The Great Space Challenge

March 19, 2011

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but our D.C. apartment is small, very small. With 750 square feet shared between me, the bald man (my fiancé), and Mya (our pup), finding enough space for everything is a challenge.


This is Mya. As you can see, she doesn’t actually take up that much room. I think we’ll keep her.


But what to do with all her stuff? There’s a lot of baggage that came with this rescue pup- food dishes, treat jars, food storage bins, her crate, dog bed, and toys just to name a few. A lot of it gets stored in our vehicle and the rest is mostly tucked into the nooks and corners of our apartment. Sigh.

We had to get creative finding a place for everything. Case and point.


This is our blue ray player.  On the floor. On a cooling rack. Ridiculous or creative? Don’t answer that.

The blue ray player had to go on the floor- it was the only option, trust me.  And, to make sure it doesn’t overheat or become ravaged by killer dust bunnies, we propped it up on this cooling rack. So now I don’t have a proper cooling rack for cookies, but , in this rare instance, it’s actually not a problem.  Due to my upcoming wedding, I’ll have no need for the cooling rack because I won’t be making any cookies anytime soon (gotta squeeze into that dress!) and besides, I’ll just add it to the registry. Right?!


It turns out that the oven makes a great storage area.


Roomy enough for all our baking pans! I know, it’s sad but this is my reality.


Hey, at least it all fits.


All joking aside, this little trick worked quite well. 


Lacking any talent for home decorating, this was truly the best I could do.

We converted this old bookshelf into a cupboard for our dishware and cookbooks. It frees up cabinet space for food and other items that don’t look as nice on display. I’m tickled with this Royal Doulton blue and white dishware I bought last summer. Got a great deal on it and it’s so bright and pretty!

And what did we do with all the books on that shelf?


They went on top of the cabinets, of course!


This solution works for us because we don’t need regular access to most of the books shown here and if we need to get one down, a handy stepping stool helps out. (Thanks to Scott and Fran for all your help with this project!)


Of course, the best space saver in our house is this guy.


This knife magnet is essential for us. We have almost no drawer space and the magnet keeps all our knives right where we need them. Very handy!

Do you have a challenge finding room for everything in your home? What do you do to maximize space?


*Don’t forget, the coconut oil giveaway is open until Sunday at 6pm! Enter for your chance to win!

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Fran April 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I just realized you gave me a shout out on the blog! The pictures look great. I am so excited for October! Miss you (+nick+mya)!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods April 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

Miss you too lady! Very excited for the big day! Come visit soon!

Ashley March 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I have a ridiculous collection of cookbooks and I keep them above my cabinets as well. I actually think they look charming there!

One tip, however: The tops of the cabinets are usually really greasy and get greaser so keep your favorite books as far away from the stove hood as possible.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm

So true! The tops of my cabinets were awful before we put the books up there. We cleaned it well, but I’m thinking we won’t be able to keep the books up there for long. Thanks for the tip!

Clarissa March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I love your creative storage!! You definitely have to get creative living in a NYC apartment so thanks for the suggestions! I left all my books at home when I graduated from college – no room! And I LOVE the magnet knife holder. I should get one…

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thanks, Clarissa! I can only imagine how tough it must be to maximize space in a NYC apartment. The magnet knife holder is an absolute life saver!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum March 21, 2011 at 7:43 am

We definitely have some space challenges… ours is about the same size as yours. One thing that was helpful for us was simply decluttering. We have gotten rid of so much stuff that we don’t actually need (and really don’t have room for)! It was hard for me to get started, but it’s very liberating to not be bogged down with a ton of stuff! :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 21, 2011 at 8:00 am

I agree completely!

Toni March 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm

We’re pretty luck in this department. We have a good amount of cabinet space. Great space saving techniques though!

Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} March 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

I agree it’s important to have counter space. Though we have an island in our kitchen and a large kitchen table, we somehow are short on counter space with my stuff and the kids books, homework, and art supplies!
I have all of my baking and cooking supplies in my oven too! It looks like your place is nice and cozy and clutter free. Cute dog too!

Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) March 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Your doggie so cute! We have a smaller place too, and have had to be supper creative!
We are moving to a much larger apartment soon, and I can’t wait! Cooking can be hard with NO counter top space!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 20, 2011 at 9:30 am

Thanks, Lisa! I couldn’t agree more about how critical it is to have good counter space. We are lucky that’s not a problem here. Good luck with your upcoming move! :)

Homer March 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Your dog is freakin’ adorable. What a sweetie!

Mo March 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Pffft, blu-ray players on cooling racks are totally normal. :P

I live in a much larger space (a smallish-average house with 4 people in it), but there’s not a lot of places to put things, which leads to a very messy house, and especially the kitchen, which is cramped and tiny. We usually leave baking pans in the oven after cooking with them to save up space, but this tends to be a problem when someone will preheat the oven and then be looking all over the place for the damn cookie sheets. ;)

You did a great job consolidating and from what I can tell it looks great! :)

Now, I’m off to vie for some coconut oil…

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I am terrible about preheating the oven, forgetting the pans are still in there! Ack!

Theresa @ActiveEggplant March 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I love that you put your books on top of the cabinets! I’d love to have a kitchen where I could do that, but our cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling/soffit. We live in a 960 sq ft house & it really is hard to make storage work! Luckily we have a one car garage & that pretty much acts as a storage closet for us – extra clothes, dishes, you name it gets thrown out there…and the car is outside…

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

A garage sounds pretty dreamy right about now. ;)

Jess (Sweet Potato) March 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

We have a very small kitchen as well. We have had to use our dishwasher to store our pots and pans. I dream of the day when I have a full sized kitchen with lots of cabinet space!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods March 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Impressive use of the dishwasher! I’d never thought of that!

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