I have been asked to share some of my organizing ideas for living in a 900 square foot house. I am not much of an idea person. I am a good copier. I do not like to be or feel unorganized. I don’t like clutter, but I live with it on a regular basis. I am always looking for a better way to do something. Although I don’t have formal time/management training, I like to study on it and at one time had a job putting some of it into practice. I guess you could sort of say that it is a hobby of mine. Anyway, we came to the mission field knowing that we would be living in this house. My husband was able to get some measurements and I knew that I would have to scale way, way down. It was doable though and I was ready to get to it and make this house our home. I started in the kitchen. This is a picture of the kitchen before we started…Ugh! I didn’t like the cabinets or the pink counters, but had to live with them. There is no Home Depot or Lowe’s in Japan. “Do-it-yourself” is a new phenomenon that has not totally caught on here. It is amazing what you can do with a can of paint. This is a rental property, so although we get the benefit of enjoying whatever we do, we don’t own it. The bottom cabinets didn’t hold a lot because of the sliding doors. The first thing we did was take off all the doors and paint the cabinets and all the trim white. I then hung my orchard valley wallpaper. We put in our appliances and a new linoleum tile floor. We shipped these from the USA on our container. My curtains in the USA coordinated with the wallpaper. With a few adjustments, I made them fit for the windows here and we hung vertical blinds. We shipped these from the USA as well. When all was done we didn’t want to rehang the old doors, so we had new ones cut from a high-grade plywood that doesn’t warp. I painted the new doors and we hung them with new hardware. For the bottom cabinets, we replaced the sliding doors with hinged doors. This gave me some much needed storage space. We moved a shelf that was above the window in the dining area to under the window on the right. I put plants here and a few teacups. I have a lot of teapots and cups that I like to display, so we left the doors off the cabinets above the sink and added a lip along the back wall so that I could display plates and another lip on the edge to keep things from sliding off when my kids come stomping down the steps!
This is the finished product. I was very pleased. Appliances in Japan are mini since the women here go the the store daily. They cook different too so they don’t have ovens. They usually use little electric ovens that bake 6 cookies at a time or convection/microwave ovens that sit on the counter. We have natural gas here, so I am able to use an American gas oven. The dining area leading into the kitchen before.
I love the bright cheeriness of this area. I sit at this table to do many things besides eating. Right now I am typing away on my lap-top. 🙂 When the cherry trees are in bloom I get a beautiful view from here! Since we moved the shelf that was above this window, I was able to hang my window treatment higher and make the window look bigger. I learned this trick many years ago and love to use it! I like big windows! The dishwasher is a portable. We decided on this because we didn’t want to take up storage space to install it and if we move to another house, as many missionaries do, we can take it with us. It is not as inconvenient as I thought it would be. In the evening when we are done with cleanup and ready to sit and relax, we wheel it over to the sink and hook it up.
I will share more in future posts.