Frugal Organization Tips for a Clutter-free Home
One major facet to keeping our homes in order is keeping them organized. And just like cleaning, it’s a never ending job. You can spend a month of Sundays creating a place for everything and putting everything in its place, then before long, you’ll find you have more items that need to be put away, or things haven’t been put back where they belong and your house is in disorder again. It’s a rare person who can keep everything organized all the time. But we can’t give up trying!
One challenge to an organized home is the fact that we’re a consumer society. We’re always buying or acquiring more. We get what we have organized and put in place, then before you know it, we have more, so we have more organizing to do. The best way to stay on top of the job is to organize as we go, if possible. Barring that, do your best to set aside a certain amount of time every week to work on organization. Even 15 minutes a week will make a difference in keeping clutter under control.
Look around your home. Do you see items that have no home, no place where they belong? If so, create a place for them. Decide where you’ll keep them and put them there. Then, as soon as you use something, put it back where it belongs.
For example, one of my friends is a pen freak. She loves pens and is always buying new ones to add to the dozens and dozens of pens she already has. Everywhere you look, you’ll see pens laying around her home. She finally got frustrated enough to designate a cute little kangaroo planter as a pen holder. She set it on top of her microwave, and now every time she gets a new pen or finds one laying around, she puts it in the kangaroo. An added benefit is that whenever she needs a pen, she knows exactly where to look.
The reason we have clutter is that we have more stuff than we can easily find space for. So unless you can get rid of some things and quit buying more, the next best option is to create storage space. But don’t just rush out and buy store-bought storage solutions.
Cynthia Townley Ewer of OrganizedHome.com suggests that frugal moms “organize first, measure next, and buy–if they buy–last.” Meaning: don’t head off to the store and buy a cart-load of neat organizing gadgets and gizmos, only to find A) they don’t work or fit your room, or B) you didn’t buy enough to complete the job.
Instead, Ewer cautions, organize and separate your items, measure the space where you plan to put them, and see if you can use what’ you have on hand for the actual organization. If not, then you can buy something for the purpose. But not before!
You can easily make your own storage solutions. Cardboard boxes work great to hold almost anything you want to store. And you can find them in every size you need. Don’t like the look? Paint them, or cover them with fabric or self-adhesive paper to make them match your decor.
Wine boxes are wonderful for holding ornaments, glassware and knickknacks in their individualized compartments. Check behind a local liquor store to see if they have any.
Shoe boxes are another great find. Fill them with a variety of household objects including craft items, jewelry, kitchen surplus, tools and more.
Baskets are in abundance at yard sales and thrift stores – often for 25¢ or less each. If you like the style and shape of a basket you find, but don’t like the color or you can’t get it clean, spray paint it. Choose a color to match your decor and create a custom look that’s just right for your home.
Also keep an eye out for used organizing tools at yard sales and thrift stores. Shoe and closet organizers, under-the-bed storage containers, plastic bins and more can be found all over. Don’t go overboard, though. You could buy so many organizers that you need to organize your organizers!
Organizing paperwork is a task in itself, but there are frugal options available. Use file folders and boxes to keep up with records you have to hold on to, magazines you want to keep, and appliance manuals. You can also keep unpaid bills and other essentials in a file folder on your desk or in a drawer.
Organize everything as you go. Keep up with names and addresses by writing them in an address book – in pencil! – as soon as you get a new one. You’ll always know where to find a number, and you won’t be wondering what happened to that little slip of paper with the plumber’s phone number on it when your kitchen sink springs a leak.
There are many ways to create an organized home. Taking the time needed to find what works for you and your family will free you from the “clutter stress” and give you more time to enjoy life.