Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whip-it-Up Wednesday: Organizing Tips for Renters

Good Morning, everyone! This week, I'm going to introduce the first of my series about organizing (because it's what I love to do!). I decided to begin by talking about the challenges involved in organizing a space that you rent. When you live in a home that you own, you have a lot more flexibility about what you can do with the space. If you need a closet, you can just knock a wall down and build a closet. If you need to install a custom cabinet pull-out drawer in your kitchen, you grab your drill and you go to town. If you rent your apartment, live in a dorm or rent a room, the amount you can change the space is limited. Here are some tips to help you stay organized in a rented space! I made a video showing what I've done in my own rented space. The music is pretty loud, but I uploaded it that way by accident and I'd have to remake the video to fix it. So, bear with me!

In this video I talk about:
  • Hooks are really great for hanging things. Hats, coats, hoodies, pot holders, oven mitts...and other stuff. If you rent your space, you probably don't want to put a lot of holes in the walls or damage the paint with permanent adhesive. I LOVE Command Hooks! These are a renter's best friend. You can do SO many things with Command Hooks and there are so many different kinds that do all kinds of different things. You can hang pictures, message boards, coats, towels, control cords...the possibilities are almost endless. There are even clear ones now!!!
  • Over-The-Door/Cabinet Hooks are cool too. An Over-The-Door coat hook, dishtowel hook or bath towel hook works well in a space where you cannot drill into the wall.
  • YES,  I know that all over-the-door solutions look somewhat unattractive on the other side due to the way they function. Here's where I'm going to give you a little tough love: DEAL WITH IT. Beggars can't be choosers. If it really bugs you that there are two little silvery little nubs on the other side of the door, don't use them or paint them to make them blend in. This is just the unfortunate part of the over-the-door situation.
 Under-cabinet Drawers: 
  •  Can't install pull-out cabinets? NO PROBLEM! Get some drawers you can simply place in the cabinets and voila! You've got a great solution! If the drawers you get are stackable, you can use the majority of the vertical space. The ones I purchased aren't for sale anymore but here some awesome ones from Ikea. Here is also a great solution from The Container Store, which is a little more expensive, but worth the extra cost since it will basically last forever.
Freestanding Shelving:  
  • Just because you can't put some holes in the wall doesn't mean you can't make the most of some empty wall space. If you're pressed for space...GO VERTICAL! My kitchen is SUPER tiny, so I built a freestanding pantry:
You can also purchase a wardrobe and use it as a pantry if you don't want to look at all your stuff. I personally like having it exposed so that I can make decisions easily. This pantry is a combination of InterMetro Shelving and Elfa Cabinet-Sized Drawer Units...both from The Container Store. Not attached to the wall, so I can disassemble it and take it with me to my next space. I also love these wardrobe solutions from Ikea.

Personalizing Your Space:
  • Can't Paint? Well, you have to work with what you've got, baby! Something I haven't tried, but I'm dying to is Tempaper. Tempaper is a removable wallpaper that is supposed to be damage-free when you remove it. It looks super awesome and it's a great way to bring a little bit of personalization to a rental space if you can't paint the walls, but are bored with plain white walls. Tempaper is not a cheap solution, but I think investing in just one wall's worth of color can really transform your space. 
  • Changing knobs: There have been some ugly, super boring knobs on cabinets in places that I've lived. The good news is, if you have a screwdriver, you can often easily switch out these boring knobs for some cute ones. I got mine from Anthropologie. The regular-priced ones are a little expensive, but you can grab some super cute ones on sale pretty much all the time. I only paid about $3 for each of the ones I purchased for my kitchen. I splurged for my bathroom knobs, but only because I needed two. It brightened up my kitchen so much to use these cute knobs and made it feel like it was a little more "me". JUST KEEP THE OLD ONES and replace them back when you leave ;-)
  • Doing something bigger: If you really want to do something bigger like say...replace the faucets with something better and fancier...ask your landlord. There is a chance, they may even do it for you or offer to split the cost! Some changes will increase the value of the space and it may benefit the landlord to make the change. The bottom line, is that you don't want to do anything that will cause you to lose your security deposit and you always want to be up front with your landlord about what is going on in THEIR property. The worst thing that could happen is that they'll say no and chances are they'll appreciate that you at least asked.
What do you do to keep your rented space organized? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks! 


  1. That expose pantry is pretty fantastic - I have a space in my kitchen where I could probably place some open shelving for additional storage - but that would just mean one more thing I'd need to keep clean, hehe!