Thrifty Ideas to Get Organized

Glass Canisters on Kitchen Counter.

Getting Organized with These Thrifty Ideas

Are you tired of the unorganized mess around your house?

Do you want to get organized and clean up the space you live in?

I started out in a small home with small rooms and a growing family.

Magazines on tabletops and kitchen counters so full we couldn’t use them just wasn’t working, not to mention the stuff three kids and a husband brought home and piled in the front hall and coat closet. Hello, please put your stuff away!

Are you feeling like the same thing is happening to you? Did you ever feel like you were packed to the rafters with endless piles of shoes, coats, backpacks, books, and so much more?

I did and I’m shaking my head at the memories of it all. Over the years I’ve come up with many thrifty organizing ideas to organize the clutter and keep what little space we had clean.

Here are my favorite thrifty ways to help get things off counters and floors and stored in a better more organized and creative way.

Get your Living Spaces in Order

Living in an organized home is much more pleasant than tripping over a pair of sneakers every time you walk in the house and its nice being able to eat a meal at a clean table.

These ideas can be used for living room, family room, bedrooms, kitchen, and basement areas.

My parents, every Christmas, gave us a gift basket of goodies. I used to give the baskets back to my Mom or I’d use them when giving gifts to others.

What the heck was I thinking? I need to keep those baskets for myself!

Organizing Your Books and Magazines

Baskets are a great place to put your magazines and books that you’re currently reading. In order for this to work without the basket getting piled sky high – don’t hang on to old magazines and books you’ve already finished.

Recycle and Donate Old Books and Magazines

Recycle magazines and take your books to a bookstore where they buy them and get yourself something else to read.

If you don’t have baskets, take a trip to the thrift store. You will find so many at a fraction of the cost of a new one. You can even paint them to match your aesthetic nature.

Movie, Video Games and Music CDs

There are multiple options available depending on your living space and budget. Some of us only have a small amount of music CDs and movies – others have a whole collection of one or both.

My daughter is in the category of “both”. For movies, games and music she has a separate CD case (with a whole lotta pages) and stores them in alphabetical order. No cases to mess with or take up room. She found her cases on an online community site for next to nothing and they were in great condition.

Other Options for CD Storage:

  • If you have a household of boys and their friends that get a little rough and tumbly and you feel the need to seriously protect your collection of CDs, DVDs, games, etc., there are hard case options. These cases can be expensive so try and find a used one.
  • You can also save or have your friends save you the spindle CDs come on and store your items there as well. If you use this option, store the spindle on its side (vertical) so the CDs are not sitting right on top of each other.
  • Decorative storage boxes are nice and easy for storage, they stack nicely, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes with many different pictures on them.

Storage Chest or Ottoman with Storage

I know I’ve suggested using these for other things but they are so great! At one time we used a long, short, storage chest as our coffee table and I loved it. Either option: storage chest or ottoman with storage, are great for storing so many things. Family games and cozy blankets are just a couple of them.

Later I updated the storage chest by making a cushion and attaching it to the lid and used it by our front window. It may have turned into a seat but it still provided much needed storage.

I see storage chests at thrift stores all time in wood that I can paint, decorate and make my own.

Using Apple or Wine Crates for Storage

Oh what a fan of these I am! I love the country look. When I find these I typically leave them in the state they are in (I don’t get any that are really beat up though) and I typically find mine in the antique stores or at garage sales. Sometimes you will find the older ones in the thrift stores though.

These have great visual appeal when they’re hanging on a wall and used for storing items.

Organizing the Entryway

In our first home the front entryway was small and we had a hall closet with an actual door instead of sliders or a folding door. For us it was nice as we could take advantage of “door space”.

Use a Shoe Organizer

In order to help keep it organized, I hung a shoe organizer on the back of the door of our coat closet. It held some of our extra shoes but we took it a step further and also stored gloves, scarves, keys, and any odds & ends we used and were small enough to store in this way.

This idea can be used in any room with a door.

