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Small Apartment Decorating Tips:
Make your Tiny Space Feel Organized & Homey

Apartment living can be rough on someone who's used to living in the country. The sound of cars and buses rolling by at all hours, noisy upstairs neighbors, car alarms and various city sounds can make it hard to sleep, difficult to relax. Maybe lifetime apartment-dwellers feel the same stress, but aren't aware of the difference between

country and city life. For both kinds of people, making home a haven of serenity is an issue important to health and harmony. It's not easy to relax in a crowded room, but in apartment living, space is often at a premium. Here are some tips for generating a peaceful feeling in your home wherever you may dwell.

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Organization 101: Storage Containers that Add to Your Home Décor

Storage containersOrganizing your home or office is an ongoing process, and experts like Steven Covey suggest that you take time at the end of each day to reorganize your desk, making it easy to find things and get to work the next morning. One of the tricks of organizing is putting things where you can find them again, without having them cluttering up the landscape and getting in the way. File cabinets are perfect for organizing papers by date, alphabet or subject because they make paperwork vertical and simple to page through. Transparent boxes can hold craft items, making it easy to find what you want without rummaging around. Closets contain clothes, but bulky things like sweaters might take up less space stored in boxes. Whatever storage options you choose, you're in luck, because modern storage can be pretty and functional. You don't have to buy cheesy cardboard boxes: the new bright acrylics are more durable and much more decorative!

See a selection of storage containers that hide everyday clutter and add style to any room.


Clearing and Organizing Clutter Make Small Spaces Seem Larger

One mistake many people make is in thinking that cleaning doesn't count unless it's thorough and completely organized. There's a lot to be said for hiding mess until you have time to deal with it: there's no reason to punish yourself by living in clutter until you can clean it all up! It's surprising how much more open a room can look when the horizontal surfaces are cleared off, even temporarily. One solution to cluttered coffee and dining tables is to place baskets under each table, and sweep the clutter into the basket once a day. On the weekend, sort through the basket, discard magazines and junk, put books back in shelves. When Monday rolls around, start over!

Go Vertical with Apartment Storage Solutions

Things look better in stacks. If you don't have time to put things away but still need to make a room presentable, simply stacking books and papers, stacking large to small, from bottom to top, can clear horizontal space fast. Choose narrower bookshelves that reach high up the wall rather than wide ones that spread across the floor to maximize open space. Mount speakers to the wall rather than setting them on the floor. Hang pots and pans, towels and clocks on walls.

Hide Unwanted Clutter in a Blanket Box

One of the best investments you can make is in a blanket box. Larger than the usual cedar chest, a blanket box comes with a lid, making it possible to stash 45 square feet of books, papers, tools, dishes, yes, even blankets in a tidy, contained space about 5 feet long by three feet wide and deep. Make it a rule: when the lid can't be easily closed, it's time to sort and either reorganize or throw things out.

If you have a choice between open and closed shelves or cabinets, choose closed ones. That way you don't have to look at disorganized shelves and neither does anyone else. Keep closet doors shut and put things in drawers as you move through your rooms.

Multi-Task Your Apartment Clutter Clean-up

You can sort through a hatbox of toiletries while watching TV, hang up laundry during commercials, fill or empty the dishwasher when you stand up from the computer to stretch. Accomplishing little bits of housework can feel less onerous when you do it in the middle of doing something else.

Keep at Least one Horizontal Surface Totally Clean

It does a lot for your mental state to rest your eyes on a surface that's completely free and empty. It's always tempting to put art objects or knick-knacks on the mantel, but resist the impulse. Choose one area in each room and keep it totally cleared off. It's sort of an affirmation, a way of saying, "I can do this: I can control my space." An open space rests the mind and stimulates creativity.

Replace "Stuff" (i.e. Clutter or Too Many Decorations) with Plants

Plants are natural air purifiers. They provide visual interest, and add a shot of color and fragrance for a minimal investment of time and effort. Bulbs are great for growing indoors. Many are shade-tolerant, and they come in an endless variety of colors. This year, my friends who have a blueberry-milkshake colored living-room announced their plan to include blue and purple flowers inside the room. Hyacinths and iris come in wonderful shades of blue, lavender and deep purple. My personal favorite are the DeCaen anemones for sale at www.dutchgardens.com. They come in red and pink, but the blue are silky, deep and luscious, with a shiny black center.

The other plus side of using bulbs is that you can grow them any time of year. You can force bulbs to bloom out of season by refrigerating them for a couple of months, then bringing them out into the world where they will experience spring, created by you!

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