Organize on the cheap

Instead of buying boxes and bins, use what you have around the house.

  1. Jars-use for buttons, jewelry, paper clips and other office supplies.  Paint the lids with enamel to make them look more uniform.
  2. Ziplock bags-use for markers, crayons, brochures and manuals, doll clothes, action figures & other children's items.  Dress them up with decorative labels to help them look less utilitarian.
  3. Shoe boxes-use for bills, photos, cosmetics, recipes, tools & sewing supplies.  Cover with paper or fabric in a pattern that relates to your room decor.
  4. Plastic food-storage containers-use for children's toys (bins are durable and kid-proof).  Let the kids personalize them with stickers.
  5. Inexpensive laundry or tote bags-use for out-of-season clothing, stuffed animals, bedding and blankets.  If you find a design you like at a good price, buy half a dozen or so to keep the look coordinated.
  6. Baskets and buckets-use for anything you frequently carry from one room to another.  Install hooks and hang these containers along a wall.
Source: All You magazine

When Janet and I go into a home to organize or unpack, we use ziploc bags and plastic food-storage containers a lot because they are readily available. Sometimes they are ideal sometimes they are a temporary solution.   Recently we helped a family relocate to a new home.  I discovered a large ziploc bag full of opened batteries.  I grabbed two more ziploc bags and organized the batteries into AAA, AA, and other batteries. The last thing this family needs is to spend time searching for a AAA battery among 9-volts and Cs.   I keep cords, such as my mp3 player usb cable, in a snack bag which has a label on it.  The only problem is my husband likes to steal it because he always knows where it is. 

A basket can be used for almost anything.  My husband makes fun of me for using so many but my friends think I'm a genius for all the ways I use them.

I have reused small boxes before.  Sandwich crackers at Sam's come in a pretty sturdy topless box.  I use some of them in my pantry.  I spray painted them a glossy black so they were easy on the eye.

Clear plastic containers are still my organizing tool of choice but sometimes you just can't run to the store.

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