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Organizing 101: 6 IKEA Must Haves

I have to admit I was pretty excited when we made the decision to downsize and move into an apartment. Although I would lose a lot of creative freedom renting, I was presented with a new challenge of finding effective ways to organize our small space. We were a family of four living in a four bedroom 2,200 sq ft house downsizing to about a 1,200 sq ft two bedroom apartment.

Since our plans unexpectedly changed and we will be moving to Canada in the fall I thought it would be fun to focus my Tipful Thursday series on organizing small spaces for the next few weeks.

First up, a few things that have made it possible to organize with kids using IKEA!

6 Product Collage

GNDBEY Shelf Unit | TROFAST Storage Box | PJAS Baskets
GRUNDTAL Towel Holder | KURA Reversible Bed | TROFAST Storage Combination


A baby bath tub using the TROFAST Storage Box
I was extremely disappointed when we noticed a crack in our tub the first night. I know that is part of renting but it certainly made the impression no pre-inspection was done. Parker loves taking a shower so it didn’t effect him much but after a few days Caity really needed a bath and I was desperate. While I was getting the kids ready for bed Rob came in with one of the TROFAST Storage Boxes from their room. It ended up being the perfect size for her and fit nicely on our sink counter. I also plan to bring this along when we go on vacation so I don’t have to worry about scrubbing hotel bath tubs! I can store items in it during the trip so it won’t take up extra space.

A laundry room drying rack using the GRUNDTAL Towel Holder
In our old house I had a whole laundry room I could spread out in. While having the washer and dryer in the kitchen has helped keep up with the laundry, I don’t have as much space when it comes to air drying our cloth diapers (and other unmentionables). The GRUNDTAL Towel Holder was a perfect edition to the laundry closet. Completely out of the way when it’s not being used but can hold up to 20 diapers at one time.

Bed Set

Sleep & play using the KURA Reversible Bed and TROFAST Storage Combination
Although Parker loved his toddler bed and couch from IKEA I wanted him to have something new and fun to help transition to the new apartment. We also wanted to create a quiet space that Parker could retreat to if he wanted some alone time. We loved the KURA Reversible Bed but the ladder made me nervous. Parker was a little young and I was worried about Caity trying to climb it once she was mobile. Then Rob came across a fantastic IKEA hack using the TROFAST Storage Combination as stairs in place of the ladder. Genious! The unit fits perfectly, almost like it was IKEA’s evil plan all along. I also loved the extra storage for linens and toys that didn’t fit in their play area. To help deter Parker from jumping on the bed or trying to climb off, we also got the KURA Bed Tent for the top. The STICKAT Organizer is another fun addition to keep a few books close in case he wakes up from nap early. As a final touch Rob installed a set of the DIODER LED Light Strips for some extra lighting underneath.

An organized kids closet using the PJAS Baskets and GNDBEY Shelf Unit
One of my favorite room features in our Home Tour was our Shared Changing Station. It also happens to be my most popular pin on Pinterest. I had to go small and tall in the kids shared closet and needed to find a way to organize all of their clothing, gear (including two strollers), and their changing station inside. While I couldn’t recreate the entire set up, I was able to keep the GNDBEY Shelf Unit for our cloth diapers. I also managed to make room for the PJAS Baskets for their pajamas since I don’t fold them (gasp!). We actually use these baskets around the entire house to store clothing, toys, and even some of my craft supplies. Adding a small chalkboard with some twine is a cute and functional way of labeling them with their contents.

Check back each Thursday as I share more tips on organizing our apartment. This month is dedicated to IKEA and next week I will be sharing my mobile office using the RASKOG Utility Cart

Our American Dream Redefined

For the last few months Rob and I have been joking about how much we hate the maintenance of a large home. It seems like all we do is try to keep up with the items on our to-do list, clean, make home improvement updates, and tend to chores. I can’t tell you how many times Parker has wanted to play me with and I tell him I can’t because I need to do xyz. Or Rob comes through the door after a 10 hour day only to be met with a list of tasks for the evening.

About a month ago we decided we had enough and it was time to make some changes. So we started looking into the possibility of downsizing and moving closer to the city. At first we looked at houses but quickly realized they were out of our price range. Then we started looking at condos and while we found a few we liked, they are often hard to sell later down the road. So we decided to explore the possibility of moving into an apartment for awhile to make sure it was what we wanted. I know, kinda backwards right?!?

We specifically looked for something that was walking distance to the metro, restaurants, and a park. After looking through what seemed like a 100 options we found a 1457 sq foot two bedroom apartment that was in our price range, close to the metro, and still had enough space for us to manage. Before we went to see the apartment Rob and I made a list of pros and cons to moving. The pros definitely outweighed the cons and while we are extremely nervous about this decision we feel like it is what’s best for our family. We went for a tour the end of April and ended up loving it so much we filled out an application that day. It had everything we were looking for and more. Rob met with our realtor later that week and our house is going on the marker this weekend. If all goes well we will be moving the beginning of July.

