Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Organize Your Stash Without Lots of Cash

One of the most common New Year's Resolutions is to become more organized. I have a few cheap organization tips for different areas of your house that I'd like to share.


Use empty clean jars for storing grains, beans, pastas, etc. If you can see it, you'll use it. A small area on the jar can be painted with chalkboard paint, allowing you to write the date when the food will expire. This also works for leftovers in the refrigerator.

Stacked empty rectangular boxes, such as water cracker boxes, make good graduated platforms for displaying spices in your cupboard so that they can all be seen at the same time. The back level should be no more than three boxes high, or it will become wobbly. The next level would be two boxes high, the next one box high, and the final row of spices would be placed on the shelf itself. These platforms can be covered with contact paper to make them more attractive.

Cup hooks screwed into the ceiling of your cabinet provide more space for hanging mugs.

Cardboard box bottoms (or Tupperware with broken lids) make great dividers in your drawers so that the contents are all sorted and easy to find.

An old dish drainer makes a good holder for pan lids inside your cupboard.

Silverware can be sorted in mugs in your cupboard if you are lacking in drawer space.

Plastic shopping bags can be corralled in empty tissue boxes or baby wipe containers. I know we are all trying to use cloth bags, but these still seem to accumulate.

Extension cords can be coiled into empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls to keep them neat.


Shoe boxes make good under-bed storage, just write the contents neatly on the side. If you have a broken-down old dresser, the drawers can be re-purposed as under-bed storage. Attach casters to the bottom so that the drawer can be pulled out easily.

Large Ziploc bags can be vacuum sealed using your vacuum hose to compress bulky comforters, etc. for storage. Those heavy-duty plastic bags that new sheets and blankets come in work great for this purpose.

Jewelry can be neatly sorted in muffin tins or ice cube trays in drawers.

Again, box bottoms make good drawer dividers for socks, gloves and accessories.

Scrap fabric can be used to make drawstring bags to organize small items. These can be hung from hooks in the closet. Old v-neck t-shirts also make great bags to store shoes, purses, etc. in the closet. Just stitch the bottom closed and hang on a hanger. Other t-shirts can be used, but a wider opening must be cut.

Kids' Rooms:

A cubby-type organizer can be made by hot-gluing sturdy boxes together. Paint or cover with contact paper to match the room.

Small toys can be stored in milk jugs with the tops cut off, leaving the handle intact. Make sure the edges aren't sharp.

Baby wipe containers, deli containers, drawstring bags and large Ziploc bags also make great small-toy receptacles. If the container is not clear, include a label with a picture of what is inside eg. doll clothes, balls, dinosaurs, etc.

Office/Craft Room:

Chargers, power-cords, etc. can be stored in large Ziploc bags. Write what they go to on the outside to avoid confusion.

Magazine holders can be made from old cereal boxes, cut down slightly. Cover with scrapbook paper or contact paper to pretty them up.

Small office supplies can be stored in jars or muffin tins in a drawer or on the desktop. The tops of the jars can be covered with paint or pretty paper.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. I'm sure many of you have some tidy tips of your own. Do tell! Hopefully these hints have made it a little simpler and more fun to get your house in order!


Zengirl said...


Great suggestions, I will sure to use many of them. What a neat ideas, I love it.

Anonymous said...

Lots of great ideas! Now where did i put my stash of ambition....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! I also like to keep the boxes that ziplocs come in, and tissue boxes, and use them for drawer organizers. I quick jacket of contact paper and they are cute too!

Betsy Bargain said...

Zengirl, and Anon 1 and 2, glad you can use some of my tips! Thanks for sharing yours, Anon 2!

Together We Save said...

You have the best ideas!! I love to reuse things.

Anonymous said...

can you come to my house and demostrate? I plan to use some of these ideas this weekend, thanks for the start.

Betsy Bargain said...

I'm glad my ideas were so helpful, Anon. Happy organizing!

Money Magnet Mummy said...

They are great ideas for storage, that save money.

ABOFortune said...

I love your creativity! I'll definitely use some of your ideas.

Betsy Bargain said...

ABO Fortune, I'm glad you could find some useful tips in my post. Thanks for reading!