We Lived Happily Ever After: My Favorite Ways to Organize in an Open, Pretty Way

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Favorite Ways to Organize in an Open, Pretty Way

We live in a small house, with barely any storage. We don't even have linen closets for our bathrooms. Maybe it's all because of the military moves, but I am proud to say that my husband and I have been really good about condensing & getting rid of stuff we don't need. 

But with two kids, in a house under 1000 square feet, we still need to become creative with our organizing. Here are my "stylish" ways to create storage in clean, pretty way.

Disclaimer: This is what works for me- how clean you like your house is up to you. These are just some tips that have helped me be happier & more productive, because a clean house = a happy mommy which = a happy family. :)

We have a good amount of books, and they are all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. I really hated how they looked aesthetically with their mismatching colors. I didn't want to (and probably wasn't allowed to) rip off the binding, or recover them all with brown paper... So a quick fix to hide "The Football Coaching Bible" and all the other books, was to flip them on their sides, and display the bottoms of the pages

One thing that is very important, in my mind, is a clean room & a made bed. When you make your bed first thing in the morning, it helps you accomplish one small thing, that enables you to feel good about your day and ready to go check off all the other, more important stuff on your list. I know it sounds funny, but I'm totally serious. :)

I am a craft and art supplies hoarder. But this stuff can look good out in the open. I love displaying the brushes, pens, and my scissors out in the open in mason jars, and I put the bulk of the other stuff in boxes and baskets on my desk.

Speaking of baskets, if you can't tell, I have an obsession with them. 

My poor husband. I never told him this, but once I was out of town without him, and went to a homegoods... I literally loaded up my cart with vases and baskets... and had an inner battle with myself:

Adult Me: "Hannah, be responsible; you don't need these-where will you even put them." 

Artist Me: "But they are so pretty!"

I felt so good putting them all back. I was so proud of myself, and my husband didn't have to find out by checking the bank statements. I seriously have a problem ya'll. It's kind of funny how bad it is. 

But with that all said, baskets are AMZING. You should get some. They are easy to tuck into nooks and crannies, and are perfect for organizing anything. I just got four new ones for my closet... and yes, I have been called a shopaholic by strangers for getting out of line and grabbing a basket at TG Maxx... ;)

My favorite thing to use baskets for is toys. It's very practical, and stylish.

As far as my arch nemesis (aka "toys") goes, I found myself always picking up after the kids (June does help me though- parents, if your kids can play with toys they can pick them up!!!) and I came to the realization that toys will always win... and that my kids are only going to be little once. So instead of being a true minimalist (and throwing away the toys) I have come to peace with the fact that they will exist... in my sight... 

BUT, I DO throw away cheap, ugly toys that my children don't have any emotional connection to (once they get bored of them.) I am also picky about the colors & styles of toys that can be displayed in our living room and in their bedrooms. I like the soft, natural looking ones... the cheap, plastic ones go in a tin bucket in the closet. It may seem silly, and over the top, to actually sort out which toys your kids can have out all the time; but it actually makes me so much happier. We also have some toys that are "in rotation" from the garage to the house.

My kids can play with the stored ones any time they ask. But once they are done with them, they go back into the bucket and into the closet. This is my solution for happy kids, and a happy mom who doesn't have creepy happy meal toys staring at her...

Let's talk cords. They are messy, and SO annoyingly ugly. If I have any ability to tuck, or wrap them, I do it right away. It may not be fancy to wrap the cords around the nightstand leg, but no one can see it, so I'm happy with that.

If your house is like ours and doesn't come with built in storage, create some! This PALLET HUTCH is where all our keys, speakers, DVD's, coloring books and crayons go. Someday I will have to show you what behind the closed door looks like- but you can probably guess that it's not as pretty as the right side! LOL!

For memorabilia, a great way to show them off in a non permanent way is to have FLOATING SHELVES. They are super easy to build too, btw.

And again with the toys... a large open crate works for big stuffed animals. I remember crying because my mom wanted me to put my toys away into the toy box (I was 4).. It's SO hard people! LOL!

One more thing that I try to do is store essentials out in open. I have diapers and wipes in several baskets and boxes around the house. This one is in a "ammo can" ... get it? ;)

Okay, so this one is more about protecting your organization from baby hands... my husband cut a simple 1x3" board with a jigsaw to act as locks for our kitchen cabinets, because Jason, our 12 month old, will NOT leave them alone!

So you may be thinking that this girl is kind of OCD right now, and maybe you are right! I threw out all the clunky, mismatched plastic spice jars, and replaced them with the mason jars. It may look like the mini mason jars take up more space, but they actually don't, because you can stack them on top of each-other.

I also got a bunch of mason jars and chalkboard lids for my pantry to label all the jars.

Another kitchen storage solution I use is storing the flour and sugar out on the countertop.

We barely have any bathroom storage, so I have all my necessities in a cute little covered basket on our dresser right outside of the door.

The last thing I do is more of a style preference. I don't like a ton of appliances out on the counter, but our everyday silverware being out on the counter not looks cute (to me at least!) but it also makes my job putting them away once washed so much easier. :)

There you have it- those are the organizing solutions I used for our small house with very little storage. Share your favorite organizing and cleaning tips with me in the comments! 


  1. I love all of your ideas. Thanks for the inspiration. I have a small space right now and I have to get crafty with storage so I loved this post. Love your blog btw, thanks for being awesome.

  2. Lovely post! Your organisation is so good - I think using baskets or pretty storage always helps :)

    Kathy x

  3. Thanks for all this lovely ideas!
    Desi | http://mylovelyhook.blogspot.it/

  4. Great ideas, Hannah! Love that you wrap your cords around the table posts, I need to try that! And oh yes, I totally get the toy issue. We use baskets to tuck them away too, it's a must! I'm super picky about how and where they're put away, everything has a place. It also drives me crazy when anything is missing because I have a mental note of quantities, etc. Haha, now I sound crazy! #momocdproblems

  5. Love the ideas. Love your house.