Organizing and Designing a Small Space by Marla Stone, Southern California's Premier Professional Organizer
Marla Stone, MSW, Professional Organizer, Decor and Feng Shui Specialist has organized and decorated 1000’s of small spaces to know that owning or renting a small studio, apartment or home will be challenging when furniture placement is all wrong, and clutter abounds. Stone suggests the following:
-Bring furniture away from wall space so the wall will be available for shelving, or cabinetry.
-Use wall space for a built-in, cabinet or shelving.
-Categorize all your belongings.
-Find a home for each category based on how often you use the items in that category.
-Put things back into their home when you are finished with them.
Stone explains that when you have things that you use once or twice a year, such as a turkey platter, in a small kitchen, you are fighting the platter to get to what she termed "daily, weekly, and monthly items". Stone knows that when there is disorder, and things are all over a small space it will feel confining. Stone calls it the “hamster in the wheel effect”.
There is nothing worse then having a nicely designed space with piles of clutter, papers, books, and all your stuff on countertops, and corners of the floor. Furniture designed for small spaces is sold everywhere now. Stone explains that "It is a matter of configuring the furniture into the space, so that it creates great energy and flow, while seating as many guests as possible". She confides “Too much or too little of furniture and decor will create an uneasy feeling". Stone prescribes placing furniture so its open to the entrance of a room. Putting a couch with the back to an entrance of a room creates a block, and it becomes annoying and unsettling. Placing a bed in line with the opening of a door, or on the wrong wall may lead to restless sleep. Moving furniture around so it looks like a well thought out hotel suite, or model home will create a peaceful and satisfied feeling. Open space increases harmony.
Stone has a saying for people with too much stuff, in a small space, with little or no storage, “Where would you like me to put your stuff….., in mid-air?” Stone will share a “buzzilion" ideas for storage options, but some people think that their belongings will magically fit into their tiny cabinets and furniture. She exclaims, "People love their stuff but they don’t want it in their faces". More suggestions from Stone are to find furniture, such as a side tables in a bedroom, or end tables in a living room with drawers or a cabinet space. Look for pieces that you love but that also can be used for putting things away. Shelving with decorative bins, baskets, or boxes will hold things, and still look aesthetically pleasing. Sexy or rich looking cabinets with doors create an attractive, clean and tidy look, without overwhelming the space.
Getting creative with storing “daily, weekly, and monthly items” closest to you, and things you use the least furthest from you is a smart move for your space and lifestyle. Making good decisions about what stays and goes based on "Use, Purpose, Sentimentality and whether you love it at all”, Stone says is key to living comfortably in your small but precious space.
Marla Stone, MSW, Professional Organizer, Decor and Feng Shui Specialist, AKA “The Furniture Whisperer”
Southern California, Orange County, Long Beach and South Bay Professional Organizers. Getting Organized NOW!
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Marla is known as the Declutter Your Strategy™ expert. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of