small space essentials

here we are with another small family homes blog installment!  as always, please check out some of the other blogs participating (links down below).

this month’s topic is “necessities for small space living” and i decided to round up some of my favourite products and types of products for making living in a small space easier and more enjoyable. none of these products are necessities by any means! but, if you live in a small space, you probably already know that the things you have in your home really affect how liveable your space is — whether you enjoy your space or whether you’re constantly banging your shins and cursing the hell out of your small rooms.

sidenote: when frankie was a bit younger, i wrote a post about the best baby gear for small spaces, which you can check out here. we have since passed on or sold almost all of these items and haven’t had to replace them with toddler equivalents. so, if you’re in the throws of being in a small space with a young baby — it gets better! they need less and less special stuff as time goes by. 


turkish bath towels. we recently made the switch from your average, bulky terrycloth towels to turkish-style towels. i’ve been working on some initial updates to our only bathroom and felt like some pretty, colourful towels would go a long way, since we keep our wet bath towels in the bathroom. we have these ones from sunday dry goods out of vancouver and i’m a big fan. they do do that — look much nicer hanging on the back of the bathroom door than our old towels, but, more than that, they’re so thin that they can be easily folded and rolled and the clean ones can be stored in the bathroom alongside the ones that are in use. we have a shallow floor-to-ceiling cabinet in our bathroom that has sat empty for several months, but now it holds clean bath towels and hand towels, freeing up the closet space in the rest of the house that our old, thick towels occupied. i bought four towels, but, being so thin, they’re also great rolled up and thrown in the beach bag or for the park, so i plan to get a few more in the future.


bath products everyone can use. we are not big product people (see: nearly empty bathroom cabinet referenced above), but we’ve further streamlined our shower/tub by finding a shampoo/conditioner/body wash brand that we can all use and like. we buy everyone products, made in california and widely available here in victoria. this means fewer bottles to knock over in the shower and fewer products in the “overstock” drawer. i am obsessed with the coconut lemon scent of our shampoo/body wash and want to take three showers a day just to use it.

streaming/lending services. over time, we have culled our book, dvd and cd collections down to just a favourite few and i can’t remember the last time we purchased a new one of any of these items. instead, we use our public library for books, netflix for movies and television and apple music for music. combined, these services cost us about $20/month, we have pretty well unlimited access to anything we might want to read, watch or listen to and we don’t have to find space for physical items. i know lots of streaming services exist, but we’ve never strayed beyond netflix and apple music. if you do utilize more than one service, i’d encourage you to take a look at what you subscribe to and try and get it down to just one. even though these services don’t take up physical space, the usernames and passwords take up brain space and those small monthly fees can really add up over the course of a year.    


wall-mounted alternatives. in a small home, floor space is at a premium so i try and get everything up off the floor. perfect examples in our home are our wall-mounted bedside fixtures, which mean we don’t need bedside tables to hold lamps, and the wall ledges in frankie rose’s room, which means she doesn’t need a space-hogging bookcase. i made these light fixtures for our first house, where our bedroom presented us with a choice between a double bed and two small nightstands or a queen bed and no room for anything else.

multi-use objects. whenever we’re considering buying anything new, we always ask ourselves whether we already own something that can do the job adequately. this mostly applies to little, inexpensive things — the kitchen is a great offender of a hundred things that all do the same job — but all those little, inexpensive things can result in huge clutter. so, for example, our clothespins do triple duty hanging our clothes on the line, keeping our chip and cereal bags shut and in the hall closet to keep mittens together. we do not own clothespins, bag clips and mitten clips — though i guarantee you can buy these as separate products.

i hope these recommendations have been helpful! for more, please visit justice pirate, 600 sq ft and a babyreal food simple life, a life shift, tiny ass camper, shelley vanderbyl, rising*shining and fourth & west.

18 thoughts on “small space essentials

  1. These are some great ideas! I wish for the sake of space I could get on board with electronic books. But I just can’t. I love the physical book too much. I like marking in it and folding page corners and feeling the weight of the book and the smell of the pages. But I’m all for getting rid of DVDs, if only I could convince my husband. At least I’ve been able to convince him to get rid of the cases.

    1. I work in book publishing and I despise ebooks, too. I can’t imagine a worse way to wind down from the day — starting at a screen. So I don’t read ebooks, but I do borrow physical books from the library! If I love a book and think I will read it again, I might ask for it for Christmas and add it to our shelves… but mostly I’m happy to read and return.

  2. I agree with wall-mounting wholeheartedly, but in our rental we can’t “damage” the walls [i hope my sharpie mural paints over easily!!!] but i have been considering mounting a few things to furniture, like shallow metal baskets to the side of the bed frame to hold a water bottle, paperback, phone charger, etc.

    1. oh man, i understand landlords not wanting renters to destroy their properties, but not being able to hang anything on the walls is pretty ridiculous. the two things i showed here are mounted using a couple #8 anchors — pretty easy to patch, sand and paint over if necessary. mounting things to furniture sounds like a great idea — i bet you could find lots of inspiration from cool dorm rooms. a lot of those walls are cinderblock and uni students have some pretty creative ideas.

  3. I *love* the Everyone products, and I am so impressed they actually work for everyone in our house. My husband has thick, curly hair and I have fine, straight hair, but we both like it as shampoo. And anything that suds is fine for body wash. I’m still using up a giant bottle of Dr. Bronners baby on our son… can’t wait until it’s gone and we’re down to one bottle in the shower!

    1. we were introduced to everyone products in the air bnb that we stayed at when we came to victoria in march to shop for our house and i loved them. we all use the soap as soap/shampoo and then my daughter and i need the conditioner since we have super fine, tangly hair. and they are so inexpensive!

  4. Checking out the Everyone products because I love that idea and we have yet to find something that works for us all, and also your Turkish towels because we have some but I am not impressed and I really wanted to be.

  5. How beautiful and what a great list. I have been wanting to switch to Turkish towels too. Most of my towels I have had for thirteen years and are falling apart pretty badly and I have discussed the switch with my husband, it is just a matter of making sure all the funds are in order. I liked reading what you had to say about them to make me feel further secure in wanting them and seeing the value that they can make for us. I have been talking about getting them for a full year to make sure it is something really needed or can be beneficial to us.haha. I take purchases so seriously haha.

    The sharing of bath products doesn’t work in my family at this point. My sons share and my husband has a preference as do I for shampoo at least, but thankfully what I do get lasts a long time and are small considering how long they last. I am also particular on vegan, organic, and fair trade products too but maybe one day we can all agree on a product!!! My husband and I do share body wash though!!

    1. Our old towels were 7.5 years old (wedding gift) and holding up just fine, but these new towels save a lot of space in our bathroom and I like that they’re multipurpose (I don’t need to store separate beach towels, etc.). We’ve only had them a few weeks, but I can give them a pretty strong endorsement.

  6. Oh I love love these. You brought up such good points. I was holding some Turkish bath towels just the other day and thinking they seemed great. So I love hearing your endorsement. These might go on my wish list. And bath soap for everyone! We have been buying the 3-in-1 soap from Trader Joe’s and Chris and I both use it as shampoo and body wash. It can also be conditioner but I like to use a separate conditioner. It’s a bit stingy in the eyes so not for the boys yet but maybe I’ll try that soap you use. And I love the little shelves for books along the wall.

    1. EO also makes baby shampoo/soap and kid’s shampoo/soap, which might be less sting-y. It would still mean a separate bottle for the kiddos, but it looks cohesive to have the same brand and makes it easy to order/buy at the same time. We don’t have Trader Joe’s in Canada, alas!

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