Japan has many favorite words and phrases. Motainai is one of them.

If I were to translate it -it means something like “waste not want not” but …a little different. You can use the word in a variety of ways. I use the word quite frequently because it kind of fits my frugal personality. Actually, it really fits my frugal personality.

When we moved into this house it was full of furniture, dishes, futons and everything in between. My husband’s- brother’s- wife’s (how’s that for a mouthful) parents owned this home (now deceased) so we were able to pick and choose what we wanted-the rest was dumped! You have no idea what a blessing it was to us as we left most of our earthly possessions behind in Saipan.

I think I kept more than what we actually needed. There was this old wardrobe that I kept because I thought it might come in handy someday. It sat around bothering me for a while …and then…I needed a sewing space.

Living in such a small house it was hard for me to decide where I was going to set up my sewing corner. I moved it around here and there-the clutter bothered me. Clutter in a small space makes me feel tired.

Then I had an idea-!

The wardrobe is actually 2 pieces. The section where you hang clothes rests on top of 2 drawers and comes off. So-I took off the top section and removed the hanging bar. It was then basically just a big wooden box.


I bought a piece of wood from the do-it-yourself shop and used “L” brackets to install a shelf.


I purchased the organizers from Daiso and –viola–a sewing space! The drawers sit on the opposite wall and hold my material. I made a patchwork curtain for the whole thing and it hides everything inside. I just started putting it together. After I get the other organizers in I’m sure it will be perfect.

Small space living can be a challenge.



8 thoughts on “Motainai…

  1. I am inspired. We moved from a huge house where I had my own sewing room to a tiny 2 bedroom with no place to sew…so, maybe I can figure out a space like yours😊

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