Home Organization: A Place for Every Item Part 2

How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item Part 2

Home Organization

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using my links (thank you!) I’ll earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

As I explained in Part 1 of How to Organize Your Home: A Place for Every Item; every single item in your home needs a resting place. Without a home within your home for your items clutter will start to gather and become overwhelming and home organization will be harder to maintain. Of course some of that clutter may need to go before you get started organizing. For suggestions on how to declutter and purge the unnecessary items in your home check out the 8 week garbage bag decluttering challenge or 12 items you should purge before you move. If you’re ready to start organizing, keep reading!

Blanket Organization

So I counted once. If you combined comforters, bedspreads, blankets, and throws we have 33 total. We are a 4 person family; I can admit 33 is probably a few too many. Some of them are currently folded and sitting in a chair in our TV room for when we want to cuddle up and watch a movie.  I have a light weight and heavy weight one for each bed with the off-season ones stored in the linen closets. Plus we have about 10 that go in our 5th wheel trailer. I’m going to need a place to store them all in our dream home. Currently I’m considering different organization options including: linen closets, trunks, cabinets, and dressers. A nice decorative basket or blanket ladder might work well in the right setting such as a guest bedroom or living room.

Here are a few DIY ideas:

I love this painted cabinet from Fred and Bessie’s

Home Organization blankets

The DIY blanket storage chest below is perfect for a guest room from A Touch of Beautiful

Home Organization blankets

For smaller spaces or budgets try this DIY blanket ladder from Remodelaholic instead

Home Organization blankets

If you are less of a DIY and more of an online shopper. Check out these options from Amazon:

Simple storage baskets can give a homey and decorative touch while also providing function

Home Organization blankets

A nice coffee table with storage underneath or in the middle would also work great.
A great way to keep blankets handy in the living room without feeling cluttered or them ending up on the floor.

Home Organization blankets

For larger spaces and that farmhouse feel consider a cabinet with a sliding barn door for blanket storage

Home Organization blankets living room

Whats your preferred blanket storage system? How many blankets and other similar items do you have around your house? I will probably purge a few of these blankets before we move since there isn’t a need to have 33 for our small family. Getting rid of excess items is one of my tips for decluttering items you don’t need prior to moving. I will be following my own advice!

Craft Supply Organization

I’m honestly not that crafty. But every now and then I get a wild hair up my bum and decide to make something like this (below) for everyone in my family. I needed wood, paint, nails, string of different colors, and a whole lot of other supplies and tools for this endeavor. I’ll admit I was not very organized during the project.

Home Organization crafts

(Find the round-up from Sugar Bee Crafts here with links to the how-to posts)

During the project and after completion the supplies were strewn haphazardly all over the living room, kitchen table, and back porch for a few months. Leftover supplies got shoved into a drawer or placed on a shelf until my next project comes around and joins them.  I don’t think I need some fancy craft organization system but a cabinet dedicated to crafting supplies in the utility room would be helpful. Plus this kids have their paints and play-doh and such that also needs a home to rest. Here’s a great round up of craft supply organizing ideas from Heart Handmade.

Check out this extremely organized crafting closet by Designed Improvised:

Home Organization crafts

If you have room, you might consider a crafting table/storage system in one. You can always build one yourself. But if you prefer a simpler approach Amazon has these as well:

home organization crafts

There are all kinds of little boxes for beads, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, etc. Depending on the types of crafts you enjoy doing you may need a variety of storage containers. Here are a few options to choose as needed.

Holiday Decor Organization

I have an entire post dedicated to organizing holiday decor. Head on over and check it out when you’re ready. There was so much to say and so many ideas I couldn’t just write a paragraph and post a couple of suggestions.

Photograph Organization

With electronic photos this is easier than ever! Some people prefer to organize electronically and just print a few of their favorite photos out for viewing. If that’s more your style check out these awesome posts for organizing digital photographs: Spring Cleaning 365 Declutter and Organize Digital Photos, The Organized Mama How to Organize Pictures on Your Computer, Simple Scrapper Easy Digital Photo Organization for Non-Techie People. I enjoy using Walgreen’s website for photos. It’s easy to upload and create picture books for different vacations we’ve been on. I also really enjoy their photo collages.  If you have old printed photos around consider electronically filing them by scanning them to your computer for better photograph organization.

