Getting organized seems to be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it can be challenging to find the time, money, and motivation to do so, particularly when you’re busy. Not to mention that every organizer influencer is telling you that you have to buy a new range of branded organizational products in order to get organized.
While some people may find having new organizational tools and containers helpful, we have good news for you—they are not actually necessary. You can easily organize your home on a budget using items you already have or, at the very least, items that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Let’s get sorting.
1. Organize using stuff you already have
The cheapest way to organize your home is to make use of organizational items already in your possession. It costs you absolutely nothing and saves you time—no trips to the store, no waiting for packages to arrive, and no having to make or put something together. Get out all of those bins, containers, bags, and boxes and figure out a better way to utilize them.
Looking for more tips on how to utilize your existing belongings? Check out our complete blog post on How To Organize Your Home Using Stuff You Already Have.
2. Repurpose product packaging
If you don’t have any pre-purchased organizing stuff, good news—cardboard sheets and boxes, tins, aluminum cans, glass jars, and plastic containers all make very effective sorting tools, so don’t waste that product packaging! Not only are they a cheap way to organize your home, it is also a great way to divert waste from the landfill, so you can feel good while doing it.
We should note that some of these items work better than others. For example, harder materials are more durable and better at containing items. The sturdier material means your belongings are less likely to spill out and they also tend to look better. Use these packages to do things like store, organize, or sort:
- Dry goods
- Spices and herbs
- Tea and coffee
- Kitchen utensils
- Small clothing items, such as socks and underwear
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Drawers and cupboards
- Craft supplies
- Office supplies
- Pet toys, accessories, and supplies
For ideas on how to reuse items like shoeboxes and maybe even make them look good, check out these ideas from No Pressure Life and AllRecipes.
3. Use inexpensive items creatively
It can be tempting to get the latest brand name color-matching options available. They look great and they create a cohesive look that can tie your home together. Just remember, you don’t have to buy special organizing materials to get organized, and there is nothing more frustrating than spending a bunch of money on an organizational system only to find out it does not work for you.
Instead, head over to your local dollar store or hit up neighborhood garage sales to pick up a few items that won’t break the bank. They may not look as fancy and may not match, but they are just as effective. Plus, there is inherently less risk if you find it is not a good fit for your organizational needs—just toss it out or pass it along to a friend and try something new. If you find they work for you, you can always upgrade to a sleeker option when your budget allows. Or, to DIY a look that matches your decor, you can spruce up dollar store or yard sale finds with spray paint, wrapping paper, or contact paper.
6 Tips for Staying Organized
1. Declutter your belongings
The number one tip for getting and staying organized is to declutter your belongings. Unfortunately, many decluttered belongings end up taking up space in a landfill, so make sure you mindfully get rid of your decluttered items by selling, donating, recycling, and disposing of them properly.
Not sure what that involves? Check out What To Do with Your Decluttering Pile.
2. Choose the right organizational method
Whether you opt for a famous technique like the Home Edit or KonMari method or decide to devise one yourself, you should choose an organizational method that actually suits your needs and your home. An organizational system that you and your family (or the people that you live with) won’t use isn’t helpful to anyone.
- How To Organize a Cluttered House: Easy Solutions to 6 Common Home Organization Problems
- How To Stay Organized After Decluttering Your Home
3. Tackle rooms one by one
It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to take on the entire house at once, so organizing your things one room at a time can help simplify the process and really clarify to you where things need to be. Need some help? Get inspired with our guides:
- How To Organize Your Bedroom and Keep It Clean
- How To Organize An Attic: Practical Storage & Organization Ideas
- 6 Sparkling Laundry Room Organization Ideas
- Playroom Organization That Works—For You & Your Kids
- How to Organize your Basement: Practical Tips and Storage Ideas
- How to Organize Your Bathroom: Tips for Toiletries & More
- Closet Storage Ideas: How To Organize Your Closet
- How to Organize your Small Kitchen
4. Have a dedicated place for each item
Store items wherever they make the most sense and commit to putting things back in their place after every use. For example, a place for your purse or wallet and keys, a place for scissors, and a place for your tools. This way your home is more organized and you always know where to look when you need something.
5. Clean as you go
Try to make a habit of cleaning up and putting things away as you go. This is easier said than done, but if you can build it into your routine it will make staying organized a lot easier. Once you’ve gone through the process of getting your home neat and tidy, it will feel easier to stay on top of the clutter moving forward.
6. Make it easy on yourself
Make things simpler for yourself by introducing shortcuts and workarounds where they make sense. For example, if you have a hard time putting away your clean laundry after you take it out of the dryer, skip folding and hang the clothes directly on the hangers. This will make it easier to put them right into the closet when you get back to your room, and they won’t sit in the laundry basket for days.
When it comes to home organization, spending a lot of money to acquire and implement a costly new system can feel like the only way to successfully keep your home tidy. However, it can backfire if it’s not the right system for you, or if your new organizational system sits uninstalled or entirely unused. It’s better to focus on what fits in your budget and get a little creative. If you are trying to save some money while getting organized, try:
- Organizing using stuff you already have
- Repurposing product packaging to make organizers
- Using inexpensive items creatively
Need help getting organized?
Our national network of professional organizers can help you get your home in order.