In recent years, the organization fad has really taken off, with stores popping up all over selling $25 plastic boxes for you to “contain” the things you own. Have you ever stepped foot into one of these stores? 100,000 square feet of plastic boxes, bins, buckets, drawers, bags, and anything else you could imagine, designed to hold stuff. Who ever would have thought such a store would ever exist?
The reason I mention the stores above is that getting organized has become a very expensive endeavor. The “experts” want you to spend a ton of money on this equipment that they have decided that you need to buy in order to be properly organized, but I say nonsense. In fact, I would say that getting yourself organized can be incredibly inexpensive, with the benefits in the end far outweighing the minor expense you have to lay out at the start. So how can you get organized without spending a fortune on plastic containers?
Every pair of shoes you buy usually comes with a free box! Instead of tossing that shoe box in the recycling bin, use it to organize pictures, your junk drawer, postcards, notecards, your office supplies…the uses are almost endless. We save each shoe box that comes into our house, even if we don’t need it at that moment. The closet in my office has a bookcase in it, and right now there are 4 shoe boxes holding all sorts of supplies.
Go shopping at your local $.99 cent store. Every time I have ever been in a dollar store, there have been shelves and more shelves full of different size storage containers for under a buck. There really is no need to buy $25 boxes at specialty stores when you can get them for a dollar.
Check out your local wine shop. The boxes that wine is shipped in are incredibly sturdy and usually end up out back in the recycling bin. Just walk in and ask if you can have a few boxes, I am sure they would be more than happy to let you have some for free!
Instead of keeping every issue of your favorite magazine, try taking out the pages that you want and recycling the rest of the issue. Magazines kept for years not only take up a ton of space, but they also become rather outdated pretty quickly. If you need a recipe from one issue, cut the recipe out and put it in a binder. Then you can toss the rest of the magazine and not have to store it!
Spaghetti sauce jars make great storage containers. I never throw one out; I use them as planters, nail and screw holders, hard candy storage, rubber band and paperclip dispensers, etc. Why throw away a “free” container? Plus, it keeps one more item out of the recycling bin.
If you must have designer storage boxes, check out IKEA. Their boxes and containers look good and are much cheaper than those big box container stores.
Purge, purge and then purge again. This could be the number one tip for getting organized, and it does not cost a dime to do! Most of the things that we keep in storage are useless items that we think we will use one day. Being a sort of OCD patient, this applies to even me, as sometimes I keep things longer than I really should. Getting rid of stuff not only clears out space in your house, but saves you money in storage or organization supplies.
So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to get organized around the house without spending a fortune. Unfortunately, the storage industry has somehow convinced us that we have to have matching boxes, colorful bags, and “natural” material baskets. I cannot remember the last time I paid money for something that helped me get organized, other than possibly my digital organization using USB Thumb Drives and external hard drives. Truthfully, I am kind of OCD so organization is definitely something I spend a lot of time doing; but that doesn’t mean I need to spend money on containers when there are plenty of free or low cost options available. What kinds of things do you use to get organized that don’t cost a lot? Let us know us all know in the comments section!