How to make a tiny space a great place to live

One of our long term retirement goals is to go "tiny", get ourselves a Tiny home and enjoy the freedom that it gives you, so you can jump into the next adventurous stage of your life. However living tiny can be a bit scary so getting a trial run at it would be good. And that is just what we are doing over the next three months....we've going Tiny!, downsizing , whatever you like to call it.

This came about due to our major house renovations and the need to actually stay in the home (renting just wasn't an option).  We were fortunate to have a downstairs space, our entertainment room, that we could use to live in, approx 60sqm.  So we have essentially downsized and moved into this area. So far it has been a very interesting and a surprisingly fun experience...3 months on it may not be as fun..time will tell. 

The first challenge was deciding on what to take.  Actually it was more of what not to take as the restriction of space really forced you to think what was actually essential and what was a nice to have.  So far this journey has taught me how little we actually need and use on a daily basis in comparison to the amount of stuff that we actually have.

To help me work out the need vs want I essentially "zoned" the area and worked from there. It took me a while to figure out the zones and how they would best work in terms of layout. I came up with the following zones;

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • laundry
  • living/TV
  • Dinning
  • Reading
  • Coffee station
  • Chick zone

Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry

Yes a normal house would have all of these seperate however in our tiny space they are all in one, in other words they share the same space. 

This was the hardest area to work with as it is sooo small but needed a lot in it to make it functional.

I started with the Bathroom, using a plant to divide the bathroom from the kitchen area. In this area I used a small corner table to store bathroom essentials, making sure that I used only exisiting storage and furniture. It's tight but all we need for two people. 

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Under the sink I put the kitchen cleaning and towels etc on one side and the other the bathroom items. I had to sort out and clear out a lot of items from the actual kitchen and two bathrooms and decide what to take with us. The limitation of room simply forces you to be ruthless. I thought I was pretty good being clutter free but I have seriously ramped up that skill.  

The bench top space is very small but needed to have those things we use a lot. To help with space I corralled the toaster, jug,chopping boards and blender and beside the sink we have the dish rack!!! Yes there is no dishwasher well actually there is and it's me and Pete but no machine so the one thing I did purchase was a dish rack. 

I have to say the real blessing in this area was the laundry cupboard. I took all the non essential laundry items and stored them in the basement. This meant that I could use that space for a pantry and it works perfectly. However like all other spaces I had to seriously downsize the pantry contents. 

We have used Pete's beer fridge as our fridge with the Microwave on top and on top of that is all the laundry kit, again corralled.

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Out in the main area we got a large piece of wood and covered the pool table and created a kitchen island, now that was a genius move right there. I used a couple of shelves, one for the glasses and plates and the other for cooking equipment and other essential kitchen items. I have to say it all works really well. 

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So boom that's the Kitchen, Laundry and Bathroom !

Living and Dinning

We have these two very ugly lazy boy chairs but boy they are the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I have used a couple of nice throw rugs to disguise the ugliness, put a wee table in between them and that is the living and TV zone. Behind the chairs I have separated the areas with a small cabinet. This is now the dining room zone, use of a large rug and a small dinning table in the corner really helps to zone this space. Also in front of the "Kitchen island", I have put the hall table with pot plants, this makes the separation from the Kitchen zone and the dinning room. 

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Oh and I told Pete that when we actually downsize we are taking those chairs!!!  Can you ever describe a chair as heaven?

Reading and Coffee Station

This may well sound a bit silly however to make this space work for us and to ensure Pete's health and wellbeing, the ability to have a good reading area and more importantly his coffee machine was absolutely essential rather critical really!.  It took me a bit of thinking to get the coffee station sorted...actually stumped me for a while, then I struck upon the idea of using the TV corner unit. The unit was going to be stored away and unlikely to be used again in the new lounge. So it was a great opportunity to recycle it. It fitted everything on it perfectly, like it was made to be a coffee station. I could even store the coffee and tea supplies in the wee cupboard. And next door to this I just set up his reading nook, using the piano area as a shelf.  

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Chick Zone 

Ok ladys, I am sure that you would understand this, I like to have a nice space where I get ready in the morning. Now I did not think that I would be able to create what I term the "chicks zone". However there was an area in the corner of the room that has a large mirror and that inspired me to create my chick zone there. I used an old dresser that again was going to be put into storage.  Placing my yummy pink sheepskin on the floor finished it off nicely.  I really love this space and it's my wee sanctuary in the morning.

