Organizing Without Breaking the Bank

Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by rosscrawford1Getting organized doesn’t mean having to go out and buy a fancy organization system, or bunches of containers and a labeler. You can organize quickly and efficiently by using things you probably already have around your home, or with some inexpensive items found at dollar stores.

Look around at what you have around the house. Chances are you already have boxes, baskets and other containers. You might have organization tools that you can re-purpose as well. Here are some ideas:

Organizing with What You Have


Every person I know has baskets around the house, mostly empty. Put these to use corralling like items together. Don’t reject a basket because it is “too big” or “too small”. Small baskets can hold hair accessories or cosmetics. Big baskets can hold sports equipment or shoes.

Shoe Boxes

Shoe boxes are great storage containers. They are regularly shaped, and stack well. The only problem is they are not pretty. Use a bit of sticky shelf paper to brighten these up.

Shoe boxes can be used closed, or open to allow items to slide in and out quickly.

For quick identification, paste labels on the outside of the boxes so you know what is in them.

Cereal Boxes

Cereal boxes can quickly be transformed into containers for papers and magazines. Cereal boxes can hold larger sheets of paper (like construction paper). Instructions for making them into magazine holders can be found at Recycled Magazine Holders – Cereal Box Magazine Organizer. Cereal boxes can be covered with shelf paper to brighten and strengthen them.

Plastic Containers

Most people who have attempted organization have plastic bins sitting around. Go through your existing bins and see if you can free a few up. Label the contents!

Baby Containers

If you know someone with a baby, ask for containers. Wipe containers make great holders for small items like nail polishes. Baby food jars can be re-purposed for holding bits of hardware.

Plastic Jars

If you buy items in bulk, you can re-purpose the jars to hold items. My daughter uses coffee “jugs” to hold play figurines, and an animal cracker jar is filled with Lego blocks.

Plastic Lids

Lids are good for holding small items. We have them underneath our plants, and also by the sinks to keep rings from rolling away.

Linen Bags

The zippered plastic bags blankets and other bedding come in are great for keeping things together and clean. We use them to store out-of-season clothing as well as gift bags.


Altoids tins can be used to organize small items neatly. Cookie tins can hold items that need to be kept dry.

Organizing With Inexpensive Items

A trip to the dollar store can yield all sorts of organization tools. Here are some of my favorites:

Shoe Bags

Over the door shoe bags are great for holding toiletries in the bathroom, small toys in a child’s room, craft items, and cooking tools.


Dishpans are really great for holding paper and magazines. I use them to hold sheet music because they can handle bigger paper.

Pencil Boxes

Pencil boxes can be used to store many different things, from writing implements to stickers to stamps. They are small, stackable and washable.

Plant Pots

Plant pots can be used to hold items that need to drain. Toothbrushes are one application, and another is to hold washing up implements by the kitchen sink.


Turntables are a great way to make the most of odd corners of space. Placing cups on turn tables make it easy to find your favorite mug. Putting spices and canned goods on them allow more to be accessed in a pantry.

By being creative, you will find many organizational tools at home and at inexpensive stores.

Photo by rosscrawford1