For already printed photos or if you prefer to print pictures on a regular basis there are some great options for keeping them organized below. Utilized picture frames or photo books and toss those old shoe-boxes!  This is definitely an area I need to work on in my own life. Tune my Heart Blog has great advice for How to Organize Your Photos: A System that Works. If you have a photo organizing and displaying system I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Home Organization

One Crazy House 14 Simple Tips and Tricks to Organize Your Photos

There 100s of adorable photo albums to choose from to display your photos. You can also take up scrap booking if you’re crafty and can find the time!

Don’t forget to get some amazing picture frames to display your favorite photos. Here are some options for creating some eye popping photo walls: The Todd and Erin Favorite Five have an awesome picture hanging guide and the Just the Jensen Family has a great DIY gallery wall (see below).

Home Organization

Grab your own frames via the Amazon links below!

Book Organization

Books shelves are obviously the most common and reasonable storage and organization system for books. However, just piling all your books on a shelf in no particular order isn’t very helpful. Consider making each shelf its own category, alphabetizing each row, and donating or re-gifting any books you (or the kids) are never going to read again. I’d like to get a little more creative in my dream home for book organization. I plan to separate children’s books and my books. I really love these organization strategies for children’s books:

Home Organization Books

Simply Kierste Design collaborated with Oopsey Daisy for this color coded kid’s book organization system

Home Organization Books

It’s Overflowing has the plans to make this awesome Wall Mount Bookshelf for kid’s books storage

For more sophisticated spaces and those of you that have just as many books as your kids check out these options for organizing and storing your favorite books:

Home Organization Books

Painted by Prestige turned this unused closet into a reading nook


Home Organization Books

Up to Date Interiors has some awesome advice for decorating and styling your bookshelves so they are cute and functional!

For additional bookshelf storage, styling, and organizing ideas check out this round up by I am Baker and this one on Gurl. For home library inspiration or eye candy here’s a great round up of 15 Stunning Home Library Decor Ideas To Inspire You and another 50 jaw dropping home library design ideas here. If you’re getting the itch to start decorating, styling, and organizing see below for some shelving to help you get started!

Unique designs:

Home Organization Books


Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Floating Shelving:

Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Kids Rooms:


Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Corner Shelves:

Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Farmhouse Style:

Home Organization Books Home Organization Books

Mail/Paper Organization

A drop zone or command center (check out these ideas or these) is a great place for incoming/outgoing mail, bills that need to be paid, and magazine subscriptions that need to be kept neat. Our dream home is going to have a command center/mail sorter built in to make mail and paper organization easier. Our current home doesn’t have an ideal space for this and we end up using the kitchen counter. I’m really horrible at keeping paper clutter organized and at bay. Hopefully you find these ideas as inspiring and necessary as I do.

Home Organization Books

One Creative Housewife has a great tutorial for this functional command center.

Home Organization Books

Jenna Burger Design created this family command center and also has some free printables if you’re interested

These command centers will work amazing for the daily ins and outs. But what about the papers you need to keep? Filing cabinet work great but they need some organizing. Do you know which papers you actually need to keep? And for how long? Modern Homemakers Society has a great post on organizing paperwork. Looking for different ideas? Check out A Cultivated Nest’s post for different tips for organizing personal papers. Make sure to have a plan for decluttering the filing cabinet yearly so it doesn’t over fill. Check out The Federal Trade Commission’s Infographic for when to shred and when to keep personal papers.

Here are some great options if you’re looking to DIY command center style. Don’t forget to look for filing cabinets and other needs while you’re shopping!

