Outside the Box

When my kids were little I supplemented our income with folk art painting. Okay, it was probably more of a hobby than a moneymaker, but once in a while it came in handy-- like the time I had just finished a boutique and our refrigerator conked out. There went my profits!
Without the space for a craft room in our home I resorted to using the kitchen table as my workspace. Needless to say, there were challenges keeping little hands out of my stuff and extra work clearing it off for every meal. Too often we get stuck in a frustrating situation when an answer might be right “outside the box,” or in my case, inside the closet!

Looking for another option, I spied our coat closet. I relocated the coats to a line of hooks on the wall in the laundry room. I purchased a desk that fit inside perfectly, wall to wall. My husband graciously assembled it-- inside the closet. The shelves above held my project supplies. I used a folding chair, which fit snugly in the doorway so no little bodies could reach the work surface. When not in use, the chair folded up and the door closed to hide the mess. A perfect solution!
So, what has you stuck? What’s not working in terms of your space? What do you want to do or have that you don’t currently have a space for? Today's Timely Tips are designed to get your thoughts flowing and help you design creative ways to use space and products. These may not be your particular challenges, but hopefully, they'll spark some great ideas.

Timely Tips to create space and productivity

The Spare Room - Do you have a guest room with nary a guest? Consider letting go of the bed so you can use that space for your exercise equipment or craft table. Keep an inflatable mattress on hand, or use a trundle day bed or sofa bed for the rare occasion of an overnight guest. A fold-down table for crafts and projects gives you versatility with your space.

One of my clients uses one spare room as a guest room and the other spare room for storage. Bins of party and holiday supplies are stored there. Why not? It makes so much more sense to use the square footage you’re already paying for, than to go out and rent more storage!

I’ve seen bedrooms turned into closets, and closets turned into bedrooms. Too often we are limited by tradition or simply not thinking outside the box.

Kids' Stuff in the Kitchen - Does the bottom of the china hutch have to store placemats and dishes? No! Not if the kitchen table is a homework station and you need school supplies handy. Are you frustrated with your kids pulling toys into the kitchen while you’re making dinner? Why not designate a bin of “kitchen toys” and store them in the hutch, kitchen cabinet, or in a rolling cart that you can easily put elsewhere when desired? Don’t fight it, fix it!



The Home Office - Most people still feel like the home office is where they “should” do their bill paying, etc., but we don’t. Laptops have us on the couch or kitchen table. We don’t like to be isolated, so embrace it. A rolling file cart can store the files and office supplies you need and be rolled into a nearby closet when not in use. Lose the big desk and transform your home office into a man cave, exercise, craft, or play room.


Ironing Station - If you’re among the diminishing population that still irons clothes, you may think that it “should” be done as part of the laundering process, when actually it’s done whenever you pull something wrinkled out of the closet (or am I the only one that does that). So, rather than have the ironing board in the laundry room that’s across the house from your bedroom, set up an over the closet door board or attach an attractive wall-mount cabinet board in your bedroom, so it’s handy for those quick touch-ups.


Room Dividers - Maybe an attractive room divider is all you need to double the productivity of your space. You can section off an area in your great room for a kids' play area, music "room," puzzle/game table, or command center. Create a more defined entry with a half-wall book shelf or mud room bench. Hang a privacy curtain or use a paneled divider for older kids sharing a room. 

wise words

Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box. --Deepak Chopra