Get Organized Now
(featured column)

Getting Organized on a Budget
by Maria Gracia

Getting organized does not have to be an expensive task. You may think that you have to go out and purchase all sorts of organizing baskets, bins, holders and cabinets. In other words, you may think you have to spend lots of money to lead an organized life.  More...

But, the truth is, organizing is a PROCESS, not a PRODUCT. It takes skill, application and motivation. And yes, tools certainly help--but there are many frugal ways of getting and staying organized, without breaking the bank.

  1. DE-CLUTTER. Chances are, you have available storage space in your closets and cabinets. But, perhaps they're currently filled with clutter.

    Empty them out this weekend, and dump or donate things you don't need and no longer want.

    It's the least expensive way to gain lots of storage space.

    In fact, you may even consider holding a yard sale or selling your stuff online, and actually making some money!

  2. MANAGE YOUR MAGAZINES. First of all, it is very important that you assess your current magazine situation. Most magazines older than a month, can generally be recycled.

    If you want to keep a recipe or article that appeared in a certain issue, tear out the page and keep only the article; not the entire magazine.

    Next step is to pick up a magazine holder. If you're on a budget, most office supply stores carry very inexpensive cardboard ones, or make your own out of cereal boxes!

    Once the box is full, don't allow yourself to put another magazine into it until you toss one out.

  3. USE CREATIVE STORAGE IDEAS. Need to organize smaller items, such as earrings, or extra buttons, or push pins? Ice cube trays or muffin tins are perfect for keeping everything sorted.

    Place some in your drawers, and these smaller items will always be handy.

    The cost? Cheap! And readily available at most supermarkets and home stores.

  4. ORGANIZE WITH INEXPENSIVE BOXES. While I generally suggest sturdy, plastic, see-through containers for storage, for the budget conscious, that may not be an option.

    If this is your situation, you can certainly use good old cardboard boxes. Just make sure you clearly label the contents in each.

  5. USE SMALL SHALLOW BOXES AS DIVIDERS. If you have a long, shallow desk drawer, chances are it's filled with an assortment of paper clips, pens, tacks, loose change, etc.

    My first suggestion is to pick up a desk organizing tray. But, if you'd rather save some money, there is a very frugal solution.

    Gather small shallow boxes--the type that jewelry or bank checks often come in. Most people have these floating around the house.

    Empty out the desk drawer and line up these boxes inside, arranging them so that there are no open spaces. Voila! You now have the perfect sorting system for all of those loose desk items.

    By the way, before you put anything back into that drawer, toss out anything you no longer need, or can no longer identify!

  6. HOOK IT. Often, wall space is forgotten about. But you can free up so much space in your cabinets, on your dresser, in your garage, and so on, if you always think about how you can use your walls.

    The solution is to use hooks--very inexpensive and available at all hardware stores.

    Hang your pots, pans and teacups. Hang photo frames. Hang bikes. You get the picture.

  7. BABY FOOD JARS CAN COME IN HANDY. Clean out those jars, remove the labels, and you have the perfect storage containers for nails, screws, nuts, bolts, buttons, loose change, paper clips, elastic bands, and so much more!

    And the best thing is, they're see through, which means you can easily identify everything inside at a glance!

  8. USE EMPTY FILM CANISTERS TO ORGANIZE. Empty film canisters are perfect for storing pins, buttons, tacks and other small items.

    Sort your things into these small organizing wonders, press on the top and stick a blank label around the outside.

    Then, label each canister to identify the contents. Finally, store these canisters in a box to keep them all together.

 

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Copyright 2003 by Maria Gracia.  All rights reserved.

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Related Articles:

5 Tips for Finding the Energy To Declutter

Getting Started: Identify Your Tasks

Resources:

Finally Organized, Finally Free! by Maria Gracia