Home Organization Books

Home Organization Books

Recipe Organization

Do you love to cook? Do you have several cookbooks that barely get opened? If you’re like me you answered yes to both questions! With the internet and ease of carrying a smart phone around, old fashioned cookbooks just don’t much sense in the modern world. This is a great post by The No Pressure Life on how to create a digital cookbook of all your favorite recipes. Right now I like my current system, but I might try something like that for organizing my favorites in the future.

I find tons of recipes on Pinterest and usually once a year I sit down and pull them into my Pepperplate account. I love Pepperplate because it’s FREE and its both a website and app. The program allows you to load recipes and meal plan, create a grocery list, and organize it all in one place. The recipes will automatically populate your grocery list if you want! It’s super simple to use. Highly recommend it; definitely the best recipe organization system I’ve ever used. If you prefer to print your recipes check out this Printable Recipe Binder from The Pioneer Woman.

I get a new cookbook every year from my mom for Christmas. It’s a tradition that I imagine will continue for a while. I plan to keep these cookbooks and few of my other favorites. I just can’t seem to part with them. Since I won’t be purging these items I’ll need a good system to organize them and the recipes inside when we move to our dream home! I plan on adding the recipe name and ingredients to my Pepperplate account and noting which page the recipe is on and which book its in. That way I can have the ingredient list handy but don’t have to add the directions to the app. If I want to make that meal I can just quickly look up which book and page I need to find the recipe. Here are some great ideas for storing cookbooks in your home:

Home Organization Books

The 2 Seasons

Home Organization Books

Hometalk DIY

Home Organization Books

Deeply Southern Home/Paper Daisy Design DIY Custom Shelving

Board Game Organization

We love board games at our house! They’re super fun to play and make for some great family quality time. I scoured Pinterest for some storage ideas for you because our games currently sit on the top shelf of our playroom closet. The kids can’t even see them much less reach them when they want to play. I need a more kid friendly storage solution. In our previous house we stored them in a hall closet. That wasn’t particularly ideal either because they didn’t fit well and we were constantly moving and shuffling them around to get the ones we want. I added my 2 favorite ideas below but if you need more inspiration check out the Money Saving Sisters round up for starting board games. Because board game boxes are all different shapes and sizes these 2 board game organization ideas made the most sense to me:

Home Organization Board games

Hometalk repurposed ladder

Home Organization Board Games

Joyful Homemaking Board Game Storage Tips

Between my first How to Organize Your Home Post and this one I’ve covered 13 different topics. What am I missing? I’m sure they’re are more items that need to be organized. Leave a comment below with your best home organization tips or let me know what items are giving you trouble!

Home Organization

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Save Big Bucks! Buy Clothes at Walmart Plus 8 Clothes Budget Tips

Walmart Mom and Proud of It

Frugal clothes

I dress myself and my kids with clothes from Walmart. I know all the mom’s out there want to identify as Target mom’s with their wine and leggings. But I refuse to pay $8 at Target for a t-shirt my 5 year old is going to ruin when I can get one at Walmart for $3 (or less!). So you can call me cheap, you can call me frugal, but you won’t have to call me broke!

Walmart has stepped their clothing game up over the past couple years. They have some super cute clothes in the kids section and items in the women’s clothes I’ve actually worn to work! Their low prices really can’t be beat when it comes to clothes. Even Goodwill prices are equal to Walmart sale prices and the clothes are brand new at Wally world.

*This post contains affiliate links. I get a small commission at no charge to you if you purchase through one of my links. 

Why Cheap Clothes

The average family spends anywhere from 3-6% of their income on clothing each year according to several sources I found (1 How Stuff works, 2 Elite Daily, 3 Forbes). This equals about $1700-$3000 per year on clothes . We’ve never set a clothes budget because my husband and I aren’t really big clothes shoppers. For myself I’ve spent about $300 this year on clothes and shoes. The hubs has spent less – considering I buy most of his clothes for him, I’d guesstimate about $200 and some of that was given as gifts. If you add the kids at $100 each we are up to about $700.  The year isn’t over but it’s getting close. I could see us hitting about $1000 since Christmas is coming and I know I’ll be getting the hubs a new, nice pair of tennis shoes.  We are definitely coming in under the average. We also plan on keeping it that way.

