life in a tiny apartment.

July 15, 2015

life in a tiny apartment: tiny storage | reading my tea leaves Tip #127: Find Tiny Storage Solutions.

People ask me an awful lot how I manage to stay organized in a small space. Usually my answer is that I stay organized in a small space in the same way that I would in a much larger space: namely by not having too much stuff to organize. But while that’s largely true, I realize that it might seem like an unsatisfactory answer. Even for someone who tries to keep her material goods in check, there’s still the question of wrangling and organizing what we do have and the wrangling of tiny things themselves can be particularly challenging. For me, a frequent solution is tiny bags. In packing for a weekend away and in keeping little things from spilling out of my kitchen cabinets, small cloth bags—typically of the variety that come for free with with gifts or clothing purchases—are probably my number one organizing secret. Not so secret anymore.

I keep one in the medicine cabinet with medicine and other things that would otherwise look cluttered and messy out on the shelf. I keep a collection of them in a kitchen cabinet where I use them to store everything from extra mason jar lids to wine bottle stoppers and extra cheese cloth and spice bags. There’s another one in my toiletry kit for stashing hair elastics. There’s a small zipped pouch with essential oils in a basket in the bathroom. And another one with nail polish. There are even slightly larger bags kept under the sink for housing plastic garbage pags and dishwasher detergent.

For me, organizing without these kinds of catchalls requires too much commitment to keeping things perfectly lined up or beautiful enough to merit display. Little bags make it easier. Because I find that anything that gets tucked out of sight can end up getting lost (or unruly), the key for not having the bags become part of the problem themselves is to keep only like with like. Once I start using a single bag to store mason jar lids and extra spice bags and bottle stoppers, the likelihood that it will also trap other unwanted things seems to grow exponentially. But keeping one small bag filled only with mason jar lids keeps the number of them that accumulate in check and means that I always know where to find them.

In case you don’t have a stash of these bags handy, here’s a little set you can buy. (Though at 50/pack I’d suggest going in with a friend or five.)

If you’re hoping for something larger and lightweight, produce bags might do the trick. And

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more sturdy, these waxed canvas ones with a zipper would be awesome.

And definitely keep your eyes peeled: there are more of these bags floating around out than you’d think.

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips #1 – 125, RIGHT HERE.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Meg @ Adventures in Verdance July 15, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I live on tiny storage. Everything has it's own little basket/shelf home and it makes cleaning so much easier. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Anonymous July 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Erin!

    My question is unrelated to storage but related to New York apartment dwelling.

    Have you had any issues with unsavory apartment pests, namely of the tough to kill bug variety.

    I just spotted one yesterday in my very old apartment, and I'm wondering if you have any tips on natural repellents that are effective but safe for the small creatures we do want crawling around our apartments like babies and pets.

    Thanks!

    • Reply Erin July 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Oh gosh! Condolences! We haven't encountered this problem in New York, thank goodness! And we mostly ignored in our southern apartments when the "palmetto bugs" were….lively. That being said, James once lived in a trailer or South Carolina for a summer and his boss made him homemade bug bombs out of Borax! You'd have to search for the exact recipe (and I'm not sure they're really *safe* for babies and pets, but if might be a start!).

    • Reply admin July 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Oh gosh! Condolences! We haven't encountered this problem in New York, thank goodness! And we mostly ignored in our southern apartments when the "palmetto bugs" were….lively. That being said, James once lived in a trailer or South Carolina for a summer and his boss made him homemade bug bombs out of Borax! You'd have to search for the exact recipe (and I'm not sure they're really *safe* for babies and pets, but if might be a start!).

  • Reply Robyn July 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    How do you label your bags?

    • Reply Erin July 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      No labels! Though if you decided to go that route a plain old rubber stamp would do the trick!

    • Reply admin July 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      No labels! Though if you decided to go that route a plain old rubber stamp would do the trick!

  • Reply catie July 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    i use tiny bags, too! most of mine say 'marble & milkweed' on them : ) thought i would share my source for the very best produce bags made by my dear friend, laurie {we've been friends for almost 20 years} i have been using a single set of her beautifully made cheesecloth bags since 2009 ~ https://www.etsy.com/listing/230635540/fill-your-fridge-pack-contains-2big-head the tiny size is perfect for buying & storing loose tea leaves ♥

  • Reply Archana July 15, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    How nice ! Yes to not displaying everything and finding bags to stash them in.

    On a different note, I think you have a nice collection of tiny wooden crates.

    DId you write about lighting in your apmt ?

  • Reply Kaolee Hoyle July 15, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I like the idea of having bags to store things, and organizing likes with likes. We are waiting on our house to be built, and am in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and I'm having to clean and put things away more often in order to feel better about my space.

  • Reply Anonymous September 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    store garbage bags in the bottom of trash bin. You always have one when needed, and it frees up space under the sink.

    • Reply admin September 8, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Ha! Our garbage can is too tiny for that, but it's a great idea for folks with a regular sized can!

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