Use What You Have Organization

Have you perused the aisles of your local Target or Walmart this month?  Did you trip over the mass quantities of organizing tubs, baskets, and crates?  Lose a child in the latest and greatest file cabinet?
Every magazine issue I receive in January, and yes, I get a few,  is full of organizing ideas.  Many of them require purchasing new stuff to organize your old stuff. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as motivated by those glossy January pages as the next nerd girl, but I’m usually on a self-imposed spending freeeeeze the first month of the year.  Or maybe a husband imposed, but whatevs.
So I decided to try the “use what you have” approach to organizing.  Here are my strategies for organizing without spending money.

  •   The first, most obvious, and best free way to be more organized is not to buy/keep stuff you don’t need.  Every year we complete a January purge, and we’re almost always surprised to realize again that we DO have enough storage, we just have too much stuff. 

  1.   After the frenzy of holiday shopping, many families have piles of boxes laying around the house.  Toy boxes that are more popular than the toy that came in them, shipping boxes, gift boxes, shoe boxes, etc. 

Upcycle these extra boxes into cute storage.  Cover them with wrapping paper or contact paper, or paint them your favorite color.
Use empty cereal boxes covered in gorgeous paper for magazine storage. (Go here to check out this AMAZING craft room.)

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Here’s my solution for a large and VERY messy utensil drawer. The cool thing is that I just happen to have one to share.  But the picture was just too ugly for the internet.  Someone would have reported it as offensive.
So we’re starting with this.
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I rummaged through the pile of boxes still in the middle of the family room floor searched the house for small boxes to use as drawer dividers.   I came up empty.

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But I did have several shoe boxes with lids.  And several Birchbox boxes.  I might be a little obsessed with Birchbox, but that’s another story for another day.
First I purged the drawer ruthlessly and added each “I have never used this/I have no idea what this is” item to the donate pile in the foyer. 
Then I organized them by category, and found either a shoebox lid or a Birchbox box each category would fit in. 
Please tell me that you would have needed an entire box lid for your bottle openers.  Please.  We have a bulldog bottle opener, and one that plays music.
You’ll notice that they did not go into the “I never use this” pile.
Now comes the fun part.  I covered each lid/box with chalkboard contact paper.
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And with my trusty chalk marker, I labeled each container with it’s intended contents.  That part is for the people that I live with. 

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In case you’re wondering, I did look up how to spell “ladles” AFTER I took the picture.  Now I’m waiting now to see how long it takes my children to realize I can’t spell ladles.
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I’m kind of in love with this project. 
I smile every time I open this drawer. 
What kind of free organizing ideas do you have to share?
Don’t forget to scroll down and enter my Origami Owl giveaway!  The winner will be drawn on Wednesday.

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