What’s in your kitchen junk drawer?

This is my “junk drawer”.

Junk Drawer
Junk Drawer

I actually have four “junk” drawers in my kitchen. These are handy, catch-all drawers for odds and ends. In this one, I have a pack of gum, candle, shoe polish, black shoelaces, batteries, flash light, re-usable bag, tape measure, lint brush, screwdrivers, scissors and tape.

Personal organizing expert, Elizabeth Larkin, has five easy steps to de-clutter your top drawers. Larkin’s tips include:

1. Keep what you need and purge what you don’t.

2. Sort and group similar items together.

3. Determine your storage needs.

4. Arrange your items.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 on a regular basis.

Do you have a junk drawer? What’s in it? How often do you clean out your catch-all drawer?


Six tricks to help de-clutter your bathroom

Is your bathroom small, cramped and disorganized? Well, you’re not alone. Better Homes and Gardens has the following storage solutions for tiny bathrooms:

Here are my space-saving ideas:

If possible, try to incorporate storage into the design of your bathroom. Add built-in shelves to your shower to hold your soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and razor. Check out Leslie Rocha’s clever use of an “L” shaped, shower shelf (photographed below) in her recently renovated bathroom.

Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha
Bathroom Storage, Photo by L.Rocha

Install floating shelves above the toilet for additional storage or to display decorative items. Use a tray to keep similar and small items together or display items in clear containers such as soaps, brushes or swabs.

Floating Shelf
Floating Shelf

Consider a mirrored medicine cabinet for make-up and other toiletries. IKEA has many different styles to choose from.

A vanity is a great way to hide cleaning supplies. Stack bins on the shelves or hang organizers on the cabinet doors to keep items neat and tidy. Check out the latest trends on bathroom vanities from Interior Designer Jane Lockhart.

Place pretty baskets or bins on the floor or on shelves to store extra rolls of toilet paper or clean towels.

For additional storage, add a stylish shelf above the bathroom door to help keep loose items out of sight.

There never seems to be enough space in my bathroom? How do you de-clutter your bathroom?

How to get creative with your condo space

When Albert Pasceri moved into his one-bedroom, North York condo, he was faced with a storage issue. The first-time condo owner quickly realized the kitchen cabinets in his 700-square-foot space were not enough.

With little room to store canned goods and everyday dishes, Albert set out in search of a solution.

“A small space encourages you to be more creative. I had to look for other ideas for storage,” said Albert.

So, he decided on four open shelves in the kitchen to store and display mugs and bowls. This easy and inexpensive option also freed up other space in the existing kitchen cabinets.

With only a small nook in the kitchen, Albert would have to get creative to fit a narrow pantry.

“I took two red IKEA medicine cabinets and attached one on top of the other. Then I added legs and just like that I created a custom pantry to fit my space,” added Albert.

Customized Pantry
Customized Pantry, Photo by A. Pasceri

Another challenge he faced was what he described as a “builder’s quirk”. Light switches and an electrical box in the recently built condo were placed in the middle of walls instead of off to the side.

He wanted a place to store his keys and mail, as well as hang a mirror, but a light switch placed in the centre of the entranceway wall forced him to alter his plans. A solid mirror wouldn’t work because of the light switch. The solution was a strip mirror by UMBRA. The seven strips allowed Albert to customize his entranceway mirror and cleverly address the light switch obstacle.

Since the entranceway is narrow, he opted for two floating ‘L-shaped’ shelves to hold his keys, wallet and spare change.

Entranceway Mirror & Shelves
Entranceway Mirror & Shelves, Photo by A. Pasceri

When decorating a small space, Albert recommends the following tips:

  • Use a low tack painter’s tape on your floors to map out your furniture and help visualize what each room will look like before you buy.
  • Measure your space before you go shopping. Don’t forget to also measure the doorways to avoid bringing home furniture that doesn’t fit through the front door.
  • Look up in your condo and use your vertical space to create more storage.
  • Be creative and customize pieces to add your personal style to the room.

For more storage solutions and style ideas check out 11 tricks to add style to your kitchen by Nest.com.

Do you live in a condo? Have you ever had to get creative when it came to storage? What are some of the decorating challenges you’ve faced?