Friday, April 8, 2016

Five Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Small House (That Work in Any House!)

   One of my favorite themes to talk about is small and tiny house living. As you know, our house is definitely small and may even fall in the tiny house category. It currently consists of:
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Open living room/dining area 
  • small mudroom/storage area by the back door
   We have plans for an expansion some day, but we'll probably never get past a thousand square feet. We like our big backyard too much.

I told you it was small. No, we're not elves. Thanks for asking.

   Over the past nine years, I've picked up so many excellent space saving and micro-living tricks, including some I've never read anywhere else. I came up with a list of my FIVE BEST and quickly realized that these are things that would maximize living space in any home. I'm posting them here in hopes that they can help someone maximize their living space in any home. Simply put, more living, less stuff.


1) Move It Out Monthly. 

Since doing a complete de-cluttering of my home last year, I keep a box or large shopping bag in a corner of our bedroom for things that are no longer needed. I usually try to sell the item, but if it doesn't sell then I donate it to a non-profit thrift store. When the box is full of items that we no longer can use, I move it out. To keep the pile from growing, I do this once a month.

2) Reorganize Constantly. 

This is a big tip that I never see, but that saves my sanity every single day. I don't know how many times I got great deal on bulk baking supplies or a huge amount of paper towels and thought in the car, I have no idea where this will go. It always turns out that once I reorganize a cabinet, a closet, or move out something we no longer need, I can easily find the space to accommodate things that matter right now. This attitude works well for small stuff, like food, clothing, toys, books, and other daily living supplies. While every item in your house needs a "home", be flexible  about where that is and don't be afraid to move things around.

However, I must also add...

3) Don't Buy Big Stuff Unless You Know Where It Will Go.

This one seems like common sense, right?  But trust me, when you are confronted with a lovely and oversized piece of furniture, wall picture, or other home accessory that costs next to nothing, it can be hard to say "no". Trust me, you don't want to have a white elephant sitting in the garage or shed for a few years because it doesn't fit with your house. Send white elephants back to the zoo. 

4) Figure Out Where Your Space Is, and Use It.

Even if it's in an unusual place. I've seen high ceilings lined with shelves that hold books and extra high kitchen cabinets that stock empty canning jars on top, and all kinds of clever storage on the back of doors. When we realized we would never be able to fit large book cases in our living room, I eyed our wide hallway that leads to the back door and found plenty of space for an instant library. It wasn't what we would have planned, but it works perfectly. 

5) Keep Seasonal Decorations to a Minimum.

I love decorations! So does the rest of the world. My local yard sale page on Facebook is awash in gently used decorations for sale. Exercise equipment, too, but that's another post.  While seasonal decorations make your world brighter for just a few months, they take up space somewhere else in your house for the rest of the year. Then, people still get tired of them and want to change decorating schemes. For myself, it has worked better to invest in things that I can display and enjoy all year long, and accent them with a few selective seasonal or holiday items at certain times of the year. This way, instead of storing up treasures for most of the year, I can look at things I like all of the time and save the space for something more important. 

So, these are my biggest and best ideas ever when it comes to small space living, and I hope that in posting them that even the lady with the grandest home can find some inspiration in simplifying her surroundings. 

Most importantly, if you can think of anything that works for you, whether it's listed here or not, feel free to add it in the comments. 


  1. I live in a Tiny House 8x24 feet, with almost no storage space. And I do my basic shopping with my bike. I am very limited how much I can buy due to the lack of space and the amount my bike can carry home. But I live in a place where I can get fresh produce every day. About the only time I have extra things on hand is when a storm is brewing and then I make sure I have enough to keep me a few days. I like living like this.

    1. That is the perfect house for you, Katie, and I envy your warmer climate and extended growing season for fruits and vegetables. Best of all, I like how you figured it what's right for you.

  2. These indeed work in every home. I have a spacious home for just two of us, and I do these things, though not as often as I should. Still, I've whittled things down to what we use/need and those things I don't. Our church has a sleigh-bell fair every year, so I donate my used items to that.

    Thanks for inspiring us all to be better house-keepers. I find keeping small houses uncluttered is harder than big houses. You do very well.

    1. It is harder with a small house, Saloma. It's an ongoing battle and I learn new tricks with each new phase of life. As someone who functions best in an orderly environment, it's worth it to me to keep up with things the best I can.

  3. Oh, this is so good! #1 & #2 have been sanity savers for me. I don't move things out monthly, but try to do it semi-regularly. And I used to get hung up on thinking that I needed to at least make some money off the majority of the things I was getting rid of, but finally realized that the clutter was costing me emotionally and that there was so much freedom in just saying good-bye to my unneeded stuff, even if it meant donating it to Goodwill and not making a penny. I love the freedom that comes with less clutter!

    Pinning this post so others can benefit from your wisdom. :)

    1. I know what you mean about getting rid of things because they end up with an emotional price. There are a couple of things I've held onto for way too long because surely they were worth something, or surely we would use them SOMEDAY. It can be hard to let go and I'm not perfect at it.

      Thank you for the re-pin, Lydia! I hope these ideas bless someone, somewhere!

  4. We live in a house much like you described minus the mud room, and as a family of 6 it's been a challenge. Overall I've been blessed to learn to live with less. And we're soon moving to a house with 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms!

    I keep my thrift store box in the back of our van. That way I can drop it off any time I go past a thrift store. :)

    1. That's a great idea about keeping the thrift store donation box in the van. As for your family of 6 in a tiny house, wow! I bet I could learn a lot from you. Congratulations on your new residence. You sure have earned it! :)


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