Tip #184: Hammer a few nails.
I realize it’s not always possible. Wall construction and lease clauses and paint that can’t be matched can make hammering nails willy-nilly into your walls less appealing, or downright ill-advised. Still, I’ve been a renter my entire adult life and I’ve always hammered at least a handful of nails into the places I’ve lived. In nearly every case the result has been improved function and attending joy.
This time last year, we briefly moved out of our apartment so that it could be remediated for lead paint and entirely repainted. Needless to say, the move necessitated removing every bit of art and hardware and other genre of item we’d tacked into the walls over the previous four years. Before leaving the apartment, I dutifully patched nail holes so that when it was repainted a few weeks later, I knew we’d be starting with a clean slate (or, as clean as a 100-year-old rental apartment ever can be).
Since moving back in, I’ve been somewhat more hesitant to tap nails into the freshly painted walls. (They’re so smooth! So shiny!) But a few weeks ago we finally hung a lamp above our table. (See also.) And since then, I’ve been getting reacquainted with one of my number one organizing tips for a small apartment which is, hang it up. You don’t need anything special, just a hammer and some nails or a screw driver and some screws, and you’ll likely find yourself a solution to at least a handful of your peskiest storage conundrums.
Most recently, in our linen/everything else closet, I spent a little bit of time doing some reorganizing. I’ve spent the past few years cobbling together work spaces in coffee shops and shared offices out of the house and now that both kids are in school and out-of-the-house childcare, I spend the majority of my work day in my apartment. Having my supplies readily available—and safe from small hands when they do return home—has been a priority and a pleasure. And so, a closet reorganization project was in order.
I didn’t buy a thing for this project. A few nails and a few repurposed cardboard containers, plus a bit of strategic rejiggering, sorting, and clearing out, has left me with a whole shelf to devote to work supplies, and most importantly, easy access to them.
Inside the closet, I made use of wall space and lined an otherwise empty wall with my collection of scissors and clippers and other small tools that I use regularly. The result is all of the tools are at the ready whenever I need them, without needing to go into deeper storage. Also: it looks nice!
Like every other one in this series, this post isn’t about what you should do, but what you can do. Namely, make a tiny bit of difference in your everyday experience of your home by checking in to make sure it’s working for you. As I write in Simple Matters, I try make sure that every item in my home is doing good work. Joy and sparking it is important, no doubt, but in my estimation the most joy comes from an environment that’s functional first. And in my closet, and I’d guess probably yours, sometimes it’s as simple as hammering a few nails.
For the curious:
+ My hammer*, a trusty friend to last a lifetime.
+ To patch small nail holes, I usually use this spackle,* or another I can find locally. For best results I use a small putty knife*, sand if need be, and paint over with a fresh swipe of paint to match the wall color. The whole process takes very little time and the end result is a wall that doesn’t look like it’s been through a battle.
+ Our entire apartment is painted in Benjamin Moore Simply White, including this closet (there’s a semi-gloss finish on the woodwork and an eggshell finish on the walls).
+ My very favorite kind of small nails for hanging lightweight items are steel tacks*. They’re simple and small and they feel more intentional and decorative than a regular nail, without being showy. A note: they work best if nailed into wood, but if the item you’re hoping to hang is very lightweight (a dried flower, an unframed print or poster, a tiny pouch…) they can work in drywall, too.
+ Similar to ours, metal baskets* for storage.
What about you guys? Team hammer away, or leave well enough alone?
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