Cheap clothes make sense for our family. We are an active family. We go camping several times per year and often go quad riding in the desert. My 5-year-old manages to get dirty pretty much any where we go. Seriously, last year she ruined a shirt at the mall by leaning on the escalator and getting grease on herself. That shirt cost me $4.  Although I was shocked she managed to ruin her shirt shopping I wasn’t mad because $4 won’t break our bank but if I had paid $14 I probably wouldn’t have been as easy-going about things. Here’s the shirt after the incident:

frugal clothes

$4 – Grease stains free! Quickly went from nice shirt to play shirt

When your kids manage to stain or rip clothes pretty much on a weekly basis paying top dollar for clothes can get old really fast. I started buying clothes at Walmart for the kids because my husband and I are on a tight budget saving for our dream home. We needed to have clothes at our house for the kids but didn’t have a big budget to purchase them an entire wardrobe at once. We started slowly but I’ve been shopping the sale racks for 3 years now and have obtained quite the adorable and frugal clothing collections for them.

Shop the Sales

I only purchase clothing from Walmart on the sale racks. I learned this tip from my mom. We always bought clothes for the next year when they went on sale at the end of the season. Did you know you can get shirts, shorts, and leggings at Walmart for as little as $1? I’ve already started buying size 10-12 and 14-16 for when my girls are much older, even though they’re only in 4-5 and 7-8 sizing right now. If I buy just a couple of items in the larger sizes each year by the time they get into that size I’ll have adequate clothes for them. My kids get excited at having new clothes and I don’t have to break the bank to get them items.

$1 shorts frugal clothes at walmart

All of these shorts cost just $1 each

Buying clothes on sale racks means you have to shop a little more often. I do a brief scan of the clearance racks at least once a month when I’m in Walmart buying grocers or other items. I’ll even slide by the shoes every now and then; I’ve found tennis shoes for the kids as low as $7 a pair and sandals for $3.  I’ve also gotten them both $1 flip-flops in the past. For each size I spend about $100 on clothing for the entire year. So if you added up my 5 year old’s 4-5x clothes for all seasons it would equal about $100.  You can reach numbers that low buying items at full price.

frugal clothes

$7 tennis shoes after being worn camping

frugal clothes

$3 nice flip-flops for next summer

Cost of Clothes per Wear

It’s been extremely easy to have full wardrobes for my kids in both warm and cool weather clothes by using these techniques. I do this because I think it’s ridiculous to purchase clothes that will just be worn for 6 months at full price.  As a stepmom this makes even more sense because my kids only wear the clothes I buy them half the time. Let’s do some math.

There are 52 weeks in a year. If you wear a shirt every week it will be worn 52 times.  But realistically you will own more than 7 shirts (1 per day of the week) and not all of them can be worn year round. So let’s say you have 14 shirts.  Automatically you’ve reduce the number of times you will wear a shirt to 26 times in a year. That’s over 50 cents per wear if your shirt cost $15 but less than 20 cents per wear if its only $5.

Kids often outgrow their shirts in 1 year. Occasionally they might get 2 years out of it but we are being realistic here. So your kid at a maximum wears a shirt 26 times before outgrowing it.  Why are you paying $15 for that?!?  Obviously most kids have more than just 14 shirts in their wardrobes. So if they had 21 shirts they can only wear each shirt an average of 17 times. You get the picture. As a blended family we have our kids half the time. Meaning our 21 shirts can only be worn about 9 times. That could drastically increase the cost per wear for us. At $2-3 these shirts are $0.20-$0.30 cents per wear for my kids.

frugal clothes

Shirts ranging from $2-3 each

Plus kids clothing, no matter how well-made, will sometimes get ripped or stained. Again, why pay big bucks for something that can’t be resold or worn as a hand-me-down?

Budget Clothes with Top Dollar Style

We have play clothes and nice clothes. Play clothes are worn camping or to play outside and around the house. Nice clothes are worn less often but donned for going out to dinner or to birthday parties. Most nice clothes eventually become play clothes but occasionally they last and can be given away. My budget for play clothes is $3 an item or less.  My budget for nice clothes is $5 an item or less.

