My family has lived in a wide variety of homes as we’ve grown… I have a bit of an itchy foot, and like a new adventure now and then, so new living spaces seem to make me very happy every few years.
In most of those spaces, square footage is fairly minimal, and every speck of floor space counts. We’ve gone vertical with beds (up and down–at one point, we used one set of bunks with a toddler mattress pushed under it during the day) to gain more floor space in bedrooms, but one of the biggest changes was also a fairly inexpensive one.
We ditched dressers.
Most standard “modern” houses in the US have ubiquitous double-width, bi-fold door closets in one wall. For hanging space, they’re fairly inefficient: one hanging rod quite high, a nearly-inaccessible shelf above, and lots of wasted space at the floor. Some people put a dresser into the closet, but I’ve found myself pinching fingers, toes, and banging up the woodwork too often. (When there is no music playing, I’m pretty clumsy, thanks.)
Here’s where we found ourselves several years ago: tiny home; six people; dressers getting to the “won’t open easily” point due to age and abuse; about $80 to solve the problem.
And here’s what we did: we got rid of the dressers, and replaced them with the hanging canvas cubby stacks that velcro to the closet rod. Each child got one stack (and one canvas bin for socks); the Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal fellow has big clothes, so he got two stacks, but even my wardrobe fit into one stack (have I mentioned I’m a bit of a clothing minimalist?) At under $15 per person for the good, sturdy stacks, we spent less on storage space for the whole family than we would have spent on one very lousy pre-fab, presswood, off-gassing cheapo dresser. We still had hanging space for each person (five or six hangers each for the kids, more for TDSN and I), and the other happy discovery was that the kids’ things now took up less than half the closet space, leaving the other half to be fitted with shelves for toy storage.
The space gained in the rooms was tremendous.
So, if you’re currently rebelling against society’s expectations of the minimum comfortable floor space needs for a family, consider ditching the dressers, and looking at other options for clothing and toy storage. The canvas cubbies are sturdy and *very* easily portable (a nice boon for those of us with a bit of wanderlust!). If you’re terribly ambitious, they’re something that can be sewn at home in fabrics of your own choosing, too… lots of room for creativity in the midst of very small rebellions!