Home Organization On A Budget

By Matthew Cenzon | July 20, 2011 AAA

There are numerous benefits for starting a home organization project. For starters, it will make your home look and feel larger without having to spend on home additions. It will also make your home more soothing and comfortable for you and your guests. The problem is many people tend to overspend when it comes to home organization. Rental storage units are a monthly expense you don't need, and buying too many storage bins or installing larger cabinets rather than utilizing what you already have can be costly. Here are some tips and ideas for organizing your home on an affordable budget.

Maximize Your Closet Space
One of the easiest ways to organize your home is to fully utilize the storage space that is already provided. Most closets, whether they are in a bedroom or hallway, have one or two closet rods and a couple of shelves. Maximize the storage space in your closets by adding additional closet rods. These are relatively cheap at most hardware stores and can be easily installed with a drill and hanging brackets. An even easier alternative would be to drill a hole at each end of the new closet rod, and use some sturdy rope to tie it to the original closet rod. Make sure there is enough clearance between the two rods to hang most of your clothes and other belongings.

Installing a few more shelves in your closet will also maximize your storage space. Plastic-coated wire shelves can be purchased at a relatively cheap price. You can also keep an eye out for any stores that are going out of business for a chance to get some free shelves. (Check out more tips in Damage Control For A Busted Budget.)

Eliminate the Clutter
Scan your home and identify any clutter that's keeping you from utilizing all of your space. Junk mail, expired coupons and miscellaneous knickknacks are just a few examples of clutter that are typically found in the average home. Get rid of it all! No, that doesn't mean stuff them into a bin or drawer; either trash or recycle these items and use those drawers and bins for real storage space. If you absolutely must keep some of this miscellaneous stuff, restrict yourself to one storage bin, and if it doesn't fit in the bin, then throw it out.

Sell Unused Items and Clothing
Got a pair of jeans that you haven't been able to fit into since before the birth of your 16-year-old? How about that chainsaw in the garage that you used only two times before you realized you weren't a lumberjack? Most people are guilty of holding on to various items and clothing, thinking that they'll be able to use them again someday, even if that "someday" hasn't come in the past decade. (Consider hosting a "swish" party for a cheap way to refresh your wardrobe. Don't miss How To Look Good For Less.)

Part of your home organization is knowing when to let go of anything you don't need or can no longer use. Start by having a garage sale to rid yourself of anything that is taking up unnecessary space. You also have the option of donating items with the incentive of a tax write-off. Items with a higher value like antiques and collectibles can be sold online, and designer thrift stores are great places to sell any expensive, high-end apparel.

Creative Storage and Containers
When you're on a tight budget, storage bins and containers are unnecessary expenditures. Save money by getting creative with storage tools you already have lying around the house. Old shoe boxes can be used to store items, and when stacked on top of each other, they can create an entire wall of storage space; just make sure you label each box. Cut and shape your cereal boxes to create magazine holders that can be stacked anywhere. Empty paint cans and old vases can be used to organize small tools, pens and pencils, and other miscellaneous items.

Affordable, wooden crates can be purchased from most home improvement stores. Buy a bunch and sand them down for low budget cubbies you can stack in your garage instead of building storage closets. Keep an eye out for free fruit boxes that are thrown away by local farms or groceries. These boxes are great to use as storage bins around your home, and the print and graphics on the side give them a vintage feel that you can incorporate as part of your décor.

Kitchen Organization on a Budget
It's difficult to keep your kitchen organized when you start to run out of space in your kitchen cabinets. A simple and affordable way to add more space is to add adhesive hooks underneath the cabinet shelves to create storage space to hang things. These are perfect for hanging coffee cups to make extra room for kitchen storage, and will save you money on new kitchen cabinets. You can save even more cabinet space by storing small bowls or pots inside of larger ones. Also, consider giving your kitchen items double-duty, like organizing your utensils by keeping them in empty mugs or pitchers.

Storage Tips
The garage, attic and basement are the most common areas for storage in a home. When people begin running out of space in these areas, many consider renting extra storage space at a nearby storage unit. If you don't have the money to rent a storage unit, then here are a few crafty tips to maximize your storage space:

  • Stuff your luggage with items that need to be stored like excess fabrics and smaller bags or backpacks.
  • Install some heavy duty hooks to the walls or ceiling of your garage to store large sporting equipment, like fishing poles or bicycles, to create more space.
  • A pegboard is a great way to hang miscellaneous tools and items for easier access and to prevent clutter.
  • Create storage behind doors with hooks and door organizers, which are more affordable than other storage options.
  • Instead of throwing out old cabinets, try reusing them in the garage or basement to save money.

The Bottom Line
A well-organized home brings both beauty and function to your living space. If you allow the excess and clutter to take over your home, you are creating a chaotic environment in a place that is supposed to provide sanctuary and comfort. Start your home organization project with proper planning and a reasonable budget, and don't make the mistake of spending too much – it might lead to even bigger problems than you expected.

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