Catherine Cachia has a 100-year-old house and a two-year-old daughter, which is another way of saying that the Toronto-based artist has zero closet space and a whole bunch of stuff. Instead of Marie Kondo–ing it all, however, Cachia got creative: hiding toys in vintage tins, hanging toddler Winnie’s outfits from DIY shelving, using old lockers for clothes. The result is a house that’s fun and colourful, where everything manages to have a place. “Just because you have kids and live in a small space doesn’t mean you have to let that compromise your style,” she says. But it does help to take inspiration from some of Cachia’s organizational rules:
1. Use lockers to add more storage space
These vintage school lockers, which Cachia found online, were a score, but they were also an unattractive grey colour. One coat of white paint transforms them into a shiny new storage system for clothing.
2. No closets? Build a shelf and keep your clothes on display
Cachia built this simple but beautiful shelf and clothes rod using a stick and a bit of thick twine. Now Winnie’s clothes are organized, easily accessible and doing double duty as decor. Instructions: 1. Buy a wall shelf. Or, if you’re feeling especially handy, you can build your own shelf out of a few brackets and a piece of wood from the hardware store. 2. Drill holes at each end of shelf. The holes should be large enough to pass a piece of twine through. Then install the shelf on the wall. 3. Attach the twine. You’ll want something thick enough to hold the weight of the clothes. Tie knots so they sit on top of the shelf. 4. Attach the stick. Cachia’s dad foraged this one and peeled off the bark. Tie each end of the stick to a hanging piece of twine, making sure the knot is tight.
3. Wire baskets will keep you organized and decorate your space
Despite what you’ve been told, it is absolutely okay to flaunt your clutter, especially if — like Cachia’s art supplies — it brings colour and character to your space. Wire baskets make sure that everything is visible but remains easily corralled.
4. Keep only what fits in your storage containers
These green containers came with the breadbox, and they hold Winnie’s art supplies and bright plastic food. They look adorable on display and are a clever way to minimize chaos: When Winnie is done with the toys in one container, everything is put back before she can play with another.
5. Put the furniture you love to work
Cachia’s grandmother first owned this chest, which has been in her family for years and fits perfectly in a living room alcove. After getting a quick restaining and repainting, the chest is now where Winnie’s toys are stored.
6. Rethink (and rotate) your gallery wall
Cachia installed two photo ledges above the couch for knick-knacks and family photos, but they’re also great for managing all of Winnie’s artwork — paintings are made and displayed, then swapped out for new ones. Decorative baskets look lovely on photo ledges too, and you can keep clutter off the floor by chucking everything inside them.
7. Turn your to-do list into a work of art
Cachia needs a clear workspace; she also needs to stay on top of a year’s worth of events and projects. She used paint chips to divide her to-do list into months and slapped some leftover paint on the wall to make the whole calendar a little prettier (and less daunting) to look at.
8. You don’t have to store items in one, particular room
Just because something belongs in a particular room doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Storage is hard to come by in Cachia’s bathroom, so she used a built-in shelf in the hallway to house essentials like cotton pads, Q-tips and towels.
9. Breadboxes aren’t just for bread
This breadbox, which Cachia picked up at a vintage show, sits on the kitchen counter, but it stores Winnie’s diapers and a changing mat. “It’s a fun, functional way to keep this stuff out of sight,” Cachia says.
Watch: The Home Primp: How To Update A Small Bathroom For Under $250