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Apartment Life

Organizing 101: Rolling Office Cart

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One of the hardest parts about downsizing to an apartment was giving up my craft room. I LOVED having my own space to retreat to after a long day. However, my family is more important so it just meant I had to get creative. I ended up purging over half of what I had in the end leaving me with the essentials.

Now I have a little nook in the kitchen and some storage in the living room (more on that in a future post). I loved using the RASKOG Utility Cart to store all of my gift wrapping supplies in my craft room but since I downsized my supplies it wasn’t being used in the apartment yet. I have no drawers at my work space to the cart made the perfect storage storage solution for my office supplies.

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I may have a slight obsession with Post-It notes so I like to keep a variety of sizes on hand.

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I found an unfinished trio box set that works out perfectly to keep paper clips, rubber bands, and clips organized. The Martha Stewart Book Plates were the perfect final touch to label each box.

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Using a wooden utensil tray I was able to organize all of my greeting cards, note pads, extra tape, and envelopes on the bottom shelf. iHeart Organizing has inspired me to line the bottom of this with bold contact paper which I will do once I find them, lol.

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Although it’s significantly smaller than before I really do love my workspace. I love being so close to the kids play area and the kitchen where my husband cooks dinner and weekend breakfast. I am able to still keep up with things while feeling close to everyone.

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!

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

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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.

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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 Month Summarized

I can’t believe how much has changed in the last few weeks. Our timeline for moving jumped on the fast track and here I am in our new home on the couch typing this during nap time.

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Purging certainly took a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. Image purging 2/3 of your belongings in less than a month. It was certainly and challenge and it seemed like every time I turned around another box showed up. We sold a ton of items on our local yard sale group, had what can only be described as an epic yard sale, and took 4 full van loads to the local thrift store. I jotted down some thoughts and tips that came to mind during the process that I will share in more detail soon.

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Our move went relatively smooth. We decided to hire packers and movers again. It is more expensive but with two littles at home it made life a whole lot easier. After the packers were done on Monday we went to the apartment and stayed there. The next day Rob drove Parker to daycare and supervised the 1st half of the move. By early afternoon 3 amazingly strong guys were bringing in boxes 3 at a time. While the apartment is small I had already assigned different areas for boxes to make things a little easier. They put boxes where I asked and reassembled all the furniture. All I have left to unpack is all of the craft/office stuff. Then I want to take another pass through everything and reorganize some things. It will certainly always be a work in progress.

I am anxious to share some of the posts I have been working on about our experience downsizing, tips for a smooth move with littles, our favorite apartment organizational hacks, and tips for littles sharing a room.

Loft Bed

The kiddos have transitioned amazingly and love sharing a room together. Caity is still not sleeping through the night but Parker doesn’t seem to be bothered by her cries before we can get in there. She has been taking naps in our room and most nights after about 2am. Parker seems to love his loft bed, especially the play space underneath and the “tunnel” on top.

Life Lately

Most importantly, we haven’t wasted anytime getting out and spending time as a family. In the last week we have spent more time as a family doing fun things than the last 2 months. We have eaten mouth watering cheese steaks, watched the airplanes come in at Gravley Point, swam in the pool, and cuddled on the couch watching movies. Living in a small apartment is absolutely amazing and although it may have its downfalls, the perks make it worth it.

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!