Wall Mounted Coat Rack

If you have an empty wall, mount a coat rack. Now coats and umbrellas can get hung up instead of dumped on the ground.

Using a Storage Chest

A storage chest or old toy box can be used under the coat rack for additional storage needs. It also provides a place for sitting and putting on your shoes.

Again, I found our coat rack and storage chest at the thrift store. I was pretty proud of myself for cleaning them up and making some great use of them.

Organizing Countertops

Countertops; whether kitchen or bathroom, are a catch all for a lot of stuff. Stuff, that takes up valuable space, especially when you’re limited.

Ideas for Getting the Kitchen Counters Organized

Kitchen counters are a landing place for a lot of random stuff, not only kitchen supplies but things that belong in other rooms. And when you’re limited on space, it’s a premium, and keeping counters clear are a must.

Here are some things you can try for getting those counters organized.

Clear the Counters First

  1. First, clear the counters off and clean them – Ah, doesn’t that feel better.
  2. If you’ve found you have multiples of things, be a good friend and share.
  3. Now put everything back where it belongs, even if it’s in another room.

Remember, not everything has to go back on the counters, if it isn’t used that much, put it away.

Use a Lazy Susan

My family loves a good piece of peanut butter and honey toast. It’s a favorite snack of ours. We also use a lot of toothpicks, love drinking tea, and there are a few other things we use regularly.

If your family has their favorites and they get left scattered on the counter, try using the Lazy Susan for keeping them organized and in one place.

I found mine at a garage sale. I only paid a couple dollars for it and it cleaned up nicely.

Use a Paper Towel Dispenser

Instead of leaving paper towels on the counter, use a paper towel dispenser that attaches to the side of a cabinet.

Start a Junk Drawer

When your kitchen is a place you do mail, the kids do homework, and things sometimes get fixed. Start a junk drawer where you can store pens, pencils, scissors, screwdriver, tacks, shoelaces – you know the stuff that used to get left on the counters.

A great way to organize these drawers is by using some of your smaller Tupperware containers that don’t have lids. One for batteries, another for writing instruments, etc.

Bill Organizer or Basket?

For many of us, the most logical place for mail is in the kitchen. Instead of just dumping it there and watching it pile up, throw the junk out immediately. Put the rest in a bill organizer, basket, or some other bill sorter that can easily be stored (and not take up a lot of space) on the countertop.

My kids and I did a family project for an organizer. I got this idea from a friend and we all had a fun time making them.

We took empty cereal boxes, turned it on its side, cut a little less than half from the front of the box, decorated the box with some of my scrapbooking papers (inside & out) and made labels for file folders that went inside.

We only needed one, so they gave the others as gifts to the grandparents.

Countertop Canisters

If you do a lot of cooking, get creative with the way you store your most used utensils. I had an old metal teapot that I used to hold my most used cooking utensils, what do you have?

Clean Up the Bathroom Countertops

With two girls and lots of hair stuff, and other girlie things. We’ve had to get creative. There are things that were used daily and couldn’t stay on the counter but made sense to have them out and handy.

Hanging Storage

We had a little wall space so we decided to make some hanging storage. We went to the thrift store and bought this great shelf.

We painted it to match the bathroom and hung some mason jars (from the bottom side of the shelf) for storing cotton balls, Q-tips, barrettes, etc. I also added an old double sided hook to the bottom side for hanging towels, PJ’s, whatever.

On the top of the shelf we added a little wire basket for holding wash cloths, another mason jar for more storage, etc.

Container Storage

Old Tupperware containers with lids are the perfect place to put makeup. It’s all in one place and when you’re done, it stores nicely under the sink. If you have kids that share a bathroom, use one for each of their personal stuff and label the container. They stack nicely too.

These are just some things I have done using the second hand items. I spent the time fixing them up to reflect my own style and had a blast doing it.

These were projects that my whole family got involved in, and in the process I taught my kids creative ways to organize around our house.