Tag Archives: home storage

4 Japanese organizing ideas for Tiny Spaces. We need this Miami.


Stow Simple hits Japan
Stow Simple hits Japan

Japan is the land of creative storage techniques and organizing ideas. The average Tokyo resident has less than 1,000 square feet of living area and have had to learn to live with less stuff in their lives. Japan is also vulnerable to lots of earthquake shaking so not only do they have to own less stuff, it also has to be organized and stored securely.

Stow Simple in Tokyo!
Stow Simple in Tokyo!

Last summer, one of our Stow Simple Team members had the opportunity to travel to Japan and take notes on clever storage techniques and gathered several organizing ideas that could be utilized in Miami’s tight condo spaces. Here are four tips we should all be using right now.

1. Pull-out drawers and pull-down cabinets

Japanese homes really use lots of long, narrow pull out drawers in as many spaces as possible, especially kitchens where counter spaces are limited. They are awesome.  Use them.

Home Kitchens/08 KW House
Look up!  Don’t forget about all the unused space in top cabinets or up on your walls, especially in the kitchen. Many Tokyo apartments have pull down cabinets to maximize kitchen storage. Although, not all are as cool as this one:

2. Organize with semi-porous baskets or labeled boxes

If you have ever been to Japan, you have probably dived into a 100 yen store (sort of like a dollar store on crack.)  You can pick up just about any kind of household item for organizing. There a wide variety of plastic bins with handles to help organize items together in cramped spaces and cut down on disaster zones of clutter. If you live in any major city in the US with a notable Japanese community (LA, San Francisco, Seattle, New York– you’ll find a Daiso that carries these items).

Japanese dollar store bins-every organizer's dream store
Japanese dollar store bins-every organizer’s dream store
Seriously, amazing.
Seriously, amazing.

3. Organizing ideas that show off quirkiness

Sometimes we just don’t have a place for everything so some Japanese display stuff with quirkiness. Have fun and be lighthearted and showcase it in a neat way.

Ultra minimalism at its best
Ultra minimalism at its best


Fun storage--display it in a quirky way! http://cushandnooks.blogspot.se/2012/01/tiny-in-tokyo.html
For the non-minimalist–display stuff  in a quirky but neat way! http://cushandnooks.blogspot.se/2012/01/tiny-in-tokyo.html
Quirky "Rilakuma" (Relax Bear) file boxes
Quirky “Rilakuma” (Relax Bear) file boxes

4.  Use textiles

Don’t forget about textiles when organizing.  They give small spaces movement. In Japan, the changes of seasons are celebrated more prominently than in the US. Residents and business owners change their “norens” in their homes from season to season. These rectangular pieces of fabric with one ore more vertical slits are hung in doorways or windows. Sometimes they are used to divide the space between cooking areas and dining areas. For example, a breezy linen cloth with bright flowers can be used in the summer to make people “feel cooler” with the visual cues of summertime themes.

They can also be used to give a small room a feeling of flow and movement, especially if they are made of linen or hemp.

organizing idea-norens to hide clutter
Norens can hide clutter and also make you feel in tune with the seasons.


Our Stow Simple friend, Kim Hyacynthe, recently moved to Tokyo to start business school and shared her short tour of her tiny apartment with our team. You can get a sense for the lack of space and we are looking forward to her new tours after she gets fully moved in and organized!

Declutter Before a Hurricane

“A tropical disturbance is forming outside Florida” is an anxiety provoking phrase for most South Floridians.

Many of us have heard the horrible stories of Hurricane Andrew or have lived through the havoc a major tropical storm or hurricane created and we don’t take our chances with mother nature.

And yet, we often find ourselves out of breath and in a mad rush to prepare at the last minute. Cluttered garages, loose backyard items, and sheds with a disarray of stuff that hasn’t been touched in several years tends to get in the way when we are looking around to prepare for a natural disaster.


Getting rid of clutter in the home is a great way to be prepared during a disaster and to protect your family. Stow Simple will help jumpstart this process with minimum work on your end. Simply schedule a time for them to drop off high-quality bins for free, fill them up, and they pick-up when it’s convenient for you. They’ll take them to their secure storage facility and will redeliver whenever you need them back. Simplifying your life and creating a safe environment for you and your family couldn’t be any easier with Stow Simple.

Residents in high surge areas or low lying flood zones like Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Brickell and many other areas can rest assured that Stow Simple services your areas. Don’t let clutter disrupt your safety during a disaster. Prepare ahead of time so you can easily access important items when lights are out and also have clear spaces for moving about in the case of flooding or tornadoes.

Here is a fantastic disaster preparedness checklist and family communication plan worksheets. It’s a good idea to check in with loved ones to update emergency meet up sites ahead of any disaster.

Call: (888) 544-6050 for free storage pickup.


7 Home Organizing Hacks Under $100

The act of simplifying can be profound. When you declutter you create breathing space. Calm and clutter do not go hand in hand. So why not try these 7 home organizing hacks to simplify your home and life this summer.

All of these home organization ideas use IKEA products that are under $100. IKEA provides an easy and  inexpensive way to hack your way to a more organized summer.

Home Organizing Hack #1: Convert the Rast 3-Drawer Chest into a Stylish Workspace 

chest beforechest after

Need some extra storage space? Try converting the versatile Rast 3-Drawer chest into a stylish workspace. Add a plexiglass-covered core door atop a pair of wooden legs for a chic upgrade.

Rast 3-Drawer Chest, $35; ikea.com

Courtesy of Addison Meadows Lane

Home Organizing Hack #2: Use the Verifier Bag Dispenser as a Gift Wrap Organizer

Verifier Beforeverifier After

Don’t know how to keep your wrapping paper organized? This plastic bag dispenser keeps your gift wrap rolls out of the way, yet visible.

Verifier Bag Dispenser, $2; ikea.com

Courtesy of Interior Candy

Home Organizing Hack #3: The Mosslanda Picture Ledge is a Versatile Way to Gain More Counter Space

ledge beforeledge after

I don’t know about you, but I never have enough countertop space in my bathroom. The Mosslanda Picture Ledge is a godsend. For $6 you can create attractive and functional shelving.

Mosslanda Picture Ledge, $6; ikea.com

Courtesy of Yasam Stil

Home Organizing Hack #4: Fintorp Rail + Hooks = Organization

Fintop BeforeFintorp after

The Fintorp Rail is a simple rail, which when you add hooks can be used to organize almost anything.

Fintorp Rail, $9; ikea.com

Courtesy of Hometalk

Home Organizing Hack #5: The Roskog Utility Cart Holds Endless Possibilities

utility cart beforeutility cart after

This little metal rolling cart is popular at IKEA because it is useful in every room of the house. Use it as a portable manicure station, liquor cart…. the possibilities are endless.

Raskog Utility Cart, $30; ikea.com

Courtesy of Polka Dot Chair

Home Organizing Hack #6: Makeover Your Tall Billy Bookcase 

billy shelf beforebilly shelf after

These classic shelving units provide the base for many makeovers. By adding architectural molding, a rolling ladder, and a Fintrop Rail (see Hack #4) you can create an elegant library look.

Tall Billy Bookcase, $70; ikea.com

Courtesy of Makerista

Home Organizing Hack #7: Create a Kitchen Island with the Short Billy Bookcase

Short billy beforeShort Billy afterThis half-sized version of the Billy Bookcase is twice as versatile. Stack them, house them side-by-side, or place them back-to-back to create engaging and useful kitchen storage.

Short Billy Bookcase, $50; ikea.com

Courtesy of Golden Boys & Me

Additional ideas courtesy of House Beautiful