On Organizing a Small Space {Guest Post}

Please join me in welcoming my sister-in-law extraordinaire, Melissa, as a guest today! Not everyone is as lucky in their in-laws as I am: when I married Brian I gained two wonderful parents’ in law AND a SIL who has become my best friend. I am a blessed woman indeed!

You may remember Melissa as the creator of our amazing Space Party decorations. She is such a creative and resourceful lady, and if I can rope her into doing more crafty posts for this blog, I will! Thanks for joining us today, sister!

Hello friends! My name is Melissa and I am Caila’s sister-in-law. When she asked me to do a guest post on “Organization” I was thrilled! Aside from taking photos, baking, crafting, and teaching, organization is a passion that I have taken to the extreme (at times).

What my goal in this not-as-short-as-it-probably-should-bepost is to show some of the things that I have done throughout my apartment, whether coming straight out of my brain or ideas I’ve picked up from other friends, posts on Pinterest, etc., to make my small space seem a bit bigger. Hopefully it will give you some good, not expensive (did I mention that I am a teacher?), ideas.

Happy organizing!

I’ll start with my living room. Though I wish I could say this is my favorite room as it holds my favoritepiece of furniture (an armoire from IKEA that I fought for with sweat, blood, tears, and a joyful drive to Pasadena!…well, maybe not blood), I can’t because I actually love all the “rooms” in my apartment.

This beauty is perfect for “hiding” the odds and ends of DVDs, remotes, extra candles, frustrating cords/directions for every piece of electronic equipment (which are then thrust into a basket), games, etc., that aren’t necessarily kosher for viewing on a regular basis.

The next way to hide odds and ends without looking cluttered is to have some sort of container that also serves as a furniture piece. This basket, from IKEA (I’m pretty sure it was $49.99…I bought it a few years ago), serves multiple purposes in my place – a cup holder, a piece to lean on when space on the couch and chairs have run out due to multiple guests, a place to lean to be as close to the fire without singeing myself during winter – or chilly summer – nights, and a blanket holder!

Side Note: Are sunflowers not the most beautiful flower ever?!

Though I use it for blanket storage now, I plan on transferring it to a toy box one day. I am admittedly slightly OCD, so I know that when my kids go down for bedtime, we’ll just throw their toys in here to do a “quick clean up” of the living room. Easy peasy-lemon squeezy!

Alright, moving over to the “office.” If not clear in the photos, my apartment is a long rectangle that I have had to get pretty creative with to designate the different spaces – living room, office, dining room, and entry way; the kitchen is separated by a counter and sink.

This bookshelf is another favorite piece that will follow me throughout my life…or at least until it is beyond repair. I bought these several years ago from Crate & Barrel (At the time each piece – there are three total – was on sale for $129! A win in my book!) and have loved them ever since. In fact, I am sitting in that black chair right now typing up this blog post on that Mac computer. The reason I love this bookshelf so much is because I have so many things in it, but it bears no resemblance to clutter or over-storing!

I have a love of baskets. Keep looking at the photos and it will continue to become apparent.


This one is simple, and not too flashy, but it conceals nicely those never ending cords and my external hard drive.

I am an avid reader and lover of books (not sure if I’ll ever breakdown and get an electronic reader; I don’t travel enough)and this bookshelf has allowed me to display them creatively and beautifully (at least I think so!).

The ladder-like set up creates the ability to store much without taking up too much space in the room. Looking closely on the printer, there is a basket filled with office supplies – though in itself it is not organized, these shelves lack drawers, so this little gem has taken those items out of the junk drawer in the kitchen and placed them right where they are needed.

The last little bit that I will highlight on these shelves is the pen holder. On the left, there are pens of similar size and height, so they look okay in there. But, on the right they get mismatched (OCD at it’s finest). So, a quick fix…

…add a flower pen (or anything really)to cover it up. It’s the small things, right?

I just re-did the bedding in my bedroom and I love it! I don’t usually buy things full price from Anthropologie (teacher salary here), but this quilt is my one exception. Plus, I had gift cards to help justify the splurge.

Though I love this bedding, that is not the reason for showing my bed. The organization, or space-saving rather, is what I’m going for. Looking closely…

…there are several blankets on my bed. Though I set my air conditioning to a chilly 67 degrees nearly every night while running the ceiling and a standing fan (white noise, anyone?), I put them all on my bed to save more space. If not there, they’d be in that basket in my living room, but there is no more room. I just fold those that I don’t use while sleeping at the foot of the bed.

Another thing, aside from storage baskets, that I love are purses and bags! When walking through IKEA a few years ago I got the (brilliant in my not-always-humble-opinion) idea to get a coat rack to hang my bags on. Before that I had stored the smaller bags inside the larger ones, and hung them on hangers in my closet.

One last goodie from my bedroom are these flower hooks from Pier One. I found them on sale and have loved them since. Right now they bear my spring and summer scarves while adding just the right amount of color and femininity to my room.


My closet is another story. I am aware that not everyone has a walk-in closet, and I won’t have it for much longer either as I’m about to move. With that said, I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

Storage Tip: My fall and winter scarves are in the blue retro suitcase ($2 at a garage sale).

I personally have hangers that are all the same. If money weren’t an issue, I would most likely have wooden hangers, but as that is not feasible right now, these plastic beauties from Target ($1.39 – I think – for 13) work just fine! And they keep clothes spaced out evenly.

As I am not a morning person, to make sure the least amount of time is wasted while choosing what I am going to wear I organize my clothes by color and length of sleeve.

I saw a post on Pinterest about organization and got the idea to hang everything – jeans, skirts, and pants. I got these little clips, which clip right onto the hangers I already had, from Wal-Mart. Less than $2 for a pack of 12!

My closet is not just for clothes. I’ve seen shoes thrown into a bin or put on mini-book shelves (I have done this), but it takes up a lot of space and/or can create frustration when looking for the matching shoe. I saw a shoe holder (similar to the one pictured below) on that same post on Pinterest and was inspired! I got this Eddie Bauer shoe rack from Wal-Mart for about $9.

Unfortunately, not all shoes will fit in these slots, so some space is still taken on the floor in the closet.

I haven’t spent much time looking for a cute hook rack or necklace stand, so I just put some pushpins in the wall to hold my necklaces. Maybe one day I’ll get a little classier in this area, but for now these suffice. (And if I was a seasoned blogger, I would have made sure all of my necklaces were facing forward!)

The last bit of my place I will share is my kitchen. It’s not big by any means, and I have pretty good storage, but there always seems to be just a little too much stuff. I love color and have tried to add it throughout every part of my house. As baking is one of my [many] favorite things, I decided to put my baking goods on display after I bought this darling Liberty of London canister from Target a couple years ago. Though not everything matches exactly, the colors compliment each other.

*Kitchenaid Mixer from Target

*colorful measuring spoons, butter dish, timer, bird creamer, and salt & pepper shakers from Anthropologie

*clear canisters from Target

*tea pot from TJ Maxx

I hope that this post has entertained, if not inspired, a bit of organization for you! If you have other tips, please leave a comment so we can all benefit!

Thanks for reading! And, thank you, sister, for allowing me to be a part of your blog! What a treat!