How a Family of Four Squeezed More Storage Space Into Their Cozy Home
Now this is how you organize a home.
On a charming residential street in Vestavia, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, blogger and freelancer Joanna Ballentine of Irrelephant, along with her husband Robbie and two kids, Theo and Alma (and don't forget their golden retriever, Rocco!), have created a cozy family home. After moving into the nearly 1,200-square-foot home in 2012, the family has spent the past six years crafting a whimsical sanctuary out of vintage finds, DIY projects, and beautifully captured family photos. With two little ones under four and a dog, it would be no surprise if the home felt chaotic, but it's every bit as joyful and relaxed as it looks on Joanna's beautifully curated Instagram account. By tucking clever storage solutions into every possible nook and cranny and limiting the collection of stuff—toys for the kids, clothing for the grown-ups—the home keeps its calm. Here are all of the brilliant storage ideas Joanna worked seamlessly into her home's design, and that keep the home running smoothly.
Sneak in More Shelves
In the kitchen, a set of DIY shelves (the metal brackets were IKEA finds!) holds flour, peanuts, and fresh produce. The trick to making open shelving look this tidy? Decant bulk goods into glass canisters with airtight lids—the shelves will not only look neat, but the food will stay fresh for longer.
Install a Communal Coat Rack
Rather than place a bulky coat rack beside the front door, the Ballentine family tucked theirs in the hallway between the bathroom and bedrooms. The whole family shares this organizer, with raincoats, purses, and hats piled onto the hooks so they're easy to grab as they head out the door. To keep this space from getting too chaotic, Joanna stores off-season gear in the basement downstairs.
Slide Storage Under the Bed
When Joanna's husband Robbie built this adorable bed for the kids, he snuck extra storage underneath by adding a sliding drawer for stashing toys and books. But don't worry, you don't need DIY skills to work this solution into your own home—here are 5 of our favorite under-bed organizers.
DIY Some Shelves
At first glance, this sturdy shelving unit in the sunroom looks like a metal West Elm find, but it's actually a handmade unit Robbie crafted out of wood. The wall of shelves offers an ideal spot to show off beautiful family photos, treasured knick-knacks, and some favorite books.
Add Hooks Everywhere
Remember, any unoccupied wall space has the potential to become extra storage—just add wall hooks or a narrow set of shelves. In a corner of her living room opposite the front door, Joanna installed a tiny coat rack above a wire storage bin. It's the perfect spot to perch a raincoat or backpack.