Space Saving 3: Kitchens and Living Rooms
As we continue to show you some great space saving tips that will declutter your home and make it easier to find things, we head into the living room and the kitchen. Now some homes will call the living room the den, and others might have two of such spaces. All the tricks and tips that are found in here can apply to multiple rooms where those rooms are the first room you see in the house. Typically, the second room that you see in a house is the kitchen, so both of these need to be guest ready at all times. This means they need to be clean, neat and organized allowing it to be livable for you, and presentable for your guests. Walking into a home and seeing toys, books, movies all over the living room shows it is lived in, but nothing gets put back where it needs to be. Likewise, in the kitchen with pots and pans sitting out, or glasses all over the counter.
Since the Living room is the first room that a person sees when they walk in the door we are going to start there. It’s not just a matter of cleanliness, because any mother can tell you that they can clean all day and it will still look like a mess. The more kids you have, the messier it could be. Walk into your living room and think of yourself as a guest, what would you see? Sometimes movies or games are left out, and while they don’t seem like its cluttered they might not belong there. Magazines laying on end tables, blankets draped over couches, books laying around. I’m sure a messy house would look worse but to save space it might take either some new furniture, rearranging some old furniture or some creative ideas.
If you use ottomans or foot stools than consider getting those that double as storage. We have several padded ottomans in our home and they all double as storage. Lift the top on one and we keep all the video games, controllers and accessories in one so it is always in a place. Another one will have blankets and sometimes cozy socks in it for the winter time. A smaller third one that is closer to the couch stores some magazines, and another doubles as an extra toy box for the little ones. They help keep the place neat and orderly without looking out of place. Some couches come equipped with side pouches for magazines, or a console for storage, or you can get a magazine rack to keep everything together. A simple book shelf takes care of books, games and movies as well. However, if you like things hidden consider a television stand that has storage, or a video cabinet that locks, hiding everything away. A curio cabinet with glass doors only looks good if you don’t see a mess. These should be used to show of knick-knacks or china. If you are using one for collectibles it shouldn’t be in the first room of the house as it could look cluttered.
For a creative look instead of floor lamps, try mounted lamps on the walls, some of them are perfect for reading and others are bright enough for the whole room. This saves room from a desk lamp, shaded lamp or floor lamp. Also you can get creative with wall shelving too. A fireplace generally has a mantle which is a great area for picture frames, but try using square shadow boxes on the wall. They add depth and show off pictures or knick-knacks with flair. If you are going to place a desk in the living room, keep it neat or go old school and try a roll down desk that keeps it covered.
Step into the most commonly used space in the house as everyone needs to eat, but depending on your home this could also be a place where everyone meets and talks. If there is counter space and chairs where people sit at, this could be a place to be seen. Despite having to be clean, you want your guests to feel like they are at home, so your cupboards and drawers should be easily accessed or at least items should be found within a few minutes. Use hooks for under cabinets to hang coffee mugs, this keeps them out of the cupboard and in easy reach. If you have a family dining set you will want to have at least 1.5 times the number of plates, utensils, and cups. If you like to throw a lot of parties or events you will need at least 3 times your family size in plates, utensils and cups. This could mean plates and bowls in one cupboard, utensils all belong in a drawer together, and glasses in a separate cupboard or at least separate shelf from the plates but near them.
Cookware should than go near the cupboards closest to the stove, leaving the other cupboards for specialized dishes, mixing bowls, popcorn buckets etc. The drawers should than be used for large cooking utensils and such. Never keep a junk drawer in the kitchen, in fact try to avoid a junk drawer altogether. It’s a waste of time and half the items that end up in there are forgotten, leaving you to purchase them again, forgetting you already had some.
Instead use that spare drawer, or drawers for cleaning sponges, filters for water purifiers or coffee, and lightbulbs that belong in the kitchen. If there is extra cupboard space, you can store less utilized appliances such as the toaster in the cupboard instead. A kitchen island, if you have one, generally comes with storage space and is a great place to put a larger trash can out of the way, instead of a small one under the sink, or one that sits out where everyone can see, and smell it.
While every home is different there is always room in your house to either add more or make it appear as if you have less. Make use of the space you have in the most efficient way, keeping items neat and organized and you will never lose items again. And when guest come over they will marvel at how neat your home is, and wonder where you put everything.