Rob will be able to walk to work giving him 2-3 more hours a day with the kids. I will be able to explore the city with them daily and experience all of the festivals, events, and activities it has to offer. Most importantly we will be able to spend more time making memories together.

Say hello to our new home!

Our Apartment

The BIG thing with this move is purging about 2/3 of our belongings and 1/2 our furniture. We have already started the process and trimmed our kitchen. Between the open house and our first garage sale we are hoping to tackle the garage and my art room. In the new apartment we slated the 2 extra closets in the master bedroom for office/craft space. While I love having a whole room to myself right now it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make in order to spend more time has a family. Fear not though, you better believe I am going to make this a Pinterest worthy transition.

Follow Mary Meyer’s board Closet Office on Pinterest.

While we have figured out a way to reuse/repurpose a lot of our own furniture there are a few new pieces we have picked out that will help us organize better.

IKEA Updates

Sadly there isn’t room for Parker’s SOLSTA couch in the kids bedroom so we decided to get him a loft bed and fill the bottom with pillows. I still think he is too young for the ladder so Rob searched around and found an IKEA hack that would create stairs using a TROFAST combination set and building a railing.

We will be spending a great deal of time exploring DC but it was important to create a dedicated play space for them in the living room. We are using the cabinets and cubes from my art room to help organize their toys. Although I LOVE our Step2 Mixin’ Up Magic Kitchen there won’t be enough space so we were thinking of getting the DUKTIG kitchen. To give us a little more storage and place to showcase some of our knick-knacks we decided on a BESTA set. It will conceal a lot of items which will help make the living space a cleaner and less cluttered.

We also decided our current dinning set, although I love it, was too big. We needed something that didn’t take up a lot of space but could seat 6 people for when we have company. The BJURSTA Extendable Table and Benches were a perfect solution. We also plan to get two HENRIKSDAL chairs. One I will use as a desk chair and the other will be an extra seat near the TV.

I also came across the ALGOT wall upright with baskets. It will fit perfectly in the kitchen to organize onions, potatoes, bananas, and apples.

The next few months are going to be extremely busy but we know it will all be worth it in the end. Now all we can do is wait to see if anyone bites on our house!

Parker’s Airplane Room Reveal

Cover Photo

I can’t believe I am just getting around to Parker’s room reveal. It has been complete for awhile now but with all the hustle and bustle of a new baby in the house I just got around to taking all the photos this past weekend.


In July we decided to put together Parker’s “big boy room” so that he would have a few months to transition to a toddler bed and a new environment. I didn’t want him to feel as though Caity had kicked him out of the nursery. I knew Rob wanted to do an airplane theme and I was happy to take on the challenge of finding fun and unique ways to decorate.


 SUNDVIK Expandable Bed (similar version)

I had the walls painted Valspar Pike’s Peak in anticipation of this move when we had the rest of the house painted. I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there until we came across this comforter set at Target. I loved the idea of having a Disney touch to the airplane theme. Plus the comforter had several vibrant colors I could use around the room making it easier to accessorize.

After going back and forth on bed size we ended up deciding on a toddler bed we found on clearance at IKEA. I thought the smaller bed would make the transition a little easier. While I do like the bed I didn’t realize at the time that it would be so hard to find linens, outside of IKEA, to fit the European size (longer).


Side note: Did you know that Mickey has a teddy bear named Duffy? We found out during our trip to Disney last year. My sister gave P a Duffy and this adorable story about Mickey and his teddy bear, Duffy.


 STICKAT Bed Pocket

I just recently found this over the bed organizer at IKEA and just had to add it into the reveal. It’s perfect to organize holiday books or specific ones I want to read with Parker on any given week.


 Collectors Museum Flag Case $26.99  |  Metal Red Tri-Plane $24.99  |  Spice Rack $3.99  |  Metal Letter P $14.99  |  12×12 Front Loading Frames $6.99

I decorated the wall with a collection of items I found at Hobby Lobby, IKEA, and Jo Ann Fabrics. The museum flag case found at Jo Ann Fabrics holds a flag that Rob has passed down to Parker. The tri-plane and “p” were found at Hobby Lobby when their home decor was on sale so both pieces ended up being 50% off.


I just had to add in a spice rack from IKEA since they are my current go-to for organization. In this room they showcase some books that belonged to Rob when he was a boy.


I wanted to make something special for Parker and decided to do a few prints for his wall. Rob had the genius idea of spelling his name with the phonetic alphabet on one of them. I also pulled one of Rob’s favorite quotes for a little inspiration. I had them printed at Adoramapix ($3.72 + shipping) and I purchased the 12×12 front loading frames from Jo Ann Fabrics.


 Vintage Wall Decals $11.95  |  Cloud bTwinkles Nightlight $19.95  |  Green Toys Airplane $11.99  |  HoMedics Sound Spa $19.99

We purchased the bookcase from an unfinished wood store. I am not going to provide their name because I am not impressed with the quality of the piece for the price we paid. While it serves its purpose right now, I know it won’t last through Parker’s adolescence like I had hoped. In any case, I wanted the bookcase to pop so we chose Valspar Dijon. To give it a slight vintage look I found decals on Amazon for the back.

