How to Organize Without Spending Money on Containers & Storage

How to Organize Without Spending Money on Containers & Storage

How to Organize Without Spending Money on Containers & Storage


Before you spend a fortune on trendy containers or imported organic wooden shelves (is that a thing?), take a moment to remind yourself: organizing isn’t always pretty, and that’s OK.


Life isn’t always pretty. Moments aren’t always pretty. We’re not always pretty. And that’s because we’re imperfect creatures living on an imperfect earth. So why completely remodel your home and empty your wallet in order to make everything look perfect and pretty?


The goal of being organized is to create an efficient system to make your life easier, to allow you to spend time meaningfully, and to save you money and sanity. Being organized doesn’t mean being perfect; so, don’t fret when perfection doesn’t happen.


Most people want to be organized but don’t have the time to get there. That’s where people like me, professional organizers, come in to help. And many people want to be organized but feel they can’t afford to spend money on all the many boxes and bins and shelves to help themselves get there. And I tell you: that is a silly reason to not get organized, because you don’t need to spend money on more stuff to organize your existing stuff.


I’m fond of using what you have to organize your things. Sure, if some boxes or bins that you own are only causing you stress or are not functional, then it’s time to toss or recycle them and purchase inexpensive new storage items (stay away from trendy colors or patterns, though; stick to classic looks that will last).



How To Organize Your Things Without Spending Any Money – Or By Spending Very Little


1) USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  Do you have extra bins, bowls, or shelves you can use to organize your things? Use them!

Look at this hideous shelf. But, it’s functional!

2) ASK FOR DONATIONS. Chances are, someone you know is downsizing or decluttering right now, and might be willing to give you their old baskets, bins, bowls, shelves, and other organizing storage items.


My mother-in-law didn’t need this shelf. I took it. And yep, my sweaters are not perfectly neatly folded. That’s OK.

3) GO TO FREECYCLE.COM or CRAIGSLIST.COM to see what people in your area are getting rid of – what you can have for free!

4) DOLLAR STORE. Head over to the dollar store to see what you can purchase to help you organize for less.

5) ALLEY SHOPPING. Shamelessly scan alleys for gently used shelves or cabinets.


Absolutely hideous, but useful old kitchen cabinets used in the basement to store tools and supplies.

6) GET CREATIVE. You might have something—like a serving tray—that you rarely use, which can be used in another way. I use a serving tray as my husband’s “inbox” where he places paperwork he hasn’t yet completed on his desk (below).


If you’re creative and resourceful, you can find ways to organize your things without spending a penny—and you might even finally use items you purchased, even if it is not for their original, intended purpose.


Organizing doesn’t have to be costly, and sorry, but the reality is it won’t always be pretty. No doubt, it will cost you time and patience, but you shouldn’t be spending all your money on items to store and organize your things. Unless, of course, you want to live life as though you are on HGTV, in which case, say goodbye to your retirement savings.




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My goal is to help you become more organized so that you can spend your time in meaningful ways.
The Container Store
The Container Store