life in a tiny apartment.

January 9, 2013


Tip #46: Clean out the insides, too.

I admit that our apartment is super tidy 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time exists between the hours of 7:00 pm and 7:10 pm when James comes home and proceeds to catapult all of his personal belongings around the apartment where they stay for approximately 5 minutes before I start to twitch and he hastily gathers them back up again. Cohabiting is 98% joy, 2% catastrophe, for both of us.
But here’s the thing: just because a look around shows a neat apartment, what lies behind closed doors and lids can be another story. I’m not the kind of person who thinks the contents of your garbage can should be color coded, but I do think there’s merit in keeping what you’ve tucked away in good order. Good order needs upkeep.
January’s a good a time as any to revisit some of tucked away spaces and straighten them out. I’m the first to admit that you can border on nutso with this stuff, so I present you with the view of one of our tool boxes. It’s not beautiful. It’s not even terribly neat. But everything has its place and when I go searching for our miniature stapler, I know where it is. If you just shove things away willy nilly, you spend nearly as much time looking for lost items as you would if you were digging through piles out in the open. And: opening a few lids might even mean you discover you have more space for storing than you realized.

*For the record, it was James who organized this box, sans prompting. It’s not all tyranny around here.

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  • Reply Jay January 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Your James sounds like my Joe – although my side-eye hardly gets him putting his stuff away.
    Sometimes I think the universe is playing a joke on me. Five years ago, I was the messier one. I have no idea how or when the swap happened but I can assure you, it was much more fun on the other side.

  • Reply Chloe Moon January 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Absolutely!!! I have a super tiny studio condo with one big room and Oh yes it looks somewhat tidy somedays but then there was my walk-in closet. Well it was advertised as a walk-in closet and let's just say I haven't been able to walk into it for the past year. Last night I gutted the closet and I CAN WALK INTO IT NOW!!! It felt so good this morning to walk in and pick my daily outfit. I tackled a junk drawer too last week and ooooo it feels good to read the now labels and not have to rummage through it. =)

    Ergo – Blog

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      ah! best feeling.

  • Reply forefrontfashion January 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    for some reason alex always flings his coats on the kitchen table. we do have hooks for that sort of thing. le sigh. luckily the good always outweigh the bad!

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      seriously. around here it's the back of a kitchen chair. why?

  • Reply Ann January 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Something I've been dreading doing… organizing the unseen places.
    Thanks for the extra push!

  • Reply Maria January 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Good luck organizing everything, I live in the sorority house so I don't have too much space to hid things, but I have so many different organizational tools that it helps so much. xo, Maria

  • Reply January 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Oh I couldn't agree more!

  • Reply Drew Frohn January 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    this is super topical for me, on Sunday night I was just thinking that this weekend I should clear out my cabinets, closets, and junk drawer and better organize them. (I live in a tiny apartment too and completely understand how even hidden clutter can still feel like clutter.)

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      yes! such a silly relief to open a cabinet and know just where everything goes.

  • Reply Little Kitchie January 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    um, love this! the first paragraph made me laugh… sounds just like our place. 🙂

  • Reply Lauren Ashley January 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    HA! My hubs and I (also small space dwellers) are the same way. I've thinking lately about our jumbled junk drawers, everything looks nice from the outside, but there is chaos within. All signs point to starting that project. xo!

  • Reply Becca January 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Very cute that you have Altoids in your tool box. 🙂

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Everything in its place, my friend.

  • Reply Ashely January 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    This made me laugh out loud! Sounds like guys are all the same?

  • Reply Debs January 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Hooray! Can James please come and spend some time with my pack rat?

  • Reply Sarah Dee January 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I've been on a real cleaning kick since the new year began and your blog is the perfect inspiration for decluttering. That tool box is more organized than my desk drawers 😉


  • Reply Joy January 10, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I live with my hubby in a tiny space in the Seattle area, soon to be living with my hubby in a tinier space in Boise, ID and we've been slowly but surely trying to master this tiny-space-co-dwelling business. I love your life in a tiny apartment series that my friend pointed me to. And I love love love your gorgeous photography. xo

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Joy! So glad you found your way here!

  • Reply Alice January 10, 2013 at 6:21 am

    I am guilty of this. Very tidy, but my draws and cupboards are a mess inside – waaay too full. You've inspired me to clear them out!

  • Reply A Pearl In The Making January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I just inherited one of my grandpa's old tackle boxes and this is a helpful and creative idea of how to use it.

    • Reply Erin January 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      I love a good tackle box/tool box/grandpa box for organizing!

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