Although 90% of my kids clothes come from Walmart they still look cute and put together.  The other 10% come from grandparents or friends. Here are some outfits they’ve enjoyed this year. All the examples below were purchased at Walmart.

frugal clothes

Outfit came together $5 or $2.50 per item

frugal clothes

Shirt $3, Skort $3 Totally adorable

frugal clothes

Top $3, Capris $2

frugal clothes

Shirt $3, Pants $5 (I splurged on the pants)

frugal clothes

Outfit came together $7 or $3.50 per item

Utilize Hand-Me-Downs

My girls are 2 years apart. I definitely keep clothes the oldest has outgrown until the youngest can fit into them! No need to buy a whole new wardrobe 2 years later. I also take the clothes my youngest has outgrown to a friend I work with whose daughter is 1 year younger. Some of the items I purchase are getting worn by 3 kids! That’s definitely getting my moneys worth. A few items don’t make it to the next person in line each year due to holes or rips. But my friend at work still takes the clothes if they have stains. She says she likes it because she can let her daughter wear those clothes for painting or playing outside and it doesn’t matter if her daughter gets them dirty or ripped.

Walmart Women’s Clothes

While less of my wardrobe is from Walmart than my kids, I have found some cute options. I buy all my under tanks there (tank-tops I wear under other shirts). Usually for $1-2 each. I’ve gotten some dresses recently for $5 that are nice enough for work (see below). I’ve also purchased workout clothing and my own “play” clothes for camping. I grabbed a couple of long-sleeved tees at the end of lass winter for camping for only $3-5 each. They’re comfy and I won’t be frustrated when they get muddy or smell like campfire.

frugal clothes

$5 Dress (Looks great with a white under tank and black leggings)

frugal clothes

$3 Long-sleeved tee

frugal clothes

$5 Casual Tank

8 Tips for Sticking to a Clothes Budget

frugal budget clothes tips

Obviously not ALL my clothes or my husband’s clothes can come from Walmart. However, we can wear our clothing for more than 1 year!  I have clothes in my closet that I’ve had for 10 years. So It’s okay with me to spend a little more on staple pieces. I still have guidelines I go by. To save money and not break the bank with clothing purchases here are some tips:

1) Only shop sales racks

You should NEVER pay full price for clothes! I cannot even remember the last time I paid full price for clothes. There is absolutely no reason to do so. If you find something you love, wait until it goes on sale. This also gives you time to consider if you would really wear the clothes or not. Aside from Walmart clearance racks, other places I purchase clothes at reduced prices from include our clearance Dillard’s center (where everything is already marked down and they often do store wide additional 50% off sales), Ross Dress for Less, and occasionally Kohl’s.  My husband recently got a pair of swim trunks from Kohl’s for $4.60 and I got 2 pair of shorts for $3.60 each.

2) Only purchase clothes you need

When I go clothes shopping I usually looking for specific items. For example, last year I needed some new dress pants since all of mine were 5-10 years old. I went shopping with my mom for a girls day and bought about 6 pair of new pants. We only focused on pants. I didn’t look at every sale rack because I knew I didn’t need dresses, skirts, shirts, etc.

A friend of mine came to visit earlier this year. We hit the outlet mall but I had a plan.  I was really only looking for a new pair of jeans and some Yellow Box flip-flops. Knowing ahead of time what I was looking for helped me rein in my spending. It also helped me talk myself out of non-needed items.  I bought new jeans, the flip-flops, and ended up with a couple other items but didn’t spend over my budget I’d given myself for the day.

3) Give yourself a budget per clothing item

In addition to an overall clothing budget, consider budgeting per clothes item.  For example, I won’t spend over $15 for a shirt or pair of shorts, $20-30 for pants, and $40 for dresses. At certain stores it’s even less.  That way going in to it I have an idea of what I’m willing to spend.  If I find an amazing dress on the clearance rack that still $70 I’m not getting it. To me it’s not worth it to spend that much on something that doesn’t get worn very often.  The only thing I ever spend more than $100 on are running shoes and my wedding gown.

