Organization

Quick, Easy & renter-friendly Kitchen upgrades

 

 

Home office ideas: whiteboards

I’ve been working from home for a few years now and one of the things I love to use to brainstorm ideas is a whiteboard. When I lived in my NYC studio apartment, I used a removable Whiteboard Sticker .

NYC-home-office-white-board

I liked that the sticker was flush to the wall and that I could easily hide it with a picture frame – this was important to me because my office was in the main living area and I didn’t like looking at all my work stuff when I wasn’t working! It worked well enough at first but because it picked up the texture of the wall, over time it became difficult to get it clean. I was also disappointed that I couldn’t reuse it again when I moved – after removing it from the wall when I made the move to LA, the back wasn’t sticky anymore so I had to throw it out. 

NYC-home-office-picture-covered-white-board

I always meant to buy a new whiteboard when I set up my home office in LA but just never got around to it. So when the folks at Bootstrap Boards offered to send me one of their whiteboards to try, I was excited to test it out! They come in large frameless boards of 8ft x 4ft and in smaller mini boards that are 18″ x 24″. Since I don’t have a big office, I went with the mini whiteboard. 

bootstrap-whiteboards-unboxing

Each whiteboard comes with everything you need to install it and to use it. The boards come with double sided stickers pre-installed on the back so it’s easy to hang them without any tools. There’s also an option to use eye screws and since I’m a renter and didn’t want to risk damaging my walls with the stickers, that’s what I used – there’s no need for any tools to put them in and then it’s just a matter of hanging the board like a picture frame. 

installing-eye-screws

I like that it doesn’t have a frame – it blends in more seamlessly with the wall and it also makes it possible to put 2 boards next to each other to create a work larger surface. It’s also magnetic so they can double as a pin board and both the wipe and the whiteboard pen have magnets so they can be stored right on the board which is very convenient.

bootstrap-whiteboard-clean

I’m really happy with this new addition to my home office, it fits right in and the smooth surface is way nicer to work with than than the wall sticker I had before. If you’re interested in giving these whiteboards a try, you can buy them on Amazon and I’m happy to say that that folks at Bootstrap Boards are offering a 10% discount to my followers with this exclusive coupon code – YOURSPA18 

Bootstrap-whiteboard-with-coupon-code-

Let me know if you end up trying them out and what you think!

*** This post was sponsored by Bootstrap Boards –  all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

 

I’ve been working from home for a few years now and one of the things I love to use to brainstorm ideas is a whiteboard. When I lived in my NYC studio apartment, I used a removable Whiteboard Sticker .

NYC-home-office-white-board

I liked that the sticker was flush to the wall and that I could easily hide it with a picture frame – this was important to me because my office was in the main living area and I didn’t like looking at all my work stuff when I wasn’t working! It worked well enough at first but because it picked up the texture of the wall, over time it became difficult to get it clean. I was also disappointed that I couldn’t reuse it again when I moved – after removing it from the wall when I made the move to LA, the back wasn’t sticky anymore so I had to throw it out. 

NYC-home-office-picture-covered-white-board

I always meant to buy a new whiteboard when I set up my home office in LA but just never got around to it. So when the folks at Bootstrap Boards offered to send me one of their whiteboards to try, I was excited to test it out! They come in large frameless boards of 8ft x 4ft and in smaller mini boards that are 18″ x 24″. Since I don’t have a big office, I went with the mini whiteboard. 

bootstrap-whiteboards-unboxing

Each whiteboard comes with everything you need to install it and to use it. The boards come with double sided stickers pre-installed on the back so it’s easy to hang them without any tools. There’s also an option to use eye screws and since I’m a renter and didn’t want to risk damaging my walls with the stickers, that’s what I used – there’s no need for any tools to put them in and then it’s just a matter of hanging the board like a picture frame. 

installing-eye-screws

I like that it doesn’t have a frame – it blends in more seamlessly with the wall and it also makes it possible to put 2 boards next to each other to create a work larger surface. It’s also magnetic so they can double as a pin board and both the wipe and the whiteboard pen have magnets so they can be stored right on the board which is very convenient.

bootstrap-whiteboard-clean

I’m really happy with this new addition to my home office, it fits right in and the smooth surface is way nicer to work with than than the wall sticker I had before. If you’re interested in giving these whiteboards a try, you can buy them on Amazon and I’m happy to say that that folks at Bootstrap Boards are offering a 10% discount to my followers with this exclusive coupon code – YOURSPA18 

Bootstrap-whiteboard-with-coupon-code-

Let me know if you end up trying them out and what you think!

