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    Hey there! I'm Amanda and I'll be your co-pilot today. Along with my handy husband, Ben, we're remodeling our second house. We're avid DIY-ers, tackling large and small projects while raising two rambunctious boys. Thanks for following along on this wild journey!
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    Some women are crazy cat ladies. I'm well on my way to becoming a crazy fern lady. But this tiny asparagus fern called to me while scouting landscaping plants. How could I say no? It's miniature for crying out loud! As much as I adore the deep greens of summer, fresh, bright spring greens are my favorite. New growth and a fresh start after a dreary winter is the best. How 'bout a super simple way to maximize storage in a pantry. Or any other storage room for that matter. Quick idea on the blog now.

How Low Do You Stow?

Storage.  Everyone needs it, but not everyone has enough.  As is the case in our little guest bedroom that Handy Sammy now lives in.  Well, not this week because he’s on spring break, but usually.  Actually, his break is the reason we’re working in this barely touched since we moved in room.

By far the smallest bedroom we’ve ever had, coming in at a whopping 9 feet 9 inches wide by almost 11 feet long (including the bookshelf depth).  The closet is proportionate to the room, just about three feet wide.


And it has to work for a young college kid with clothes, books, backpacks, and other necessities.  The current storage system is lacking, to say the least.  Left over mismatched bins on the top shelves hold socks, t-shirts, and more.


A small shoe rack holds extra shoes, but there’s little room to store backpacks and other large items.


Once Handy Sammy returns, he can fill the mini dresser I refinished, hopefully giving more room at the top of the closet to stow bags and such.


But we did take out the nightstand, so it’s a trade.  Gain some floor space, making the room feel larger, but lose a drawer of small storage space.


I do have a loose plan.  Instead we’ll make more space on the bookshelves.  One shelf of magazine files for notebooks/paper and another for books.  The shelf at bed height will function now as a nightstand.  I’m working on a few boxes for that shelf to store small items, too.


Under bed storage bins (for 8 bucks a piece) can hold anything shorter than 8 inches.  Out of season clothes, school supplies, or other oddities.  That should help until we get a chance to build a bed frame with drawers below.


Clearly we have some work to do here, like get/make a bed skirt (in addition to other things).  And, if you look carefully, you can see one change we started over the weekend.

Handy Sammy isn’t picky, but I’d like to  make this room functional, clutter free, and pretty.  We’ve never had to think about the needs of a teenager, so if you have any small storage ideas, please share.

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  1. Wendy

     /  March 6, 2013

    Is Handy Sammy new? How have I missed this?

    • Hey Wendy!

      Handy Sammy is Ben’s cousin that is living with us while he goes to college. He’s in his second year of school, but only started living with us last May. If he’s not busy, he’ll lend Ben some muscle and hopefully learn something useful. :)


  2. Jenny

     /  March 6, 2013

    Well, I don’t have any great ideas, but any college kid I know have at least a couple of electronic devices to charge and store. Unless you plan for it, whatever nice design you come up with will probably end up crisscrossed by wires. Maybe some sort of rolling cart so he can do his schoolwork sitting in bed?

    • Hey Jenny!

      Ooh, that’s a very good point. I’ll have to add a charging station to my list. Love the rolling cart suggestion, too!


  3. We also have small bedrooms. My 14 y.o. son’s is 8′ 9″ x 10′ and my 16 y.o. daughter’s is 9’6″ x 10′. My daughter also has the “small closet syndrome”, but she regularly purges clothing she will no longer wear (although I usually take the donation bag and put it in the storage in the basement for a while…we’ve had too many cases where she needed something she got rid of). She also has a very functional closet organizer system and one 4-drawer dresser, with the bottom drawer reserved for sheets. All daytime clothing is hung in the closet, socks, underwear, pajamas and shorts go in the dresser.

    My son’s room is also fairly spare, with a 5′ closet, 3-drawer dresser, bed, nightstand, lounge chair and a 5-shelf shelving unit to house his leopard gecko and corn snake. We recently took out the loft bed because he was tired of having to climb the ladder all the time, although it did help with the space itself.

    Even our master bedroom is only 12×13′, but purging and organizing has worked wonders and there’s plenty of room in there for sleeping and dressing.

    You’ve got a great start there and some good ideas. You have the ability to envision something other than what it currently is (you’d be surprised how many people are unable to do that). I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful space and very functional. I look forward to seeing the progress.

    • Hey Kraesmom!

      Thanks so much for your tips. I think purging is necessary for any space. I think moving the stuff in bins to the dresser makes much more sense.


  4. Hi, I don’t have a college student, but I do have a 10 yr old boy. He has the smallest closet imaginable. Just a little square box – we added some side storage and it has really helped a lot.

    Here is a link to my blog – I show my friends and family what I’ve been up too.

    Your MN fan

  5. Karyl

     /  March 6, 2013

    I’m a big fan of hooks, especially on the insides (of doors). It’s unused space and perfect for hanging things like back packs, belts, hoodies, gear, etc depending upon the configuration. I like your newly refinished mini-dresser, but a highboy dresser (placed to the right of the window) might be a better fit for the room if you stumble across one. It will be about the same footprint, but the extra height will double the storage space for clothes. One last idea is until you build a bed platform with drawers, you can get extenders for the feet of the metal hollywood frame (or simple place them on top of small pavers or wood blocks)–you can get about another 2-4″ of height underneath the bed. It doesn’t sound like much, but every little bit can help in a small room. Give him a power strip on one of the book shelves so that he can charge his computer, phone, etc and be able to access them in bed. If he needs a desk/chair on occasion, Ikea makes (or you can DIY) a system for a pull down wall mounted desktop and hang a folding chair (as art) on the wall.

    • Hi Karyl!

      I totally agree about the back of the door. I’m looking for an over door shoe organizer to store small items. Somehow, I haven’t found one yet! And I like the idea of a taller dresser, if I can find one.

      Eventually (when we have more time) we want to build a bed with drawers below, so we’re on the same page. :) A fold down desk would be really cool, too. He usually keeps his laptop on his lap, so I’ll discuss it with him. Great ideas!


  6. Bins are a college kids best friend! When I was in school I shared a closet with a roommate and it was such a pain! We kept a lot of stuff in bins under the beds because we just didn’t have the room. Once you get a bed skirt, no one will be the wiser ;)

    • Hey Ashley!

      Totes, right?! (Pun intended.) I like that the bins are quick and cheap storage, at least until we can do more.



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