4) Don’t buy clothes just because they’re on sale

I think this is wear a lot of people mess up. Just because something is on sale doesn’t automatically make it a good deal or mean that you should purchase it! I’m speaking from experience here.  I have shoes in my closet for example that I NEVER wear. I bought them on sale because they were cute, but I didn’t have any actual plans to wear them and they hurt my feet. This was not a good purchase. Whether or not you purchase clothes on sale if you spend $100 you spend $100, no matter how much you saved. So regardless of whether it’s on sale or not, don’t buy things you don’t need or in reality won’t wear. This quote from The Minimalists says it all:

frugal clothes


5) Consider online clothes shopping

Shopping on-line can help you avoid the temptations of items you don’t need. But only if you don’t browse the website and take the advice above by only looking at items you need. Surprisingly Amazon actually has some kids clothing that fit in the price ranges I’ve found a Walmart. You just have to do a little digging. I found these adorable outfits:


6) Avoid getting attached to brands

I’ve heard moms complain about their kids’ desires to have specific brands of clothing that are out of their family’s budget capabilities. We need to teach our kids by leading by example from an early age that brand name doesn’t mean much when it comes to clothes. If you are constantly talking about certain brands in front of your kids or making a big deal about that expensive purse you want if can impact the way your kids view money and clothes.  I’m thankful I never cared much about brand name growing up but I know many people who struggled because their family couldn’t afford higher priced clothing. Learn yourself that a larger price tag doesn’t automatically give you a better place in the world. Then teach your kids the same thing.

7) Spend more money on essentials

There are a few clothing items that it makes sense to dish out a little extra money for. These include: good, supportive bras for the ladies, quality and supportive underwear for the men, and supportive, good quality every day work shoes for all involved.  If your job requires specific clothing that you literally wear on a daily basis such as khaki pants, polo shirts, or scrubs it also makes sense to splurge on some higher quality pieces that won’t wear out as fast. You can spend less on weekend and leisure wear.

A nice coat for those in colder climates can also be worth a bit extra money – but not for kids who will grow out of them the next year. Depending how often you wear them jeans may also be a good investment; but be realistic, if you are only wearing them a few times per month you don’t need $100 jeans.

8) Skip the trends

Buying trending clothing is just plain silly. Unless you plan on wearing it for years, don’t buy it!  If you just have to have something follow the tips above and make sure it’s on sale and that you will actually wear it.

Additional Resources

Shop Girl Daily has a nice list of 27 ways to save money on clothes, her list includes ways to keep clothing from wearing out as fast and how to find good sales.  The Latina Home Maker has 12 tips for saving money on clothes without busting the budget you can check out.  Passion for Savings has some tips for finding great deals on kid clothing with her list of 10 hidden places to find deals on back to school clothing.

The Bottom Line

If you want to save money on clothing it’s not difficult. You just have to be willing to shop a places you might not have thought about before and stick to your guidelines. Set a clothing budget and track your spending. Let me know if you have additional budget clothing tips by dropping a comment below.

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Wasted Space to Avoid in Your Dream Home

Wasted Space to Avoid in Your Dream Home

Some fads come and go; some become classic styles. Sometimes it’s time for those once classic styles to be traded in for something more functional. Some classic home features no longer fit in modern life. These classic features often lead to wasted space in your home that serves no purpose. Wasted space includes areas of your home that don’t get used frequently, are larger than necessary, or serve no function. I’ve rounded up 5 of the largest areas of wasted space in most homes. As you search out your dream home or design and build your dream home consider avoiding these 5 wasted spaces.

wasted space to avoid

~This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links you will not be charged extra but I will get a small commission. 

Why should you be concerned with wasted space? Well, for one all the square footage in your home has to be heated and cooled which cost money. Additionally the spaces need to be decorated (wasted money), cleaned (wasted time), and maintained (wasted time and money). Our dream home will have over 4000 square feet. BUT we are very concerned with making sure that we have ZERO wasted space in our floor plan.