*** This post was sponsored by Bootstrap Boards –  all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

 

DIY pull out kitchen storage cabinet

This simple DIY kitchen storage cabinet on wheels is a great solution to add storage in what is usually wasted space.

Here are the things I mention in the video:

3 tier pull out cabinet
4 tier pull out cabinet
5 tier pull out cabinet

Here are some of the tools and materials that I used to make my own custom pull out kitchen storage cabinet:

Tools:
Drill
Drill bit kit
Countersink drill bit
Speed Square
Tape measure
Miter box and saw

Materials:
1”x6”
Screen molding
1” Corner brackets
Nuts and bolts

Supplies:
Shellac
Paint & paint brushes
Sand paper

This simple DIY kitchen storage cabinet on wheels is a great solution to add storage in what is usually wasted space.

Here are the things I mention in the video:

3 tier pull out cabinet
4 tier pull out cabinet
5 tier pull out cabinet

Here are some of the tools and materials that I used to make my own custom pull out kitchen storage cabinet:

Tools:
Drill
Drill bit kit
Countersink drill bit
Speed Square
Tape measure
Miter box and saw

Materials:
1”x6”
Screen molding
1” Corner brackets
Nuts and bolts

Supplies:
Shellac
Paint & paint brushes
Sand paper

DIY kitchen organization ideas

How to organize your kitchen on a budget with quick and easy DIY ideas. Even if you’re renting, you’ll see that you’re not stuck with your less than ideal kitchen!

Here are some of the things that I mention in the video:

Spice storage:

Magnetic spice containers
Magnetic spice rack with wall mount

Wire shelf extenders

Tension rods

Removable double sided tape

Wall mounted magnetic knife rack

Knife rack project materials:

Wood edging – iron-on
Lattice molding
3M command strips

Kitchen cart on wheels

And you can see the kitchen cart upcycle project I did here.

How to organize your kitchen on a budget with quick and easy DIY ideas. Even if you’re renting, you’ll see that you’re not stuck with your less than ideal kitchen!

Here are some of the things that I mention in the video:

Spice storage:

Magnetic spice containers
Magnetic spice rack with wall mount

Wire shelf extenders

Tension rods

Removable double sided tape

Wall mounted magnetic knife rack

Knife rack project materials:

Wood edging – iron-on
Lattice molding
3M command strips

Kitchen cart on wheels

And you can see the kitchen cart upcycle project I did here.

How to make DIY barn door hardware

I’ve always wanted to make my own DIY Barn door hardware, and I finally figured out how! It was actually a lot easier to make than I thought and I only used off the shelf items I got on Amazon (you’ll be surprised to see how I used stainless steel straws ) and at the hardware store, and I only used hand tools to build everything!

Here’s what I used to make the hardware:

Patio Door roller kit (for wheels)

Aluminum flat bar (¼” thick 8ft long)

Stainless steel straws (for spacers)

I also used a drill, a hammer and these other hand tools:

Hacksaw

Mini Pipe cuter

If you want to compare what regular barn door hardware looks like, here’s some you can find on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2jECUyY

I’ve always wanted to make my own DIY Barn door hardware, and I finally figured out how! It was actually a lot easier to make than I thought and I only used off the shelf items I got on Amazon (you’ll be surprised to see how I used stainless steel straws ) and at the hardware store, and I only used hand tools to build everything!

