November 15, 2013  

Organizing My Apartment {5 Rules For A Small Living Room}

So last week I promised you a tour of our downtown apartment, and here it is! Actually, I sort of broke my promise because this is really only a tour of the living room. But it comes with bonus advice for keeping it organized. This is the first post of my “Organizing My Apartment” series. Here are my top five rules for organizing a small living room.

Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Rule #1  Choose moveable furniture.

I love having hard wood floors! There are felt pads on the legs of every piece of furniture in this room, so it is super easy to slide things around. We can push the chair out of the way if we need more room around the dining room table and we will even add a folding card table to make the table bigger for game nights. We also push the table and chairs back against the wall when we need more space to play Kinnect games or have a dance party 🙂  If you have carpet, try to stick with furniture that isn’t super heavy so you can push it around. Moveable furniture is especially useful if you are like me and constantly want to rearrange your room. I often come home and start moving things around, but so far this has proven to be the best use of space.
Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Rule #2  Add furniture that has multiple uses. This cedar chest stores all kinds of old memorabilia that I don’t really use, but refuse to get rid of–my husband thinks I’m crazy, but I know I’m not the only one who saves this stuff, right? Anyways, there is an insane amount of stuff packed inside this thing including old trophies, photos, bouquets, the quilt my grandma made me but I don’t want to ruin, you get the picture. The chest hides all this stuff away and keeps it safe, AND it doubles as seating or shelving. You might also consider adding an ottoman that has storage room inside and can double as a table and a chair,

Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Rule #3  Use baskets to hide clutter. I am obsessed with baskets and totes. I seriously enjoy spending time in the aisle with all the plastic totes and colorful bins, but I have a rule that I must have a specific use in mind or I can’t buy it. You can also find all kinds of baskets at thrift stores (pay attention to the size and shape – you can always spray paint it if the color is ugly). I use the large basket in the corner of our living room for blankets, and it hides the bottom shelf behind it that is packed with DVDs and video games. The baskets under the TV are also full of video games, and there is a small basket on the table by our couch for remotes, game controllers, and odds and ends like pens, lotion, bobby pins. (Side note: bobby pins mysteriously appear everywhere. No matter how hard I try to keep them in a certain place, I find them all over! Do you have the same problem or is it just me?)

Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Rule #4  Define specific places for paper. I always end up with a heap of paper on the couch–magazines, bills, books, notebooks of ideas, newspapers, etc. This magazine holder on our windowsill holds all the reading material I haven’t gotten to yet, and I love the design (if you can find a place with big windowsills like ours, they are fantastic for shelving and for extra seating when needed). After I am done reading something, it gets recycled, donated, or put on our bookshelf right away so it is out of the way.  I try to make it a habit to put all the paper back in its home before I got to bed. This system has eliminated my monstrous stacks of paper that used to be strewn everywhere. (I will show you my storage solution for mail when we tour the kitchen in a future post.)

Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Rule #5  Divide larger spaces with furniture. Even though our apartment is fairly small, we have a decent sized living room. It is important to us to have a dining table for eating, playing board games and being crafty, and this is the only room for it to go in so we sort of divide the room into a dining nook and the living room area. The two sections are separated by the chair and a small table between the chair and couch. Don’t feel confined to keeping furniture against the walls. When you have a small apartment with few rooms and too much furniture, you need to get creative! This arrangement actually works out really well for us and is a great use of the space we have.

Helpful tips for organizing a small apartment via The Small Stuff Counts Blog

Bonus Rule #6   If you ever have a choice, choose an apartment with high ceilings. It will make your apartment feel much larger than it really is. We also lucked out with monstrous windows, which let in all kinds of beautiful sunshine and make our room feel huge.

There you go! Six rules for organizing your small space. None of these tips are probably shockingly new to you, but I hope it helps to see how I put them into practice. What tips would you add to the list? Comment below!

Stay tuned for a tour of our bedroom and more tips next week. Thanks for reading!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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