99 low cost organizing tips (part one)

{Editor’s note: I can’t take any credit for this one, but thought it was worth posting here. I know all of us struggle to get and stay organized. There are so many great tips in this newsletter article, I find myself skimming over it now and again — each time finding a new idea that may work for me. So, I’ve copied it in it’s entirety for you. Well…I’m going to break it into two as to not overwhelm those who may find organizing a bit daunting! Check out next week’s blog for the rest of the tips…in the meantime, hoping you pick up a useful trick or two!}

by: Claire Smith, styleathome.com newsletter (July 29 issue)

Getting and staying organized isn’t easy. If you’re struggling to conquer clutter once and for all, our simple 99 organizing tips should help get you started.

We know, we know: getting organized can be easier vowed than done. But even if you’re short on time (and budget), there are dozens of ways you can get your house in order. Here are 99 of our favourite low-cost organizing tips; many of them are environmentally friendly, too!

1 Use old baby-food jars to hold spices. Stash them in a drawer upside down so this recycling trick looks sleek, not cheap.

2 Store all your instruction manuals in one binder in the kitchen or pantry.

3 Collect your takeout menus in a binder. Or stuff them into a Ziploc bag and stash ’em – where else? – in the fridge or cupboard.

4 Use a cardboard six-pack container to carry condiments from kitchen to deck in BBQ-casual style.

5 Keep a tray or basket on the kitchen counter where kids can drop off permission slips and adults can put mail requiring immediate action. A second tray can handle lower-priority paperwork.

6 Don’t waste time constantly topping up cereal-sized food storage containers with dog or cat kibble. Use a metal trashcan to store one bag at a time in rodent-proof style.

7 Use a recharging station to keep your cell phone, MP3 player and other portable device cords untangled and your gadgets fully charged.

8 Can’t find fresh garlic or onions? Keep them in clean knee-high nylons. Hang in a cool, dry place.

9 Post a sheet of paper on the fridge and note groceries and supplies needing replenishing. On grocery day, just grab the sheet and go.

10 Reduce spoilage of fruits and veggies by “rotating” your crops. Put new ones underneath ones that were already in your crisper.

11 Use small jam jars to hold cotton swabs, balls and other essentials inside your bathroom vanity drawers.

12 Use an old wooden stepladder to hold bath and hand towels.

13 Cut the amount of time you spend going from linen closet to bathroom by installing extra towel storage via a hotel-style double towel bar.

14 And a stash of bath towels rolled inside a basket helps, too.

15 Store kids’ bath toys in a fine-laundry bag. Hang from the faucet ’til fully drained.

16 Use a shower organizer and just the basics: mild shampoo, conditioner and a body wash.

17 Stash extra shower products in plastic caddies – one per family member.

18 Keep cleaning products in a caddy, too.

19 Post a sheet of paper in the bathroom and note bathroom supplies that need replenishing. On grocery day, just grab the sheet and go.

20 Assign teens and tweens their “own” towel sets by colour. Sorting laundry becomes super-easy and sharing-aversive kids are content.

21 For the living room or family room, get an ottoman or bench with hidden storage under the seat.

22 Large woven or wooden baskets stash clutter effectively, so stock up.

23 Got kids? Get large tubs that can be used to deploy toys – and quickly move them out of living spaces when company’s coming.

24 Don’t hold on to magazines. Just rip out any pages you want to keep for future reference, keep in a file folder, then recycle the rest.
25 Toss dirty socks into mesh fine-laundry bags. Orphaned socks will be a thing of the past.
26 Dollar store plastic caddies are perfect for grouping cleaning products upright in cabinets – no tipping!

27 Recycle old plastic shopping bags. Store them in an empty Kleenex box ‘til you need them.

28 Store batteries in plastic berry baskets until you’re ready to drop them off at the recycling centre.

29 Ditto for compact fluorescent bulbs and orchard fruit baskets.

30 Big, busy family? Paint one entire wall in your mudroom in chalkboard paint so everyone can easily leave messages for one another.

31 Keep one basket per person in your mudroom or front entrance, so everyone knows where to drop off/find their personal on-the-go essentials like keys, bags, homework etc.

32 Designate a back-to-car zone by your entranceway, and put anything there that requires returning to the trunk – i.e. reusable grocery bags, empties – so the next person to use the car will remember to bring them.

33 Remove the front and back from a picture frame and string rows of wire across the centre. Hang it or lean it against the wall and hook earrings onto each wire.

34 Use an old dressmaker’s dolly to hang necklaces and hook earrings into.

35 Shopaholics can put those pretty boutique bags to use by hanging them on the wall or arranging them on a shelf, where they can store scarves and belts.

36 Do a card run – birthdays, holidays, new baby etc. – once a year and store cards in a file tote.

37 Use ice cube trays to hold clips, erasers and other desk-drawer essentials.

38 Use an old wooden stepladder to hold books.

39 Use white address label stickers to label what each cord in a power bar is for.
40 Paint an oversized canvas in one bold colour and hang it from the wall. Pin a rotating collection of your kids’ artwork on it.

41 Post a sheet of paper on your bulletin board and note office supplies that need replenishing.

42 Use a canvas over-the-door shoe organizer to organize small kids toys and art supplies.

43 Those ubiquitous Danish butter cookie tins can be both an art project and art storage unit for kids. First let your child decoupage it. Then use it to hold crayons and pastels.

44 Post those novelty basketball rings above anything you want your kids to slam dunk stuff into rather than the floor: garbage cans, laundry baskets, etc.

45 For preschoolers too young to use hangers with ease, install a low bar in the closet and simply drape dresses and pants across it to keep them wrinkle-free and easily accessible.

46 Have your child plan their wardrobe one school week at a time. Store outfits within five stacking cubbies or on five combination hangers (hangers with a bar and clips to hold pants as well as a top) to streamline their morning routine.

47 Keep sheet sets organized by folding and storing the fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcase inside the second pillowcase.

48 If you don’t want to buy stacking shoeboxes, recycle the cardboard boxes your shoes came in by cutting out a panel at one end for visibility and ventilation.

49 Install a closet organization system: it’ll pay itself off with time and aggravation saved!

50 A well-lit wardrobe is easier to keep organized. Install a Solatube, skylight or adequate artificial light for your needs.

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