten it out are great!  I've seen them on television for a lot of money, but I bought a set from LTD Commodities for less than $5.  They really do work!