Nearly everyone wants to maximize the space in their home. Perhaps the best way is to think tiny! If you have ever watched the shows: Tiny House Hunters or Tiny House, Big Living on HGTV, the first time you watched, you were probably amazed and equally horrified that people could live in such small spaces!
I am always amazed by how people on these shows make these incredibly small spaces work. They have tapped into a new and growing philosophy that less is more.
They are committed to enjoying the experiences life has to offer and have let go of the possessions that were holding them back.
Living tiny has become popular for people who want to live simply, embrace minimalism to the fullest, and be able to move their houses around the country. They willingly change their living space from 1000+ square feet to just 400 square feet or less!
Why would someone choose to live in a home less than 400 square feet? It seems a little crazy to most people who are constantly wishing they had more space. I mean, more space means more room for storing things, right?
A Better Lifestyle?
But what if these tiny house folks are actually on to something? They claim a more peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle with the freedom to move at anytime. They have already let go of many of the trivial items they used to believe were so important and have pared down to just the things they need and love.
Isn’t that the mantra of organizing!
I often wonder what it would be like to live in such a small space. I admit that I feel a bit crammed in 1100 square feet, which I have always considered fairly small.
Making the most of small spaces is what I love to do most! My home is organized but is definitely to home of a minimalist. I know there are still many items in my home that are duplicates or not used often enough to warrant the space.
The Thinking Tiny Mindset
I challenge you to Think Tiny.
If you have ever wished you could become a more of a minimalist and reduce your clutter,
If you have watched the Tiny House shows and tried to imagine yourself living that lifestyle,
If you are currently living with too much clutter,
THIS CHALLENGE IS FOR YOU!
Use this challenge to take another look at the “stuff” in your home. Though most of us won’t go truly tiny, we can experience how it feels to trim back and see our “stuff” from an entirely new point of view – the tiny perspective.
If your home is mostly organized and you have already removed clutter, this is the perfect opportunity for you are try experimenting with the tiny mindset.
If you your home is not yet organized and going tiny sounds completely overwhelming and unrealistic, approach this challenge as a way to get started on the road to organization. You have to start somewhere. Why not start now?
Ready, Set, Go!
Since linens are big, bulky and take up a great deal of space, I decided they would be a great place to start. Linens include any and all linens that would be used in the Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen/Dining Room, or other.
Before you get started, have a number in mind of how many of each type of linens you realistically need and use. The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”
The Magic Number
Because most of us are not moving into a tiny house, I suggest finding a middle ground by determining what is typically used over the course of a week and then add a couple.
For example, if there are 22 dish towels in your kitchen drawer but you only use four or five per week, keep just eight.
If you are planning to go tiny, you will need to think about the storage space you will have and the minimum number you will need.
As you sort, remove linens with tears or stains as well as any that you just don’t love anymore. This challenge should take between 2 – 4 hours.
Thinking Tiny – My Experience
I have found that many people have trouble organizing and maintaining the linen closet. As new items are added, older items are rarely removed. Additionally, the whole family typically utilizes this space and it can be hard to keep in order. I happen to have an obsession for bed linens and have made use of every spare inch of my linen closet! So, this is where I decided to start.
I knew this would be the most difficult area for me to evaluate and be willing to freely let go of items. So I started by pulling everything out and setting it all onto a table. There were a few items that I knew I definitely wanted to keep so I started by setting them aside.
The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”
Next, each item was separated by type: flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters, duvet covers, old window coverings, and so on. Whew! There were a lot of the same items!
I found it easiest to first pull out the items that were older, had a stain or flaw, or that I just didn’t care that much for. Right away I was able to cut my stash in half. Then I dove in and ruthlessly evaluated and purged the rest.
I will admit, it was hard to let some of it go, especially the down comforters and duvet covers. But when you live in Florida where sleeping with a down comforter is practical only a few months of the year, letting go of all but two just made good sense. And then, wow! Instantly lots more space! I liked how it felt and decided to move along to the sheets.
I love white sheets with high thread count and a soft hand. Over the years I have collected many, many sets. When it comes to bedding, I have always had the mindset, “You can never have too many!” But really, you can. I admit that they were taking up a ton of space and many weren’t being used.