Why would you spend your hard-earned money for wasted space? Extra square footage that’s only purpose is to be empty and unused is not something you want in your dream home. So here are 5 examples of entire rooms of wasted space not to include in your dream home and how you can save up to 700 square feet of wasted space.

1) Ditch the Formal Dining Room.
Wasted Space Saved: 200 sq ft*

formal dining has wasted space
Via This Old House

Be honest. How many times per year do you use a formal dining room? I would guess most people use theirs less than once a month. Typically they are saved for holidays or other special occasions. Use that square footage instead as an extra bedroom, a home office, or a walk in pantry. Get rid of the wasted space of a formal dining room and make your space work for you

Check out this post from The Turquoise Home on turning a formal dining room into a playroom. Here’s a before and after from their tutorial:

I grew up in a house with a formal dining room.  I have no memories of utilizing this room for it’s intended purpose; eventually it became a storage room.

We have a formal dining room in our current house (a flip we moved in to temporarily). Our formal dining room serves as a junk room for now, where extra things hang out that we are saving for our dream home but don’t have a set place for in our current house.

Most homes have an eat in kitchen that can serve as your dining area. New builds are often created with one large great room that includes the dining room, family room, and kitchen all in a single giant room. The preferred set-up for dining options and to eliminate wasted space would be an all encompassing great room.

Here is a great example of a great room from Proverbs 31 Girl. You can read all about a cabin remodel she did on her site. It’s a beautiful rustic, yet inviting design.

great room no wasted space

Newer builds can opt to have larger “breakfast areas” built into the great room instead of having a completely different formal dining room. Having an open great room allows for better fellowship with guests as well. No one is hiding or waiting alone away front the hosts. Formal dining rooms are wasted space.

2) Let Go of the Formal Living Room
Wasted Space Saved: 330 sq ft*

Nearly everything said about formal dining rooms apply to formal living rooms as well. We don’t use them efficiently, they cost additional money to furnish, and they tend to collect junk instead of memories. A home with a formal dining room, formal living room, and a casual family room averages about 900 square feet dedicated to these spaces; compared 500 square feet in a great room that has all of these spaces in one room. (click here for source).

formal living room wasted space
Source: For the Love of a House

While they look beautiful, they typically don’t get much use. I don’t know about you, but my family is not fancy.  We don’t need a separate fancy room with fancy furniture to fancily sit on that just ends up collecting dust. Living rooms are basically parlors and should have been done away with once we got indoor plumbing.

Growing up, both at my house and my grandmother’s house, the ONLY time I remember using the formal living rooms were during Christmas and hide-in-seek. We always set the trees up in these spaces at Christmas.  So for 11 months of the year the formal living room sat empty so we could enjoy it for 1 month. The formal living room also held our piano – during piano practice a few hours per week it was utilized. A piano could easily be placed in another space or if used often; a formal living room could be remodeled into a music room. But it seems a bit wasteful for such a large space to only be used for piano practice and Christmas celebrations.

Don’t fall into the trap of wasted space in a formal living area.  There are many ways you could utilize that space in a more efficient way. Consider a game room, home theater, library, or music room instead depending on your families interests. There are a ton of options for remodeling formal spaces into more functional spaces or just leave them out of new home plans completely.

Check out this home theater DIY from Jenna Sue Design

home theater no wasted space

3) Forget Extravagant Foyers
Wasted Space Saved: 100 sq ft

There are houses that have foyers as large as a bedroom. Our current home has a 154 sq ft foyer, that’s about 100 sq ft more than I would prefer to sweep and mop! Large foyers are a total waste of space and also a money pit. Your foyer only needs to be large enough for a small bench and standing room for about 4 people. Any larger and you will just be looking at wasted space that honestly serves zero purpose other than to look pretty.  This one from Southern Weddings is just right.

small foyer no wasted space

Meredith Teasley Photography www.meredithteasley.com

Great rooms that blend the foyer into the room are also nice option. No need to have an entirely separate space to decorate. Just add a table and mirror on the wall with storage space underneath for shoes and such. This optimized entry way from House Tweaking is amazing, check out the link for a tutorial.

