The Art of Storage

Remember 2 years ago, when I was blogging about having hardly any space in my 699 square foot shoebox in the sky? Yeah…

Remember when I decided that we could and should add a new human being into the mix of this space? Oh, yeah…

Guys, it is feeling CRAMPED up in here.

Babies and toddlers have So. Much. Stuff.

I knew that he would grow out of his clothes faster than I could wash them, but I didn’t realize the surplus of other items he would outgrow in the first year! For example: baby wraps and carriers, nursing pillows, leftover (too-small) diapers, bassinet sheets, bassinet parts and mattresses,  pacifiers, nipples and bottles, a Pump & all its accessories, an infant car seat, the toys and rattles and “baby toys” that are no longer engaging and interesting, the list goes on.

Don’t even get me started on the extra-large toys. They each played a vital role, but in a matter of months they were no longer needed: walker, bouncer, swing, jumperoo, playmat – ALL useful for 6 months or less and now done-zo! (And mostly out the door! Thank goodness!).

Getting rid of everything feels horribly wasteful since we are hoping to eventually have another baby. This is why normal homes have attics or basements!!

All to say, I am constantly in a serious need for new storage solutions and innovations.

My sanity depends on being able to put everything AWAY. In an ideal world, my apartment would look like a child hardly lives here (after bedtime at least).

I’m finding that there’s an art to utilizing storage space well. You don’t want to fill your home in a way that makes it feel small and crowded. Nobody wants to be that real estate listing where you see piles of stuff everywhere and go, “Oh, they needed more space.”

Let’s use book storage as an example. The photo below (though not an apartment) reminds me a bit of a treasure hunt, but more of an avalanche.

6693ecc5603e5aae8f0bd8419315148b

Source

Avalanche is exactly the word I want to avoid in my apartment. A teetering pile of anything screams stress and clutter and it certainly needs to be cleared out and donated or organized and assigned a “home.”

I imagine that many New Yorkers aspire to have apartments like this:

5ed2173c79d539a7b7bf0e2ef28953b8.jpg

Source

Notice the books stacked neatly and cleanly. They almost hide. Because this room is practically barren, the slightly haphazard (non-color coordinated, nor size ordered) book storage adds a bit of whimsy and interest to an otherwise boring space.

This final room is more in the vein of where my apartment is going – or where I hope to take it (minus a few patterns).

ae251c7a1be9a587804b189533119bda

Source

Clearly, they have a lot of stuff. BUT, the shelves are organized, abundant, not TOO full (but getting there), and by using the space over the door they creatively used every inch of the wall.

My overall goal, is to avoid looking like my apartment has run out of space. What I’m finding works best for me, are solutions that provide voluminous storage while hiding the  displaying the individual contents.

For instance, open shelving or wire baskets (though “trendy”) are NOT my friends. These only work for me if the items inside are perfectly organized at all times  – who has time for that?!

I need fabric bins, magazine holders, baskets, wooden boxes, or cabinet doors that shut and hide my hideously folded fitted sheets. (Yes – I’ve watched the tutorials and I’m still giving up).

So, what are my favorite storage solutions?

These DIY rolling lidded boxes are still going strong as my favorite way to stash a collection of items while still appearing pretty, clean, and organized from the outside. These currently live in the nursery. One holds Kip’s extra sheets and changing pad covers, and the other houses our winter weather accessories (hats & gloves mostly). The wheels on the bottom make it easy to access and the lids save me from wasting my time organizing sheets and gloves!

IMG_1910a

 

I found these amazing fabric storage bins as part of H&M’s Home collection on 5th Avenue! At 3 to 5 bucks each (on sale) they were a steal! I wish I’d gotten more! Online they currently run $12-25 each. Plus, they collapse if you decide you don’t need them right away!

IMG_2049.jpg

 

These elements – along with a few key magazine organizers and baskets – came together in the nursery bookcase below. I still love that I can stash anything quickly (or permanently) in the baskets or fabric bins and as long as the level of “stuff” stays below the top, it still looks pretty much pulled together.

img_2582

 

In all fairness and transparency, the above photo was pre-baby and those bins are mostly empty. Here’s a real life shot of the nursery taken (in a hurry) last week. While my stashes are certainly overflowing and the bookcase looks quite full, the baskets and bins help contain the mess, hide it from my view, and provide easily accessible storage – perfect for a busy mom!

img_5503

 

After identifying some dead space in the kitchen, I’m in the process of adding some storage with a new shelf for spices and oils. I’m hoping to hang it upside down (as shown) to camouflage the mishmash of spice sizes and labels. Another attempt to create “order” for my disorderly life. I’ll update you on this one soon!

img_4268

 

My latest storage obsession is this surprisingly classy and attractive  cabinet that goes around a pedestal sink. I’m so impressed and in love with the details, that I wish I’d designed it myself!

512042_main

t_withoutzoom

Source

The doors are exactly what I need to not only hide the inherently unattractive nature of bathroom storage, but also childproof the toilet paper (and harmful chemicals) from a curious and thankfully cute toddler.

I haven’t plead my case fully yet, but I hope to convince the hubby that this was created with our home in mind and we NEED it!! Fingers crossed!

The one feature of our apartment that currently perplexes me is this bookcase. You might remember its makeover, but the glass bottles and overhanging tray were a toddler disaster waiting to happen.

IMG_0063a

 

I relocated the liquor and breakables up and away from sticky fingers, but I’m stumped when it comes to loading up the bottom shelf.

My go-to solution of googling “baby friendly bookcase styling” didn’t produce any helpful results. (Shocking!) For now, I guess you could say I’m going with the “Less is More” look?

FullSizeRender-1.jpg

Am I missing an obvious solution? Maybe I’m asking too much, but a toy and baby book filled bookcase doesnt exactly jive with the “what baby?” look I’m hoping to achieve.

Any ideas?! I’d love to hear them!