Here’s what I used to make the hardware:

Patio Door roller kit (for wheels)

Aluminum flat bar (¼” thick 8ft long)

Stainless steel straws (for spacers)

I also used a drill, a hammer and these other hand tools:

Hacksaw

Mini Pipe cuter

If you want to compare what regular barn door hardware looks like, here’s some you can find on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2jECUyY

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

Quick and affordable rental bedroom makeover

Many small bedroom ideas for renters in this makeover: hanging curtains over vertical blinds, storage ideas for shoes, jewelry and more! All these ideas are quick to do and affordable and here are some of the things I used to make it happen:

Hanging Jewelry Organizer
NoNo brackets
IKEA Curtains
Curtain rod
Tension Rods
Glue Dots double sided tape

(Optional: offset screwdriver )

Want to see how I made my hanging picture frame jewelry box? Watch this video:

Ep.2- how to make a hanging jewelry box organizer

Want to see how I made the makeup organizer? Watch this video:

DIYB-makeup-organizer-featured-image_edited-1

Want to see what I’m working on next? Follow me on Instagram

Many small bedroom ideas for renters in this makeover: hanging curtains over vertical blinds, storage ideas for shoes, jewelry and more! All these ideas are quick to do and affordable and here are some of the things I used to make it happen:

Hanging Jewelry Organizer
NoNo brackets
IKEA Curtains
Curtain rod
Tension Rods
Glue Dots double sided tape

(Optional: offset screwdriver )

Want to see how I made my hanging picture frame jewelry box? Watch this video:

Ep.2- how to make a hanging jewelry box organizer

Want to see how I made the makeup organizer? Watch this video:

DIYB-makeup-organizer-featured-image_edited-1

Want to see what I’m working on next? Follow me on Instagram

Old IKEA kitchen cart gets a second life

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

How to organize kitchen cupboards to display china

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

Nine DIY ideas to survive any small kitchen

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can buy the round magnetic spice containers or you can also easily make your own by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can buy the round magnetic spice containers or you can also easily make your own by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

Organizing Tips: DIY Makeup Organizer

I personally don’t have a lot of makeup, but a friend of mine has a growing makeup collection that had gotten out of control. To help her organize everything and reclaim her vanity, I came up with a couple of really quick DIY projects that allows her to quickly see what she has and to get to it easily.

 

I personally don’t have a lot of makeup, but a friend of mine has a growing makeup collection that had gotten out of control. To help her organize everything and reclaim her vanity, I came up with a couple of really quick DIY projects that allows her to quickly see what she has and to get to it easily.

 

Closet Organizing Ideas: DIY Closet Organizer

Want to get more storage space out of your closets? This over-the-door closet organizer is a simple and inexpensive to make and you can install on the back of any closet door to get extra storage.

Thanks to SPAX USA for sponsoring this video. To find out more about why they are my favorite fasteners, click here.

Want to get more storage space out of your closets? This over-the-door closet organizer is a simple and inexpensive to make and you can install on the back of any closet door to get extra storage.

Thanks to SPAX USA for sponsoring this video. To find out more about why they are my favorite fasteners, click here.

Quick tips for hanging things – DIY Basics

In this video, I share with you a few tricks I use to make hanging things like mirrors, frames and pendant lamps, including some tools that I use to make things easier:

Hands free laser level: http://amzn.to/1UFFmzv

Plumb bob: http://amzn.to/1VUE5WH

In this video, I share with you a few tricks I use to make hanging things like mirrors, frames and pendant lamps, including some tools that I use to make things easier:

Hands free laser level: http://amzn.to/1UFFmzv

Plumb bob: http://amzn.to/1VUE5WH

Easy way to maximize closet space

Do you have a tiny closet? A crowded closet? One way to get more storage is to double of your hanging space by adding a second rod. You can buy ready made ones from the store but in this short video, I show you how to make your own that’s easy to customize to the width and height that you need to fit your closet and your needs. Plus there’s a couple more tips on how to hang bags or long boots from it.

You can also see a closet makeover where I used this project in this video: http://bit.ly/1IvcZTP

Do you have a tiny closet? A crowded closet? One way to get more storage is to double of your hanging space by adding a second rod. You can buy ready made ones from the store but in this short video, I show you how to make your own that’s easy to customize to the width and height that you need to fit your closet and your needs. Plus there’s a couple more tips on how to hang bags or long boots from it.

You can also see a closet makeover where I used this project in this video: http://bit.ly/1IvcZTP

Small Kitchen? Get more storage w/ extra shelves

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

I used removable double sided tape to make this renter friendly but you could also use screws if you want something more permanent.

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

I used removable double sided tape to make this renter friendly but you could also use screws if you want something more permanent.