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Learnings

I think it's now week three in the "tiny" space and I have to say it's surprisingly comfortable. Pete and I have got into our new routine of living in the confined space. You are close to each other a lot so it's a good thing that I love hanging out with him. Juggling the one sink in the morning is sometimes a bit of a battle as we both go to work at the same time. I do find it a bit annoying being constantly interrupted when at the sink!!! something I am working on!. 

Enjoy those things that bring you joy! My initial plan was to pack up most of the ornaments etc, however it was actually quicker for me to just take the items downstairs into the new space. I actually really enjoyed how I could make the areas familiar and nice with our things. I did have to select only those that I really liked, and that was in fact an easy job.

Although we have managed to put a lot of furniture and things into our new "Tiny" space there is a lot in storage! Which makes me realise how much we do not use and question the need. To be honest I do not surround myself with a lot of clutter and living tiny has taught me how to focus in on what is actually really important and meaningful. I know that when it comes to moving back into the renovated area there will be big purges going on.

Cooking is certainly the biggest challenge and it is hard to try and maintain a good amount of home cooking. The only cooking appliance we have is an electric fry pan. Thank goodness it is summer and BBQ season so we can at least enjoy eating outside and yummy BBQ food. Also my summer crops are coming into full production so we have got good supplies for salads and the stir fry dishes. Meal planning has really helped us with this challenge. I think that if we didn't mean plan we would be eating out or getting takeaways every night. For those interested you can check out our "tiny living" meal planners in my fb meal planners page  7nightsaweek

The last note and one of the best is the significantly reduced cleaning that I need to do. It is bliss not have to clean such a big house. I am amazed at how quick I can wizz around and have the place clean. I can actually do all the zone cleaning in one go! However one thing that you learn quickly is that you can't just leave things lying around as there simply is no space, so you have to learn to put things away as soon as you finish with them. There are some members of the family who are still challenged by that.

I will be sharing more photos of the renovations and our tiny space on my social media so make sure that you follow my social media sites, just click on the links below

In the new year I will be doing another giveaway, something to help you keep your home clean and tidy consistently and with effective use of your time! Now that's a good new years goal!. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter if you have not already so you can me in to win!.

 

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I'll see you all back in the new year. 

Stay safe

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Decorating our sunroom | our journey


Apparently we have been in our house four years! It's hard to believe it has been that long as we are still working on making it our home. We purchased it knowing that it was in need of a lot of work, especially the external aspect of the house. This has taken most of our time and attention and money. We have finished most of the big jobs and repairs, like new cedar cladding, new decks, painting and staining. So we can now start to have some fun decorating the inside. 

Sunroom

Tip #1 - with house renovation always take care of the exterior first, fix all leaks and rotten materials. It is so important to weather proof a house before making it all beautiful on the inside.

Our sunroom, being the room we spend a lot of time in, is really our favourite room in the house. Poor thing has been in a state of neglect for a while. So we bit the bullet and set to the mission of redecorating it.

It is not a big room which from a decorating  perspective is good, however it is very sunny and full of windows. We needed to think through the challenges that brings with decorating, like paint colour fabric fading etc. First things first, what do we want it to look like. This is where Pinterest is soooooo fantastic.

Ideas Board

I set up a Sunroom board in my Pinterest account. (here is my Pinterest account). This really helped Pete and I to quickly narrow down the style we wanted and get some great decor ideas. In fact Pinterest is really helpful when working with your partners that struggle with concepts and visualising. You can just simply show them in Pinterest and they are like "ohh yeah that is so cool, I love that!"

From here we worked through tone and colours and decided on a very neutral, linen look. The colour will come through in the greenery that will be in the plants, cushions and rug.

To help decide on the actual paint colours we got some test pots from Resene .

Tip #2 - number the colours on the sample cards and on the surface next to the sample colour so you always match them back up.

Also test them on different parts of the room to see how they are in different lights and against an existing colour, if it will remain.

Paint samples

 

The Resene colours we chose were Cloud for the walls and Half Cloud for the ceiling

We used a low sheen as it is a bright room and we wanted to reduce the glare and reflection.  We used an existing  semi- gloss white for the sills, that we had left over from a previous paint job.

