Finding more space in small places

The task given for this post was a very challenging one. One that we kinda already covered in our previous refurnishing of our living room, creating more space for everyone in the house. When I received the third tasks from IKEA, my mind went blank. How can I create even more space in the places which I’ve already filled up with things or one which I’ve only recently decluttered?

I paced around my 5-room HDB flat at least 6 times that day and tried to find new places to create even more space. First, it was the walls, we have plenty of empty walls around the house, but my hub will be so so mad if I were to drill holes into the walls to create more storage places. He likes to keep things simple and minimum, which is a total opposite of me!

Then I thought, there must be something I can do in our toilets! It is one of those places we use more often every day but spent the least effort to take care. But… there’s just that much space in there and we can’t possibly fit in any more storage in there with our built-in cabinets. I can’t be knocking those cabinets down and fit in new ones right?

See I’m stuck. Nothing much I can do to complete my challenge!

After a few days, while brushing my teeth staring into the built in cabinet, I finally saw the mess I can work on. THIS!

There’s only one face in the family that needed all the beauty treatments and care… and I have no idea why there are so many bottles of products in there! Have I been slapping THAT many things on my face every day? And there are many items in there which I’ve not touched for a very long time… time to clear this mess up!

So off I went to IKEA Tampines with this photo on my phone. Determined to find some small storage solutions to make more space in this small place. Here’s what I did…

Throw Unused Stuff

This was the first step and a very important one. By dumping away things that I no longer use makes the small place look more spacious already. I was then able to reposition the remaining items and sort them out according to our frequency of use in our daily routine.

Box Up Small Items

The slightest “mess” we see in small places make the space look overly cluttered and messy. But when you hide them into boxes, everything somehow looks neater and magically more space are created. In our toilet cabinet, I’ve added DRAGAN 2-piece bathroom set made of bamboo, in there I store my facial masks, cotton pads, make-up accessories and other tiny pieces that I rarely use. I also bought a set of GODMORGON box with lid to hold the tall bottles which tend to shake/fall easily when touched, and also for the smaller bottles.

And in the lowest shelf in there, I’ve used STUGVIK Toothbrush holder with suction cup to hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste. This we should have done it long ago! Using those containers to hold toothbrushes is just so wrong because water tends to be collected at the bottom causing algae and bacteria to grow.

And with just few simple steps, my small place inside this cabinet is now looking much neater and there’s even extra space for ermm… few more new beauty products perhaps? LOL!

More Small Storages for Kids

I am not one who walks out of IKEA with just a few items in my shopping bag. New ideas are always sprouting as I stroll down the store. With something here and another thing there, I came back home with a few additional stuff to create more and better storage ideas for my little ones.

See those red and white boxes in our bookshelves? These boxes help hold the random pieces which the girls started filling up these shelves with since I set it up. There’s the random piece of drawing from school, the new art & craft pieces, small toys from egg surprises and even small baby books which they still takes out to see them once a while. We’ve already gotten the FLYTTBAR Trunk for toys for the girls some time back, and now I bought two more for the living room. I love how these boxes can hold all the toys and books etc and is able to flatten when not in use. Ideal for small places.

Besides these red trunks, I also found these white KUGGIS Box with lid very useful. The lid can be used as tray when there are guests in the house and we use them to serve them drinks and snacks. And the box can hold papers and even CNY goodies on our STUVA benches. I love multi-purpose storage solutions.

These pretty white KVISSLE Letter tray is my favourite buy from that shopping trip at IKEA. I use this to hold papers, colouring sheets, flash cards and the girls’ completed drawings in folders. I like how the girls can see where the things are and they have learned to not come to me whenever they need paper for drawings or want something to colour.

Happy and busy kids, make a very happy and relax Mummy. Ha!

I am glad I managed to squeeze more space in the toilet and in the living room. Are you inspired to go shopping at IKEA too? How are you planning to supercharge your living space?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

Creating More Space in Our Living Room

Every year during this period I tend to become a little lazy at work and want to do something new around the house. It has been awhile since I did some home improvement and since there’s the Christmas party with family coming, and the Chinese New Year shortly after, I decided to do some “magic” around our living room.

We live in a 5-room HDB and is kinda huge in the standard HDB context these days. Our living room and dining area are one massive open space in a regular rectangular shape which makes it rather easy to shift things around and create our space. I love to create cosy space while the husband prefers to keep it minimum and clean. With just the four of us living in this space, we kept things to the minimum.

BEFORE: Quite a messy sight

This space is used mainly for the following:

  • Space for dinner, which we have at the round kid’s table because the girls want to watch TV while they eat.
  • To chill, watch TV, where the girls do their crafting, writing and activities that require tables/chairs.
  • Hosting of our family and friends when they come over for visits.
  • Storing of books, game consoles, some toys and photo albums.

Before, we bought one and then another shelf for the girls’ collection of books and activities. Eventually, these two shelves were overloaded and had papers, books and what not spilling out. We needed more storage space.

BEFORE: Our overloaded book shelves

When we first moved into our house, we had a huge comfy sofa and lounger from IKEA, but we removed it after 5 years as we felt it was taking up too much space. Then we got two NOLMYRA Easy chairs that we can move around easily. But then we realized family members had to sit at the dining table or on the floor when they visit as there were not enough seats in the living room. We needed more seats.

BEFORE: Limited seating chairs for guests

We have also been considering getting a coffee table or a side table for the living room because when the girls are doing their activities on their round table, there’ll be no table space for us to put our cup of drinks or stuff when we are spending time together in the evenings. End up the adults will be seated at the dining table with our drinks or evening snacks while the girls do their stuff at the other side of the room. Though we were still in the same room, but it felt a little distant. We needed table closer to the kids.

With the three needs in mind, we planned our new living room for the new year. And I’m happy with it because it’s now more functional, meets our needs and there is a lot more storage space! Our girls are thrilled too! “Mummy it’s so colourful! I love it!” said Zara when she came back from her gramps after we got the living room transformed.

AFTER: More of everything we needed!

For the books and stuff, we removed the two small shelves we had and replaced them with two KALLAX Shelving units in green and yellow. With the additional shelf space, I spread the books out and grouped them by type and level. The girls suddenly realized they had lots of books to read and rediscovered the many stories they didn’t know they had! As there are many loose sheets of papers and thin magazines, stickers and activity books, I kept them hidden from sight with FJÄLLA Magazine files; creating a neater look for the shelves.

AFTER: More storage space for the whole family

On the other side of the room, I added more storage space, more seats and even table space with just two sets of STUVA / FÖLJA Storage benches! I am super proud of myself when I put this corner together because it is multi-functional and yet so simple. We love this new corner!

AFTER: Loving our new multi-functional living space

Now the girls can use this side of the space for reading, more space for them to do their activities and they get to just dump their commonly played toys into the drawers instead of moving them in and out of their playroom.

AFTER: Hide those cushion seats into the drawers and we’ve got tables for snacks and stuff!
AFTER: Remove the storage unit and put in a chair, and we’ve got another space for activities!

We are now set and ready for more family time in our living space! Well at least the living room is ready.

One room down and three more to go. And this was the easiest space to improve on, the other rooms are in such crazy mess I don’t event know where to start! More spring cleaning and decluttering to be done soon! How are you preparing for the new year?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.