Over the course of my flatting/not living at home chapter of my life I have lived in nine different living spaces (eg. share houses, apartments) over the course of six and a half years. Sometimes these spaces were more permanent, maybe I was there for a year or two, but some of these were more temporary, I was only there a couple of months. I have also travelled for work and been in a place that isn’t home for a month or two just living out of a suitcase.
Also, given that my generation seems to be “shut out of the housing market”, I might be renting for a long time yet (maybe forever?), so I am likely to encounter more temporary living spaces in the future. I even have one friend that plans to build a Tiny Home that she can travel around the country in.
The following are three ideas that can help if you are living in your friend’s sister’s office space with all of her office supplies and wedding dress, or if you and your partner are living in his friend’s ’collectables’ storage room (complete with antique dragons watching you sleep). These are situations I have actually lived in, so trust me, it’s these little things that matter.
If you are living out of a suitcase, or a limited number of drawers, the tendency is to cram everything into that one space and just go with it. This inevitably leads to the inability to find anything and odd socks becoming your go to. After a while, suitcases just look like an angry box, spewing your stuff everywhere, and over filled drawers can’t close so they also spew stuff everywhere. The solution? Separators.
You don’t have to get the expensive ones from Zara Home or whatever either! I used a makeup/lunch box bag with pineapples on it from Typo as the top drawer divider where I am currently living. It’s soft sided so I could mould it into the drawer (other boxes were too tall and if they were hard sided the drawer couldn’t close). I placed it in the middle of the drawer, creating two other separate spaces either side of it. These three spaces are perfect for socks, knickers, and bras.
Separators from Muji, Daiso, or the Dollar Store, can also be used (even Tupperware!) and these can separate out the spaces in your suitcase as well if you are living out of it. This way, each category/item has its own place and you can find everything you need easily!
In the room where I was living before I had a bedside table with three drawers of bits and bobs that I use all the time, before bed, in my room etc. When I moved here, I could put things on the top of the bedside table but the drawers are full of someone else’s things. Solutions? A toiletries bag (my one is gold and is from Elizabeth Arden) that keeps my pre-bedtime essentials, chargers, and vitamins, all in one place that I can access quickly and also move to other spaces if needed.
I have another toiletries bag with my skincare/haircare essentials in the bathroom. This one I got from a pharmacy and always use when I travel because you can hang it off a towel rail or hook and access everything without having to unpack it.
I have another little bag in my room that keeps a couple of nail polishes and a couple of necklaces in it, and another clear glad bag (I need a new makeup bag but this is good for travel and does the job at the moment) for my make up. These enable me to rein in the chaos of lots of little bits that just end up getting lost if they don’t have their own space. I use this system wherever I am living but in a temporary or cluttered space, things like this become absolutely vital.
If you are like me and you have a collection of makeup brushes, or colour pencils, or stationary, and you want to be able to access these things without having to rummage through all sorts of stuff, a good solution could be a holder that can sit on top of your surface where you can see it. Yesterday, I needed a solution for my makeup brushes because, as I say, I am using a glad bag for my make up at the moment and I can’t over fill it! So, I found a cat food tin, I washed it thoroughly and peeled the label off, I put clear tape around the rim because it was a bit sharp, and this created a makeup brush holder. It’s light so I can move it around into the bathroom when I want to do my makeup and back to my room when I’m finished. It is stable so it won’t tip over and it keeps the brushes protected and easy to access.
You may find lots of other things around your space that you can reuse or dismantle to create effective solutions that don’t break the bank while you are staying in a temporary space. I like recycling things because it means you are creating less waste and because I am not spending money on things that I may not use when I leave this space.
Be creative, get organised. These things will make your time in your parent’s spare room full of all your childhood Barbies less stressful, less difficult, and way more functional.