I love his collection of books especially since most are from my shower and signed by each gifter. Right now his favorite books are The Fire Engine Book, I Love Trucks, Baby Einsteins First Words, and Rob’s favorite Amazing Airplanes.


The lockers are the most expensive piece in Parker’s room. It serves as a dresser with plenty of space to grow along with him. I found it months ago at a local antique store in my hometown. I am not sure if I fell in love with the piece or the story behind it more. I was with my Mom and as we were talking with the owner we came to find out it use to belong in the post office next door. I grabbed it immediately (well I claimed it at least). Rob and I had intended to touch it up a bit but ended up bartering with my FIL who did all of the updates in exchange for a couch we were selling.




As you can see, we ended up with the better end of the deal! My FIL did an absolutely amazing job with this piece and I am so in love with it. He put his heart and many many hours of work into it and the final product certainly shows.


Nursery Fabric – Transportation Stripes $7.99/yard

When it came time to find fabric for the curtains I was a little worried I wouldn’t find something that would fit within our theme or color scheme. During one of many trips to Jo Ann Fabrics with my Mom we found this adorable fabric on sale for $5.99 a yard. It was perfect. The colors matched Parker’s comforter and the pattern almost reminded me of airplane wings. I am not a fan of curtains, especially in kids rooms, so my Mom helped (well she did most of the work) and made these valances for a pop of color in the room.




 STROFAST Storage Unit $39.99  |  STROFAST Storage Boxes $3.00 – $4.00

I knew there would be times when P didn’t need or want to nap but it is still important that he has some quiet alone time everyday. We moved his toys over from the nursery to give him something to play with on those occasions. This has worked out perfectly so far. I’d say 4 of his 7 naps a week start off with some quite play and he eventually falls asleep on the floor, the couch, or his bed. Regardless it gives him some quiet time and Mommy a little break to tend to Caity or hop in the shower (*gasp*).


Rob scored this awesome Everyday Hero Play Set from KidKraft on one of our local yard sale group for $15. It really engages Parker in some quiet low stimulation play which is perfect right before a nap or bed time. It’s cute to listen to him on the monitor playing with the fire and police chiefs. He animates them doing normal everyday things like riding in their emergency vehicles, playing with their dogs, and going night night.


 Aviation Altimeter Clock $24.99  |  Flying Ace Piolt Embossed Tin Sign $14.99

Some of the final touches and last purchases were an altimeter clock Rob found on Cafe Press and a tin sign from Hobby Lobby. The Peanuts Gang isn’t Disney but we called Parker our Peanut for 9 months (team green!) and it has stuck even now.


 Airplane Photo Frame $14.99  |  Birth Stat Print $24.99

I bought this long shelf years ago at IKEA and it has since lived in 2 apartments, 2 houses, and served many different purposes. I think it’s the perfect size to showcase some of our favorite prints and a few pieces of Rob’s old gear from his flying days. Rob has had the “Air Force in Training” print since I can remember and we found the Mickey print on our trip to Disney last year. I found the number hooks on one of my craft B/S/T sites on Facebook for $5.99. The three canvas paper airplane image was Pinterest inspired and gives a little pop of color on that side of the room.






Parker was used to having the La-Z-Boy in the nursery to cuddle up on with us for story time so I wanted to find something that would take it’s place on a $200 budget. I should have known IKEA would come to the rescue as we found this sofa bed that was perfect. It fits the space perfectly but we can all still fit on it for story time. It also pulls out into a bed for sleep overs when he gets a little older. Parker has been on a bit of a nap strike lately but Rob and I figured out that he will happily lay down if we let him sleep on the couch. “Sure kid, whatever gets you to nap!”


Growth Chart

 1×6 Pine Board  $8  |  Pipe Flange $10  |  Valspar Dijon Paint

Parker’s growth chart was a blast to make. Rob and I cam up with the design together and I got to use my projector to trace it on the wood from our drawing. We painted it to match the bookcase and Rob added a pipe flange to give it a little more of an industrial look. We found all the materials at Lowe’s and the project total was around $20.

Toddler Proofing

Toddler proofing the room was one of my top priorities with this transformation. Since he would no longer be contained in the crib I knew everything had to be safe. Luckily that didn’t take much work or money.

We covered all exposed outlets with solid covers and secured the Summer Infant Multi View Monitor to the wall near the door. My Dad and Rob installed a ceiling fan so that we didn’t need to have a lamp or fan within reach of Parker’s curious little fingers. The furniture was secured with pipe strapping similar to what we used around the house. Most importantly, we put a cover on the knob so that Parker can’t leave his room on his own. We have the video monitor on at all times when he is in there so we can hear if something is wrong.

After rolling off the bed the first night we decided to install a bed rail until he gets used to the new bed.

Inspirational BoardI am giddy just looking over this post and all the work we did to make this room special for Parker. He transitioned beautifully and still loves playing, reading, and sleeping there!