life in a tiny apartment.

August 22, 2012

Tip #27: Revisit what you’ve stowed away.

tiny apartment dwellers know better than anyone the importance of stowing things neatly away. we’ve covered this a lot here. but before we get too devoted to packing things up, here’s a simple reminder to take things back out again. 
this basket is the proof. it lives in the dark recesses of our under-the-stairs closet. until two days ago it was filled with exactly two things: a) a zipped madras bag full of congealed nail polishes and disintegrating emory boards b) a zipped velour bag full of hair elastics and barrettes. 
shameful. i know. why post-1999 i still own a velour bag filled with anything, i’m not sure. 
but herein lies the problem with tight storage: you get so gung-ho about making things fit into tiny spaces that sometimes once you get them there, you forget what exactly lies in that dark recess. once upon a time, i’m sure i had in my mind that this box would be used to house toilet paper rolls. then one day, i decided to move the file box that now sits under it, on top of it. this was surely the last time i opened the basket until this past weekend when i stood mouth agape at my utterly inappropriate use of space. but i rallyed. toilet paper has been moved from its inglorious home on the closet floor, file box has been once again relegated to bottom rung. towels are still folded on top, because with 12 rolls of toilet paper, that basket is full. and even though life in a tiny apartment usually means going without the supersize-me style toilet paper packs, needing to rush out every two days for emergency rolls is no one’s idea of fun.


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  • Reply Charlotte August 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Love this post. I recently had a big clearout and found so many things I just don't need tucked away into little storage spaces I'd forgotten all about. The amount of unused notebooks and pens I found is insane x

  • Reply Erin Harwood August 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Deary me, this is such good advice that you've guilted me out of the morning of leisure I'd had planned and into a morning of tidying, reorganizing, and peeking into those dark recesses. Thanks.

  • Reply Megs August 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I still have my Caboodle tucked away in my closet at home – it's probably filled with makeup from my ballet days and school plays. (gross, I know.) I'm too sentimental to throw it away tho…

    • Reply Erin August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      hilarious! i remember that caboodle so well!

    • Reply Allison August 23, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Ha, me too! That must go all the way back to the Magic Toyshop.

      E, re: the velour bag. I also recently parted ways with a velour bag filled with elastics and bobby pins. It was a tough decision. Did yours have sequins, too?

  • Reply Alexa August 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    "no one's idea of fun" haha!

    i feel you. i addressed my toilet paper storage situation a few weeks ago, and still really need to re-evaluate my under-bed storage. i've been in my studio for 2 years now and can't believe the things i have stashed and promptly forgotten about.

  • Reply Alice August 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I am struggling with toilet paper and paper towel storage myself. And was just thinking about how I can no longer buy like 36 rolls at a time, haha. Oy!
    Anyway, loved this post.

  • Reply Anonymous August 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I have done away with paper towels altogether. I now use dishtowels for everything I used to use paper towels for. I haven't had any hygiene problems as I wash them. Much more environmentally friendly too.

    • Reply Erin August 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Yes, me too! The tougher part is paperless toilet paper!

  • Reply Anonymous August 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I wash them in hot water! left that part out

  • Reply Meg August 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    i realized as i was scrolling through my reader that these small apartment posts are my favorite of anything i have to read. absolutely 🙂 thanks for always making my day (and for reminding me that i need to dig around in the recesses of my under-the-bed storage "closet" and re-evaluate. even though most of it belongs to the man of the house, not to me. and he'll never let it go! sigh.)

    • Reply Anonymous August 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      haha this is great— that's my problem, too! isn't it usually the woman that's supposed to be the hoarder? Erin, any advice for getting our men to let go of some of the junk clogging our tiny apartments?

  • Reply Tidy-Up Gal August 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Great advice!!

  • Reply TL August 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    i gotta admit..i've cleaned and cleared a lot more since reading your blog 🙂 thanks!! xo

  • Reply Kari August 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Perfect post. We all need to be reminded to revisit the stuff in storage occasionally. Just because it was worth storing at one time, doesn't mean it's still worth storing.

  • Reply Cindy August 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    this post is so true, including having extra toilet paper on hand :)! as a part of our major purge, i have been through every nook & cranny in our apt., including our small storage locker where i found 16 plates/bowls that have since been sold in our vintage shop and the space they occupied left blissfully empty!

  • Reply Anonymous August 24, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I sympathize… because I live in a tight townhouse. As I age, I am forgetting what I stowed where … Ever thought of creating a file of what you stow where… You've just reminded me that I should do something like that. My FB a/c is under Connie Chong-Ee, btw. I enjoy your posts, Erin. I love practical and simplicity and more tips on being practical and keeping life simple but still beautiful….

  • Reply Amielle August 31, 2012 at 9:22 am

    This happens to me so often! And I've never lived in my own little space, always shared with someone else, either family or roommates. But even just in my own room, all the nooks and crannies I've stowed things away in that I know I need to revisit, forget to and months later go, "But why do I even have that?"

  • Reply Rand October 3, 2020 at 2:22 am

    Honestly this is the one thing I miss…the unexpected surprises that come from storing too much stuff.

    Now I have so little that I know whats in every box (including in the wife and kids closets) and there are no fun surprises down memory lane.

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