200 sqft studio after

The place had to be put together fast and as inexpensive as possible. Luckily I was able to reuse existing pieces from the previous apartment. One thing we were happy to reuse was her beautiful glass chandelier and were beyond disappointed when we removed the existing light and saw a mess that my installer said looked as if a beaver chewed a hole thru the ceiling, no seriously that’s exactly what it looked like. So putting up our fab and heavy light just wasn’t an option. Needless to say we were all quite upset to have to put that light back in… Ugh.

I didn’t take any shots of the kitchen (sorry Marie!). She doesn’t cook so I didn’t have to do anything special like install shelves or pot racks or anything.

We’re not sure how long she’ll be in this apartment and it is a rental so we decided not to do anything too dramatic like painting or doing too many installations. All of her things fit pretty well as is (with the exception of family memorabilia that her children are storing) and she can’t easily climb a ladder to access high shelves anyway so the dressers and low bookshelf work just fine.

We did install a hook rack near the front door, shown in the fourth shot. Hats, gloves, and scarves are in the top cubbies of the low open bookcase with extra blankets and files in the bottom cubbies. There’s a small closet with open shelves near the entry that holds extra toiletries, an iron, medicine and a first aid kit, travel toiletries, small summer fan, etc. Cleaning supplies and a vacuum are under the sink in the kitchen. There are clothes in the 2 dressers, and the white drawer units that are acting as nightstands hold office supplies, checkbooks, gift cards, stationery and stamps, kindle and charger, jewelry, glasses….

The one thing we do plan on buying is a set of small upholstered chairs for the round glass table near the window to use as a dining chair. Other than that we figure she should live there for a while to see if there’s anything else she’d like me to do to make the space better. Otherwise we think it looks pretty good (especially considering it was done in 2 days).

kitchen organizing made easy

People are surprised how long reorganizing a kitchen can actually take. Those cabinets can hold a ton, plus most things are heavy and breakable which slows down the process. And this is the perfect time to clean the cabinets inside and out which also takes time but is so worth it!

Before reorganizing a kitchen I always draw it out and figure where things should go BEFORE pulling everything out. Make a diagram of your space and make a list of the type of things you have, then start plugging in where things make the most sense to go. Or skip the drawing and use sticky notes directly on the cabinets.

The 3 main things you have are prep, cooking and serving. Cooking tools should be closest to the over/stove, prep tools should be where the most convenient place to prep is (for those of us in the city with tiny kitchens there isn’t always a large prep surface). And serving pieces near the sink / dishwasher.

You don’t need to complete the mapping 100% as you’ll need some wiggle room as you put things in their proper place they may take up more or less room than expected. Figure out at least half, starting with the easiest things and don’t worry about those items you’re not sure of. They’ll reveal themselves at the end once everything else is in place.

2 weeks 5 things challenge


Are you ready for the next challenge?? 

The idea here is not to tear your home apart or to do these all at once. Finish one category before moving onto the next. Start by just pulling out those things you do not want. If you need to pull stuff out to go thru it, pull out a little at a time as not to get overwhelmed. 

And know you’re not alone! I’m going thru a complete edit of my apartment as I may have to move soon (ugh more on that later). Keep me posted and let me know if you have questions…

Most people have waaayy to many cleaning supplies. And really, unless you reuse those plastic grocery bags these no reason to have so many. Get rid of old or obsolete cleaning supplies: specialty cleaners that no longer apply: ss cleaner, marble, car cleaner, etc. Place them in a box and leave on the curb for someone else to use or offer them to someone you know who could use them. 

Bring your own bag or be careful about double bagging at the store, do only if necessary. Seems simple but it helps. Or start using a cloth bag. Knowing what you have means not buying more than you need. Check stock before buying more.


Random screws, anchors with no screws, multiples of tools you’ll never use. I love going thru tool boxes even mine. There always such a mess (not mine of course) no one would go searching for something if they needed something anyway.

If you have multiples of something, for instance screwdrivers,  make sure they’re not actually different size tips and shafts. Sometimes you need a long or extra short shafts to get to awkward spaces.

Books should be seen no different than anything else. For most people they’re just dust collectors anyway.

DO NOT pull everything off the shelves! Start on one shelf, looking at each spine, starting left to right pulling out the books you don’t want. If you have a large bookcase and cannot do them all at once, put a sticky note on each shelf you’ve edited to keep track. dfsa

Those tiny notebooks you thought would be helpful to carry around but realized that are too small for your needs. A freakin million pens, half of which don’t even work. White out? Who uses white out?

Don’t toss things you’ll eventually use as long as it doesn’t take your LIFETIME to use it and it’s too much to easily store.

Vases, candles, picture frames… This is a category that helps if you pull everything together to see what you have as a whole instead of looking at things one at a time. I know you have vases all over the house in different cabinets and closets (i know because that’s how most people have them).

If you have a small space keep all vases together, preferably in the kitchen. keep in mind you don’t need to have all your decorative accessories on display. It can be fun to store some and switch things out every now and then.

color coded books


I recently helped one of my favorite clients move and this is her new dining area. She has a nice collection of books even though this is about half of what she had before she moved. She doesn’t reference these books anymore and likes color coding, as do I, so I got 3 billy bookcases and went to town. 

The only exception is the 1 row of books for cookbooks that she uses a lot. I mean who wants to have to remember the color of a spine every time they want to make vegan cupcakes??  

man’s clothes closet: before + after

This client just moved into this rental and wanted a quick inexpensive fix to his clothes closet. Here’s what I did:

Suits, sport coats, and dress shirts are on the left (facing right) with casual shirts and jackets on the right (facing left). An over-door shoe rack was mounted to the door to get shoes and small items off the floor and within easy reach. We left room for the missing shoes we’ll eventually find once he’s totally unpacked.

For a much needed additional upper shelf, I connected two small shelves to a long shelf using L brackets. It’s an easy cheap solution for a rental apartment that anyone can do. It’s connected to the back wall with an L-bracket to keep it stable.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers