My Slow Home: A Small Space with Clever Storage & Earth-Friendly Practices

My Slow Home: A Small Space with Clever Storage & Earth-Friendly Practices

Emily Smith
Aug 12, 2011

As a renter in the city, it can be a bit difficult to find a place that fits exactly what you're looking for. I've lived in some places that really didn't have a good overall flow, and even though they were technically larger than where I currently am (my current place is only around 650 sq ft), they weren't nearly as comfortable. What really sold me on my place was, well, first of all, a yard, which is very rare in the city, but also the really clever storage and overall functionality of the space. Learn more about what cleverly designed solutions I learned about from renting my home after the jump.

As you can see, the washer and dryer are tucked away neatly in a perfectly-fitting storage closet next to the fridge. There really isn't enough space for a laundry room, so the fact that there is actually a washer/dryer in our place is pretty impressive. What works especially well in this circumstance are the extremely long cupboards above the fridge and washer/dryer, which not only provide more storage space but lead the eye upwards. They really utilize the room's high ceilings, and thus make the space feel bigger.

The bedroom and bathroom are built on a platform above this storage unit, so that leaves around 200 square feet or so of storage space. As you can imagine, items can get pushed back fairly far, so by using wheels and rolly bins, it's easy to move things around. Another ingenious idea is that the utility closet is located behind another door at the back of the storage unit, so it's cleverly tucked away inside.

I would have to say that the yard is by far my favourite part of my home. I started composting this year, and have planted some edible flowers, tomatoes, kale, and basil as well. Some plants are doing better than others—after all, it is a learning year—but the most rewarding part of the whole experience has been seeing our food waste turn in to soil! (Check out those worms!)

In an attempt to save energy, we recently installed a dutch airer in order to cut down on using that wonderfully-hidden dryer. It's located in the bedroom, and really suits the space because of the attention that it draws to the ceiling. In order to load the dutch airer, all you have to do is lower it down and place your clothes on the slats. By pulling a rope on a pully, it launches the laundry towards the ceiling, and the rope is then fastened to a cleat so that it stays. I was finding it really difficult to use those fold-out air dryers in my space, because of a lack of floor space. But this wonderful contraption has gotten quite a bit of use over the past few months!

If your home is a small space like mine, here are some Slow Home elements that you can put to use:

Store Things Effectively:

  • If you have a crawl space in your house, try putting bins on wheels. It's surprising how much time can be saved if you can push and pull - as opposed to lifting heavy boxes.
  • Opt for floating shelves. That way you can store things without having the footprint of a big book shelf or cabinet.
  • If you have high ceilings, think about shelving units that are tall, with a smaller footprint. Use height and emphasize verticality wherever possible. It not only gives you more storage space, but makes your space feel bigger
  • Use wall hangers and hooks to hang jackets and purses.

Think About Functionality and The Environment:

  • Doing something—anything!—to cut down on your carbon footprint, water usage, or the amount of trash that you send to the landfill will not only be better for the environment, but will make you feel good about doing your part.
  • If you're looking to cut down on energy usage, I recommend ditching the dryer. Dutch Airers are a great solution to this. They not only work as a clothes dryer, but they look pretty neat and draw attention to the ceiling, even when they're not in use.
  • Composting. If you don't do it, start. I find that it's not just great to cut down on garbage, but it's invigorating to see your trash turn into something usable.

(Images: Emily Smith)

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