Less Is More: How to Organize on a Budget

We all know that, in the midst of a home organizational crisis, calling some professional organizers to come and do the Mary Poppins act would be ideal; however, for many of us, that option is simply not available to us because we don’t have the extra cash to spend. Let’s face it — it’s way more rewarding to learn to organize your way yourself than it is to have some stranger come into your house and turn it into an unfamiliar place. It’s disorienting! When we come into someone’s house as personal organizers, we make sure to get to know the people who live in the house first, and have them take the Pixie Quiz (of course). Then we get down to business. But if you can’t afford to hire outside help, then buy our book, take some notes, and start small — going room by room, one thing at a time. This way, the idea of ‘home organization’, or a total overhaul doesn’t seem quite as daunting.


There are some ways you can save money in your quest for home organization besides just buying our book (although buying the book is a great start, we won’t lie). We will list them below, and you can feel free to pick and choose which methods and tips will work for you (not everyone wants to store their jewelry in empty ice cube trays, for example).


Home Organization Techniques: Ways to Save

  1. Purging: This is probably the most budget friendly home organization technique of them all, just because it’s the most effective and cheap first step that you can take to clear your home of the clutter that’s been keeping you from getting organized (finally). Some of us personality types will be less than thrilled at the prospect of purging, but we suggest having a friend (a particularly ruthless one) come over to help you. Just think about it: your closet, purged of extraneous clothing you never wear; your entryway, clear of extra jackets, bags and tchotchkes that make it impossible for you to find your keys when you need them; your home office, free of bills from two years ago, with everything clearly labeled and in appropriate inbox bins or hanging on bulletin boards; and your kitchen, where everything has a clearly delineated home. Sound too good to be true? It ISN’T!


Go room by room, and sort your things into three piles: Keep, Donate, Store. Get rid of the ‘Donate’ pile first. Put everything in boxes or trash bags and put them into the trunk of your car. That way, they will be out of the way and ready to be taken to the nearest donation center when the time comes. If you’re stuck and can’t get to one in good time, call 1800-GOT JUNK and they will come pick it up. Next, take the things you plan to store and put them in clear bins labeled ‘Later Box’. Put these in your attic and revisit them in 6 months or a year, at which point you can reassess whether or not you want to keep them. The things you’re keeping? Read our book to find out the best ways YOU can organize those things to best fit your lifestyle and habits.

2. Budget-friendly Tools and Tricks: Here are a few handy ways of recycling objects to use as canisters or containers for things like jewelry or other sundry items.

    1. Ice Cube Trays: We know that some Classics will balk at this idea (OPEN CONTAINERS, Oh My!), but for Smarts and Organics, it could be a wonderful way to work with those visual memories. Simply buy some clean, plastic cube containers and fill them with necklaces, earrings and the like.
    2. Glass Jars: Use old spaghetti sauce jars (fully cleaned and scrubbed of course) as pencil/pen holders for your home office. You can even glue ribbon around them to decorate and give them a bit of pizzazz, if that’s your thing.
    3. Shoe Boxes: Use these as storage boxes (or Later Boxes, as we like to call them) for smaller items.
    4. Matching Bowls of all sizes: Use the smaller ones in the entryway (for keys) and in the bathroom (for toiletry items) and the larger ones in the kitchen (for fruit, etc.).
    5. Matching Hangers: These matching, wooden hangers from Ikea are only $4.99 for a pack of 8. They’re sturdy, and will make your newly trimmed closet look a thousand times better.
    6. Ziplock Bags: Use these for children’s items like crayons and action figures. Store in clear bins according to what is inside each bag.
    7. Magnetic Strip in Bathroom: Simply affix a hefty magnetic strip to the wall of your powder room or inside a cabinet and voila! No more stray tweezers that always threaten to fall to the floor every time you open your medicine cabinet.


The thing is, you don’t need to be wealthy to have a tidy, clutter-free, lovely home. All you need are the tools to keep things in order in a way that works for you. Remember that craft stores are your friend. Remember that just because your house doesn’t look like a magazine doesn’t mean it can’t be charming and wonderful with a little purging and creative storage practices!

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