Tip# 3 - if you don't use all your paint, store the cans upside down to help prevent the paint drying out.

The flooring option was easy as wanted to have a floating laminate floor. We had installed this option in my office about 6 months ago and just love it, perfect colour and look. We used Hanwood Laminate flooring in Bleached Oak , which we got from Bunnings  This also helped with the connection of rooms throughout the house.

There is black cedar in the Sunroom so these colours really pop against the black.

Laminate flooring

Collect items

As we were undertaking the planning and organising of  the Sunroom, I was also keeping an eye out for special little treasures that would fit into the new room decor. Pete and I are keen recyclers and we love to hunt through all the secondhand, thrift shops to find the perfect piece. For this room we picked up the two cane chairs for $25 each, the hanging baskets for 50cents each, the planter basket for $6 and the cushion for $4.

I have also been growing the plants from little babies. See my blog where I talk about growing house plants. I still have a lot to grow and buy, top of list is a Fiddle Leaf fig and Boston Fern

Tip # 4 - focus on use, fit and style when secondhand and thrift shopping. It's only a treasure if it's going work well with your tastes and functionality.

I always try and source secondhand first, so much better to reuse if you can. And there is the added bonus of it being very budget friendly.

Indoor Plants

Prep work

This is probably my least liked part, sanding and painting, I am sure Pete would agree too. However preparation is the key to a job well done. It always take longer than you plan for, even with time saving tools, you have to take your time to do it right.

I think I got off lightly in this job as while Pete did all the sanding and painting I recovered the furniture. I will do a more detailed post about this as I used builders drop cloth to recover everything. It was the perfect material (heavy duty calico) for a sunroom and cost next to nothing to do, $88 for everything.

We did lay the flooring together as it is really a two person job. As we have already laid a floating floor it did not take too long. When you do a floating floor for the first time, I would recommend watching a few online tutorials before tackling the job. The first couple of rows take a wee while but after that you are away.

Tip # 5 - plan plenty of time to do the preparation, you will need it.

Deck it out

The fun part, making your ideas board come alive. As we reused all our furniture we only really needed to accessorise. This was not a big job as only had to source cushions, window dressing and a rug (the right one still to be sourced) 

Since finishing it we are now back in our beloved room, spending most of the weekend sitting in the sun. A bit like a cat really!!

My First blog

 

Kia Ora everyone, I can’t actually believe that I am really doing this. It’s my very first blog on my lovely new website

Firstly let me tell you a bit about myself.

My Mountain, my place

I am a Kiwi gal, more really a Kiwi woman, age and all that. I live in Auckland with my husband and two children. My mountain (this is how we describe where our family roots come from in New Zealand) is Mt Aoraki, otherwise know as Mt Cook

My home town of Timaru is on the coast and I got to see Mt Aoraki every morning from my bedroom window. Most of my childhood was spent in the McKenzie country, which essentially Mt Aoraki reigns over. I truly believe I was blessed to have grown up in such a breathtakingly, beautiful environment.

Following my dreams

Well at the age of 47, my journey to become a Professional Organizer and become my own boss lady has just begun.

I have always loved organizing and planning.  I love making my house a home and have a lot of experience and ideas on home organization and management.

Gardening is a real passion of mine, especially  vegetable gardening. Over the years I have built up a bit of knowledge on how to produce a great crop.

My goal is to be able to share as much of my skills and knowledge about organizing and planning to help people to overcome the noise in their head, the clutter in the home and the mess in the garden.

The other experience I want to share, is of raising a family while working full time in the Corporate world. I have a lot to share, not only about working full time and raising a family, but also about being a woman and having a career and the struggle and juggle that comes with that. I have learnt a lot about being really – freakingly organized – to cope with what is really, chaos sometimes.

And finally, you would have guessed, I am a planner addict. I have been using them even before they become so popular.

Stay in touch...Please!

So, if you are interested in reading and seeing more about my ideas and learnings on home organization, life planning, garden planning and care, home management , home renovations, how to multi task, please subscribe to my blog below.

I’d love any feedback, as I am just starting out on this journey and have sooooo much to learn. I really look forward to hanging out with you all on my blog!

Hugs and smiles

Tania