Over the past little while it had become clear to me that quite a few of the spaces in our home were not making a whole lot of sense. We had a lot of furniture crammed in, and it was hard to keep all our storage easy to use. As a result, everything ended up in an untidy mess almost immediately after we got it all cleaned up. Since we live in a rented basement suite at the moment, we can do almost nothing to physically change the space, so we started to try to think creatively about what we could do to improve our situation. Our budget is also super limited these days, so we really had to think hard about what we needed, and what we could use in different ways to make the most of our space without buying a bunch of new furniture.
As with my Meals from the Pantry series, I thought this might be a situation that a lot of others might find themselves in. Since the gardening and foraging topics mostly have to wait for the snow to melt, I thought I'd do a series of posts about what we did. Maybe some of you will find it inspiring, and for me it will keep me accountable to make sure I actually do it all!
Now for some brutally honest "before" photos:
I took these photos on random days without tidying up at all first. Bloggers sometimes look like they have such glamorous lives, and beautiful homes, right? As you can see our storage solution was not working at all since we hadn't put away our laundry for a while. Mr. Forager's dresser is in that little nook because it fit, and because it blocks the view of the doorway to our Landlady's part of the house. My dresser at the moment of these photos was in the closet, and there is a giant pile blocking me from opening the doors to put anything away. Sad to say, but for a while our most utilized organizational system in there was just keeping things in huge ugly piles.
I can't be alone in this, right? I know some of you out there are probably neat freaks, but honestly a busy, cluttered life catches up to everyone. Either you have no free time and make sure everything is tidy, or you just let the piles build up. The only way to have some breathing room in your busy schedule and to have an organized house is to get intentional about what you're keeping and how you are using it. I think this is one of the reasons the Minimalism movement is catching on so much with people in my age group. Everyone I know has jobs, and side hustles, and hobbies, and friends, and families, and volunteering - seriously whoever said "millennials" were lazy has never been one! While I'll never be a complete minimalist, I am starting to take some of the ideals the philosophy promotes to heart, and it really helped when we were working out our plan to reorganize our home to be more useful, and more beautiful.
The basic things we needed from our bedroom:
- Somewhere to Sleep.
- Somewhere isolated from the rest of the house for Mr. Forager to get reading done for his Masters program he is currently working on.
- Storage that is easy to access for our clothes and personal items.
- Storage that is not immediately visible and out of the way for things like Christmas Decorations.
- A room that feels inviting and relaxing, and looks like we planned it to be that way.
I am beyond happy with the way everything turned out! Everything in here was something we either had somewhere else, or we were just storing somewhere out of the way. The only thing we bought was a tension rod to hang up the curtains in the reading nook, so that combined with a few screws we needed to hang things up properly maybe bumped the total up to $10, but honestly it was probably less than that.
We moved things slightly to clean up some of the lines that were being made by the furniture. For example before we had the bed centred on that wall, but it made it line up awkwardly with the doorway. We originally had the tea cart that is now my bedside table on the wall opposite the bed, but that ended up just being a catch all for anything and everything. With moving the bed to line up with the doorway better there was now room for that to become my nightstand. The dresser that is now opposite the bed used to be in the closet, so we switched that and put Mr. Forager's tall dresser in the closet. This created room for us to bring in one of our chairs and create that little reading nook. We had been covering the entrance to our landlady's part of the house with the dresser, and now needed to do something different. These curtains used to hang in our main room, so we had enough to hang some around our window, and also to hang some in front of the door on a tension rod. This gives us sort of an accent wall type thing, and also hides the door!
There are a few things I have on a wish list that were either too time consuming to make, or too expensive for us at the moment. One huge wish is a big area rug for under our bed. I am currently working on one for our den, so making one here will take a while yet. Our bedside tables and lamps are mismatched, but it's not too glaring, and especially in the case of the tables I think it works alright. I have a bunch of books underneath Mr. Forager's lamp to bring it up to the height of my lamp so they look a bit more intentional.
As part of our redecorating other parts of the house we ended up with a few extra throw pillows, so I decided to use them on our bed. Some came with the sofa we got rid of, and some (the coffee bean sack in the middle, and the small green one in the front) were covers I made. Some were part of other bedding we already had. I'm not completely sure what I'm doing when it comes to making up a bed, so if any of you have some tips please send them my way! The wreath and the garland are from my shop, the blanket is Sackcloth and Ashes, and the window frame was an old one my grandfather had.
I also came up with a new way to store my jewelry that keeps it all visible and ready to use. I made that earring frame a long time ago after being inspired by something on Pinterest, and I've got some necklaces hanging beside it on the wall, some on the bed post, and some in boxes and other containers on my nightstand. I still need one more box or something for my bracelets, but already this system is working so much better. I also took this opportunity to go through what I wanted to keep since I had accumulated a lot of jewelry over the years. It's nice to only have pieces that I love to wear, so I end up wearing most of it frequently instead of just the same one or two things.
I've been trying to keep fewer things out on display since it all gets crazy looking so fast if you don't have the time to keep things straightened and dusted all the time, but I couldn't resist a few things like this button bouquet that I carried down the aisle at my wedding. Just over seven years ago my whole family worked together to make zillions of these button flowers to use in place of real flowers and it is so full of memories. Most of the buttons were vintage ones my mom, great aunt, and both grandmothers had in their stashes. There's even one of the silk flowers my mother had in her wedding included in it! I didn't have a great space to showcase this before, and it is so special I wanted to keep it out so I am glad it fits here so well.
I was happy to have some places to include my own products in my bedroom. This wreath is currently spoken for, but while it waits to head off to its home I'm glad it can have an important place here! I think I'm going to just keeps switching this out as the mood strikes and the season changes. It's a really nice focal point in the room for a wreath.