Quoted on the Sparefoot Blog!
Tidy and Thrifty: How to Get Organized on the Cheap
BY CYNTHIA J. DRAKE JUNE 5, 2015
That brimming closet. The junk-filled garage that no longer accommodates your car. The basement where you’ve got to clear a path to get to your holiday decorations.
Who couldn’t use a little organization, right? But when you’re on a budget, fancy tools for organization and storage might not be wallet-friendly.
Don’t sweat it. We challenged organizing experts to come up with some creative solutions that you can carry out right away—and that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Stress-free sorting tips
“Sort everything—and I mean everything—into piles: definitely keep; move to another location for a definite purpose; give away/sell (and then do it), repair/clean/alter (and then do it, or else it goes in the next pile); and recycle/throw away.” — Kirsten B. Feldman, author
“Set a timer for 20 minutes. Tackle one section of the space you’re trying to organize. When the timer goes off, you’re done for the day. Yay! Once a day, repeat the process. After a few sessions, you’ll be organized. Plus, doing your organizing in small chunks makes it easier to find a place for those wayward items, instead of ending up with a large pile that begs for a trip to The Container Store.” — Dani Perea, growth and engagement manager, BrightNest
“Use painter’s tape to mark out sections on a floor or tarp for sorting categories. You can also use it to label boxes and tape the protective cushioning you may put on a fragile item. If you invest in a couple of different colors or widths, it can be used for an informal coding system for your items.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Organizer2Harmonize
“Group like items together—for example, photos in white frames or sea shells you’ve brought home from the beach—so they have impact and avoid looking like clutter.” — Kirsten B. Feldman
“Get a friend or neighbor to help you if you can’t afford a pro to help you.” — Denise Baron, home and lifestyle expert
Turning clutter into cash
“The first and most profitable way to declutter is always to sell something. Almost every area in the country now has Craigslist, but you can get better prices if you have a local ‘yard sale’ website or Facebook group. Bookoo.com is the largest site behind Craigslist for this type of listing.” — Paul Moyer, owner, SavingFreak.com
“Monetize the process as much as possible by donating for a tax credit or somehow selling what you can. It’s not likely that you’ll get back as much as you spent on the items, but you will get back more than just sending the items to the landfill.” — Lauren Williams
Cheap or free storage solutions
“Before you buy expensive organizers and containers, shop your home first. Think outside the box and use what you have to organize. For example, an ice tray or an egg carton can be used to organize jewelry inside a drawer.” — Dianne de Las Casas, Once Upon A Storage
“Reuse old baking pans in the garage to hold tools or repair items. For example, use an old baking pan to hold the chalking and grout tubes on the paint shelf in the garage. A loaf pan is the perfect size for rolls of tape. Repurpose an old CD cabinet into toilet paper storage inside the bathroom.” — Karen Lankford
“Small to medium-size baby-wipe containers make great holders of many things. I have them lined up in the junk drawer to catch extra pens and mini note pads, rubber bands and batteries. They are great in the craft room and garage, too.” — Angelica Holiday, owner, Organize Rescue
“Over-the-door shoe racks or other types of clear organizers can hold household cleaners, tools, jewelry, makeup and many other items. Don’t be afraid to get creative and repurpose what you already have!” — Alison Kero, owner, ACK! Organizing
“Use recycled clear containers to store your dried ingredients in for your pantry. Make certain to label them with the name of the contents and the use by date.” — Angelica Holiday
“Hooks are useful for hanging purses, keys, towels, pots and pans and many other household items so they’re easy to see and reach.” — Alison Kero
“Use command hooks on the sidewalls of the cabinet under your bathroom sink to hold less-often-used beauty tools. A single nail and a potato chip clip mounted to the wall can hold reusable plastic storage bags.” — Karen Lankford
“Visit your local dollar store and look at all of the organizing options. They carry foldable cubes, plastic storage bins, over-the-door shoe bag hangers, inside-drawer organizers, chalkboard labels, office supplies and so many more items that can be used to organize a chaotic space.” — Dianne de Las Casas
“Shoeboxes make wonderful socks, underwear and pantyhose organizers to use in your drawers.” — Alison Kero
Maintaining your clutter-free house
“Don’t purchase in bulk unless you have a large family to buy for. Those 20 jars of tomato sauce that you got at a bargain are no longer a bargain when you have to throw them out after they’ve expired and you forgot you had them. The only products that we purchase in bulk in my home are toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.” — Eileen Bergman, professional organizer
“The ‘just in case’ rule—if you say it’s ‘just in case’ and it’s been two years since you used it or wore it—then it has to go.” — Denise Baron
“Use free apps to help reduce clutter. Get rid of paper clutter by scanning your documents and uploading them to Evernote. Use BrightNest to get cleaning and organization tips on your phone. And download Closet for iPhone for organizing your clothes.” — Dani Perea