So I did it. I chose just three sets to keep and donated the rest. Once I let them go I realized what a burden they had become to me. They were bulky and took up so much space. Now when I see the small stack of sheets that I know will be used and loved, I feel almost a sense of relief.
I was able to pare down my fully stuffed linen closet to just two shelves! Two shelves with some extra space! Amazing!
Feeling very inspired, I moved to the bathroom and pulled all of the bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths. Since we never use the hand towels, it was easy to eliminate them immediately. I keep my towels stacked on two open shelves in the bathroom so they are easy to get to.
These shelves hold up to eight towels total and the rest sit in a stack in the bedroom – definitely not ideal. We usually use six bath towels per week. Using the formula above (2 -3 more than typically used), I pulled out eight of our favorites and removed the rest for donation.
With the overflow removed, the towels are contained in one space and I no longer have to look at the overflow stack in the bedroom. I should have done this sooner!
Since my bathroom is small, I had to find a unique way to create extra storage. So I started looking for something that might work in the space. I found this tall dresser at a garage sale for $10. I originally planned to store the towels inside of the drawers but they just weren’t big enough.
So I simply removed the two center drawers and the towels fit perfectly, with four towels per shelf.
The remaining drawers are roomy and are great for storing wash cloths, soaps, lotions, razors and anything else we may need. It was a perfect fix that allowed us to maximize our limited space.
Kitchen/Dining Room Linens
I love collecting dish towels, especially vintage linen towels to use in my kitchen. I feel like they add a bit of vintage flair and warmth. Unfortunately, over time, they do wear out with holes, stains, tears, and so on. Our kitchen is very, very small so making the most of the space is important. Dish towels can take up a lot of space so purging the ones in poor condition can make a big difference.
To get started, I moved all of the dish towels to the counter for examination. Most of them were in good condition but a few were not, and were removed. We typically use 6 – 10 dish towels and a few dish rags per week so the magic number for us was thirteen towels and five dish rags.
After choosing the towels I would keep, each was folded and placed into the drawer. I like to fold kitchen towels in a way that looks organized and will maximize the space. After experimenting with a variety of folding and stacking ideas, I have found this method to work the best.
How to Fold Dish Towels
When folding dish towels, the idea is to make each towel as small and thin as possible. As you can see in the photo, all of my towels are the thin, cotton or linen, flour sack type which are able to fold down and stack nicely. This method will work with the towel-type dish towels but they won’t fold down as small.
For a basic dish towel:
Step One: Lay the towel on a flat surface with the pattern facing down (the towel in the picture is facing up). Step Two: Fold the towel into thirds. Step Three: Fold in half. Step Four: Fold into thirds. Step Five: Stack into the drawer upright.
Folding is a little trickier if you use cotton flour sack type towels. Here is how I fold mine:
Step One: Start with the towel laying flat. Step Two: Fold in half. Step Three: Fold into thirds. Step Four: Fold in half. Step Five: Fold into thirds. Step Six: Stack into the drawer upright.
Dining Room Linens
I let go of all of my tablecloths, table runners, and cloth napkins a long time ago. If you have these items you will need to pull them out to determine how often they are used, their condition, and do they still match your decor. I chose to let go of all of mine because I rarely used them and they were really just taking up valuable space. I can honestly say that I do not miss them.
Take the Challenge
After completing this week’s challenge to think with a tiny mindset I was able to reduce the linens in my home and free up quite a bit of space.
Extra space or open spaces are important for creating a clutter-free environment and creating that peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle that tiny homeowners boast of.
I also enjoyed being able to provide some nice donations for someone else to love and enjoy. And on top of all of that, I have reduced my linens down to only the ones I really need and love. And I like it!
Though I cleared out a lot of linens, I know I would still have too much to fit into a tiny home. Tiny home living is a true commitment to minimalism and living with just enough. I guess I’m just not ready to take that plunge yet but this first week’s challenge did make me look at my belonging from a different perspective.
I really like the idea of minimalism but to get there, it is a process of letting go of things that have held onto tightly for so long. I am excited to work through my house as we take on new challenges, change our spaces, and embrace tiny-ism thinking.
I hope you will give it a try! Let me know how you do!
You might also like:
6 Tips for Organizing Success
Living clutter free
The Hunt for Hidden Clutter