How to Organize Just About Anything For Free

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Getting organized is often thought of as an expensive activity. After all, you have to buy boxes, baskets, bins, labels, organizers, right? Life as MOM contributor Prerna dispels the myth that organizing has to be expensive.

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Organizing is possible and easy without spending a penny. That’s right. You can organize just about any room or anything without taking out your wallet or heading to the stores.

Here’s how:

1. Use What You Have.

When you start to organize a drawer or a room, take a good, hard look at everything that needs to be contained and see how you can work with what you have. For instance, all those pens on the desk. Do you really need a pen holder? Can a spare glass jar from the kitchen be a substitute instead? What about those small hairclips? Do you have to buy a drawer
organizer for them? How about using those extra muffin trays instead?

Yes, look at what needs to be organized and use what you have. Some things that nearly all of us have plenty of and that can be used for organizing include:

  • Glass jars
  • Shoeboxes
  • Egg cartons
  • Muffin tins or trays
  • Trays
  • Ice cube trays
  • Cloth or paper bags
  • Canned food tins

2. Reduce What You Own

Next instead of heading to the store to buy more stuff to organize your existing stuff, how about you look at cutting down on ‘stuff’ instead? Evaluate each buying decision carefully to see whether you really need it or simply, want it.

Have a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule to keep closets, bookshelves and toy boxes from overflowing.

Have a monthly purge where you can give away or donate items that are not needed, outgrown, broken.

3. Cut Paper Clutter

Reducing paper clutter is a simple but effective way to clear up space, mentally and physically, for things that do need to be stored and organized.

Be ruthless with junk mail and trash it as soon as it reaches your hands.

Set up a digital filing system to keep documents secure without the hassle of paper management.

Go digital wherever you can – books, mail, magazines. For my home management binder, for example, I use Jessica’s Organizing Life as Mom because it gives me fillable fields, reducing my need to print out every single page.

4. Give Everything a Home

Finally, sometimes, all it needs is giving things a home, a place of their own. Whether it is a basket corralling keys and cellphones on a table in the foyer or a box for toys or hooks for backpacks and coats, giving things a home and most importantly, keeping them there, makes organizing an easy, economical job.

Do you think organizing is an expensive affair?


— Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Check out her free eBooks on organizing and productivity to get literally, hundreds of ideas on how to get organized on a shoestring budget, right now.

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  1. I’ve never organized expensively, but I’ll admit that the official organizing products often catch my eye at stores – haven’t succumbed yet, haha.
    I like tip 3 best – need to work on that. With very little storage space, I’ve needed to work extra hard to make sure everything has a home.

  2. Great ideas! I’ve learned how to look through the house for a spare basket or tub when I need something organized. The next item on my “want to buy” list is good quality scanner, so that my husband and I can put all of our documents into Evernote, which is my favorite program for remembering everything!

  3. There’s nothing more annoying than feeling the need to buy more to organize your place – which stalls the process of cleaning out and organizing on top of filling it up with even *more* stuff! I’m in the process of giving my things a home this week. Thanks for the tips.

  4. I bought a LARGE used (YAY!) bookcase off craigslist (6×6) to store things in small extra bedroom we use as office/guest room.

    There were a lot of small, loose items, so I hit the dollar store and got some plastic/rubber basket type bins with handles, in various colors.. You can have a color per child, or maybe put legos in one, craft items in another etc.

    This makes it easy to locate and tranport to another area in the house, for a very small investment of $1/each bin. I have my handy Brother P-touch labeler if I want to label, or you can download picture of what is in them, and stick to the side of bin (my preference is using small velcro dots on bin and card, and then if you change out what is in the bin as the children age and interests change).

    For daughter’s room, I bought some of the same type bins, but they were on seasonal clearance at Publix, advertised as drink bins for summer parties. Again, I was able to buy multiple colors to match the colors of her room decor. One bin for doll clothes, so girls don’t destroy entire room looking for 1 outfit.