Foyer entry way no wasted space

Now if you plan to turn your foyer into a mudroom that’s a different story. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Creating the Perfect Mudroom for some design ideas and tips. Many people prefer the mudroom to be off the garage though, not the front door. So you can always have an amazing mudroom but still need to address your foyer space as well.

Due to some house designs you may have to have a small foyer area. For example, we will have a foyer because our front door will open into the middle of a hallway and without a small foyer space the design didn’t flow. But we kept it just large enough for a table against the wall with a picture frame or mirror above it. Shoes, coats, purses, etc will be placed in the mudroom off the garage entrance. Most of our guest will end up coming through the garage doors (where our driveway leads) instead of the front doors anyway.

4) Bye-bye Extra-Large Bedrooms
Wasted Space Saved: 50-100 sq ft per bedroom*

We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping. But we don’t need a large room for that! Especially for Guests or kids. You may choose a smidgen above the traditional 10×10 but there is really no need for a 16×14 guest room or nursery.  All they do is sleep in there!

There are a ton of great posts out there with ideas on how to decorate, organize, and manage small bedrooms. Here’s one from the Debrief about small bedroom hacks. Home BNC has gathered 18 of the best DIY Murphy bed how-tos to maximize small room space. Marble Buzz has 45 ideas for small bedrooms; check out the post for info on storage tips, built ins, hideaways, and other ideas for a small bedroom design like these two below.

small bedroom no wasted space

small bedroom no wasted space

We decided to splurge on our master bedroom because we are set on having a space to set up seating in our room. However, it’s not necessary and depending on your home budget you could definitely easily enjoy a master bedroom oasis in a smaller room. Designing your dream home is all about figuring out what will work for your family. Check out this post from One Kindesign on small and beautiful masters.

5) Give Up the Guest Room
Wasted Space Saved: 150 sq ft*

Hear me out. For some of you guest rooms are wasted space, for others they may be well utilized. Be honest with yourself. If you only have someone using your guest room a couple of weeks per year it’s not an efficient use of space.  Consider turning it into a multi-use room by combing guest bedrooms with home office or a home gym. Little Victorian has this awesome home office/guest room combo below.

office bedroom combo no wasted space

We absolutely have to have an extra bedroom due to nearly all our family living out of state. We average about 3 months total of guests staying in our home. However, when no-one is staying at our house I still plan to utilize this space.  My dream is to have a Murphy bed in the guest room so I can use it as a home gym for the majority of the year.  I use free weights, resistance bands, DVDs, and a stationary bike at home. So I don’t need a ton of equipment space in the room but I will need enough room for a yoga mat and to be able to do a full burpee without hitting furniture. Reena Sotropa has an awesome home gym/bedroom combo in her portfolio.

home gym bedroom combo no wasted space

This Murphy Bed would work great in a home gym or home office:

murphy bed no wasted space

*Wasted space saved estimates were all obtained from the National Association of Home Builders.  They are just estimates and could be more or less depending on the size of the home.

Bonus Idea: Wasted Space Under Stairs

There are many other areas in your home that can become wasted space. A popular wasted space area people have started turning into useful and functional spaces is underneath stair cases. Consider using under stair space as storage, a bathroom, a dog kennel, or a mini playroom.

no wasted space under stairs

Via Level Building Projects

no wasted space bath under stairs

Via Well-Made Heart

no wasted space under stairs

Via Ethan Abramson

no wasted space under stairs

Via Thrifty & Chic

A quick search on Pinterest will give you ideas for extra shelving in closets, making use of awkward corners, or installing shelving between wall studs. You can maximize space in your kitchen by installing baseboard drawers or use the space above your staircase for a playroom. The ideas and possibilities are endless. Aim to utilize all the wasted space in your home. Drop a note in the comments to let us know your wasted space turned functional tips!

wasted space to avoid

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