Thursday, November 4, 2010

15 You Asked: Budget Organization

Being able to do anything for free or next to nothing these days seems like an accomplishment.  But when you can do something for free that can change your days, ways of living, and create less stress and chaos in your life, well, that's an incredible feat!

I definitely splurge time to time when it comes to organizing {one of my favorite passions is organizing, how can I not invest a little!!}, or doing what I can to create a safer, more enjoyable lifestyle for my family.  However, there are often times when I have a ton of organizing ambition and have to get thinking creatively on how to do it on a super tight budget....

So, I thought I would throw together some quick ideas for budget organizing, including just knowing where to begin.  Because who doesn't love to make some impactful changes without dishing out a ton of moola to do so?!

1. Assess your situation.  What room is your biggest trouble spot? What are you avoiding and why? What areas are most crucial to your daily routine, and that ultimately slowing you down? The whole point to getting organized is to spend more time doing the things you love, and being with who you love. It's also a lot less stressful on the mind to have order, vs. rummaging and searching for things. Keep the "whys" in mind when choosing where to begin.

2. Sort.
  Once you have decided where to start, it's time to clean out that zone. Whether you are doing a drawer or a closet or a whole room, the process is the same. Just snag three bins, boxes or even old blankets to create your sorting zones. One for Trash, one for Donate/Sell and one to Keep. When deciding, think, is this benefiting us? Have we used it within the last couple of months? Will we really miss it if it's gone? You also have to consider what it might cost to replace the item in the future, or determine that an item just needs to be located to another more practical area of the home. If you absolutely can't decide, keep a box of "can't decide" items and tuck it away. If you end up going back for that item to use, it was a good thing you kept it. After a month or two if you haven't revisited the box for the item, it's time to say goodbye. Also, knowing what to donate/throw is all about current condition. Anything completely damaged or useless should be tossed. Anything in decent working condition can be donated. Also look at your inventory and see if there is anything that you could potential profit off of by selling it on Craigslist or eBay or in a garage sale {but only if you have the time to do it}.

3. Take inventory.  Time to look at your "keep" pile and decide what is staying and where it makes most sense for it to be located, to ensure you are streamlining your day and that space. This is also the best time to assess your storage needs.

4. Shop your home!  This is my FAVORITE part!!  Take a stroll through your house and search for unused storage containers and bins. When doing this, it's really crucial to "think outside the box". Do you have things that could double as storage?  For example, use a vase for rolling hand towels or stashing kitchen utensils.


Or utilize baby food jars for spice storage or small scrapbook crafts and ice cube trays are great for corralling earing and other small jewelry.

Paper towel holders can corral ribbon or hair accessories. The sky is the limit. And you can also revisit that donate pile to see if you have anything that can be repurposed. And don't forget the power of paint! A fresh coat of spray paint can make anything old come back to life!

5. DIY.  If you are unable to locate any storage within your home, it may be time to get creative. Whipping up storage boxes out of wood scraps:

Using soup cans to hold office accessories

or tools.

Or repurposing a Kleenex box for spice or seed packets.

To hold remotes.

Or even spice packets.

These are all things that I have been able to do for free to create additional storage!

6. Label.  Whip up some labels on your computer to print out.

Use address labels inside your books, CD's and DVD’s. Cut out the pictures on boxes, or print pictures from the internet, to place on toy bins for the kiddos.


If you love to scrapbook, create some labels with your pretty supplies.

Utilize your PC skills to create checklists and spreadsheets that can keep your clan in order, whether for grocery shopping, cleaning or just a daily to do list!

The sky is really the limit, and again, can be done with things you have around the home already!

7. Maintain.  Last but definitely the most important thing to do is to be disciplined about your new organized space, and maintain it. If it's not easy to maintain, it may need to be revisited and you may have to go back to the assess stage again. It's ok to head back to step one. I have reorganized a coat closet about 3 times in the last year, because of changing needs and streamlining things further. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. The most important thing is that your newly organized space is working well with your daily routine, and not hindering it! Oh, and watch for creating piles. Piles can mount faster than kids find that stash of chocolate! {and you know how they can locate that stuff in about .2 seconds!} 

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are so many more things that you can do, and if you are having a brain block, just dig through the blog world for ideas and inspiration, the possibilities are truly endless! 

I know I am not the only one out there organizing on a budget!  You all spoil me with your stories and eye sugar daily, so I am calling to you to leave more budget friendly organizing ideas and comments today for myself and the readers, because budget organizing is the new black, in case you didn't know, and I am declaring it that way, because for some reason I think I can!


  1. Love these tips! We just moved into a new home and are trying to get everything unpacked and organized, and there won't be much money for expensive solutions until we sell our old home. I'll definitely be putting these to use!

  2. I just decided to use some of my toy packaging as drawer organizers.

    Thanks for all the tips. I have been going crazy organizing lately and have piles of stuff to get rid of! You have inspired me!

  3. I love that you broke this process down for us into steps. I get so overwhelmed. Doing it this way allows me to take my time and stay on course! Thanks!!!

  4. An ice tray for jewelry???? I am SO stealing that! Thanks so much! :)

  5. This might be my favorite post yet =)

    I love the yellow bath organizer and the rolled up dish towels in a vase -- The second I finish typing this i'm rushing off to find something to put my towels in =)

    mucho inspirational! thanks!

    Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons

  6. Great tips Jen! My next big project will be our office and it's a whoper and will probably take me a while to get it done right. So much paper! I plan to file away items, and scan and save other items to my computer that don't need to be originals. Speaking of bathrooms, I keep washclothes in a small basket on my counter for easy access and in the kitchen, I rolled my hand towels in the draw which makes it so easy and actually created more space.

    Take care,


  7. I HATE looking at our dog crate in our kitchen (the only good spot for it). So, I got a new desk from Ikea and made a curtain for it... no more yucky dog crate!

  8. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I truly believe that you could have a career as an organizer. Going into people's homes and help them get ORGANIZED!!!!!!!!!!!! I love all of your ideas. It is in the EXECUTION that I fall a little short:):) XO, Pinky

  9. What a great use for ice cube trays. I would have never thunk it :)

  10. I am heading over to my kitchen in search of an ice cube tray now!

  11. I'm following you on google and would love to have a chance of winning that binder!

  12. I use double sided, clear fishing lure boxes to store my earrings in. Very similar to bead storage boxes, but cheaper!

  13. What a wonderful article! So many great ideas! Just came across your blog via Pinterest - I'm always on the go and making my life more organized makes me feel much better because I won't be late to that meeting if I can find that darn folder! :)

  14. Thanks so much for the help.. your a genius.. I've been trying to get organized but i didn't know where to start so I've been jumping from room to room and not getting anywhere!!!


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