7 Ways To Declutter Without Spending A Fortune

7 ways to declutter your home without spending a fortune

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

Craft stores and even hardware storages stock dozens of designer duct tapes in different colours and even patterns like chevron and houndstooth.

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.


Related: 18 Ways To Save A Bundle By Repurposing Your Wardrobe

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


Related: Organizing Your Coupon Binder Made Easy

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

Dollarama is an excellent source for storage bins and baskets of all sizes – including clear bins that would cost four times as much if they were sold at The Container Store or IKEA.

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.

Related: Canadian Stores With Free Shipping

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.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Mrs. Picky Pincher's picture

These are such creative ideas; I love it! I've also had a lot of success with using my local FreeCycle group to get rid of stuff or find free things. You can also score free wood pallets (ask before you take them) to make furniture and decent storage boxes.

April 20, 2017 @ 12:26 pm
marpy's picture

Hi - Interesting article. A couple of not so creative ways to declutter that may work are:

1) Hold a garage sale - (actually lets you make a few dollars)
2) Kids that move out will sometimes leave a lot of their stuff behind. Once they are settled in elsewhere, delivering a box of goodies every visit or so can declutter over time. I would definitely recommend a discussion ahead of time rather than a surprise on this one.;-)
3) Loading stuff up and delivering to your favorite chairity works well. Some actually solicit over the phone and will come by and pick it up.


April 20, 2017 @ 1:19 pm
Deb's picture

Unfortunately, a lot of paints, etc. are more expensive than some of the small items you can buy in dollar stores.

April 20, 2017 @ 2:01 pm
Kathryn's picture

These are cute ideas - but as others mention - it is quite *freeing* to actually declutter by elimination. I did a lot last summer and my local Goodwill store loved my weekly visits to drop things off. It is amazing how much *less* we can manage with. I edited quite a bit - and some I have had for quite a while - but I edited *half* my CDs, half my yarn stash (though I did buy more because it was so nice, and I received some as gifts) , half my fabric stash, etc. My books? not so much!

April 21, 2017 @ 12:28 am
Owen @ PlanEasy's picture

These are great ideas. We've got two little girls and the amount of clutter has exploded. My wife and I are always trying to find ways to keep things organized in our tiny house :)

May 02, 2017 @ 8:38 am

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