Organization storages bank on the fact that we’re attracted to those clear lucite boxes, monogramed fabric bins, or classic wooden divided trays…
They’re crisp and beautiful, with the promise that we can buy our way to a more streamlined, organize life.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t far cheaper options available elsewhere – including in your own home right now.
Here are some of my favourite ways to get organized without a costly trip to the store for sets of matching bins and baskets.
Make your own
With a little creativity and a few basic craft supplies, you’d be surprised what can be turned into an attractive, low-cost storage solution.
1. Duct tape storage boxes
Take a sturdy cardboard box and wrap it carefully with long strips of the tape, and fold the top piece neatly around the rim to prevent the cardboard from fraying. You’ve got a stylish storage bin that can be customized to match any decor.
2. Recovered recyclables
Duct tape isn’t the only way to create an attractive storage container from something that’s headed for the recycling bin…
You can use inexpensive remnants of fabric (or scrapbook paper) to transform tin cans, glass jars, boxes, or plastic tubs into functional and fabulous pieces.
Mod Podge – a popular crafting glue and sealant – is an easy way to get your fabric or paper to adhere to just about anything. To mod-podge fabric onto tin cans, for example:
- Spread your tin can with a generous layer of Mod Podge
- Wrap it with the fabric (or paper)
- Press firmly – using your hands to smooth out any bubbles
- Apply another layer of Mod Podge, when your container is covered, to act as a protective top coat
3. Create a grouping
Often it’s the sectioned storage solutions – with a perfectly-shaped compartment for everything – that we find the most tempting. After all, nothing says organization like having your belongings divided into categories with everything in its place.
Here’s an idea:
- Round up a group of tin cans or glass bottles from the recycling bin
- Use a heavy-duty adhesive (like Liquid Nails) to secure them to each other – or to a piece of scrap wood
- Spray-paint the whole thing for a DIY desk organizer
Use what you have
Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo – famous for her “KonMari” method of tidying up – admits she grew up buying tons of fancy storage solutions in an attempt to get organized.
She was obsessed with the idea that once she had the perfect bins, baskets and sorting trays, her belongings would be magically organized forever.
As Kondo learned, it’s easy to shell out for systems that promise to organize your life – and they’re never the cure-all they promise to be. Today, she firmly believes that people almost never need to purchase storage solutions because they likely already have what they need.
4. Get creative
If you have a daughter with a million hair clips and headbands cluttering up the bathroom, the solution might be as simply – and thrifty – as a roll of paper towels and an old picture frame.
By hot-gluing pieces of ribbon across the back of an old picture frame, you can store dozens of hair clips on the wall where they’re easy to see.
The roll of paper towels comes in handy for the headbands, since they fit perfectly around the roll:
- Wrap a full roll of paper towels with a small piece of fabric or felt
- Tucking the ends inside the roll
- String the whole thing on a ribbon to hang it up
5. Look at things differently
If someone gifts you with a watch, wallet or fancy stationery set, chances are it’s in a beautiful, high-quality box. Maybe that box is the perfect place to store the bracelets that won’t fit into your jewellery box, or the USB drives that usually clutter up your desk.
Buy the bargains
Once you’ve purged your belongings and you’re ready to put everything away, you might decide you really do need to pick up a few containers.
6. Spend a dollar
Use a $1 plastic cutlery tray to organize the toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste in that bathroom drawer that’s always a mess. Buy a set of $1 laundry baskets or dish pans so each family member has their own, which makes it much easier to sort clean laundry. Don’t forget five or six $1 bins to separate groceries in the fridge.
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7. Scope the sales
Most big-box stores run sales on storage containers in January – when everyone’s keen to start the new year off right – as well as in August when university students are packing up for their dorms.
Clear plastic shoe boxes are perfect for storing everything from doll clothes and art supplies to cookie cutters, spice packets and receipts. They also stack easily and can be reused for years to come.
How Do You Get Organized?
Any favourite DIY project you’ve done to get organized? Share your ideas below.