Organizing Your Home on a Budget
We all have that small space or area of our home that needs a little bit of organization. Organization can be complicated, and even expensive. Sometimes the idea of organizing can be so overwhelming that we shove our miscellaneous items in a drawer, on a countertop, in the “messy” closet, or even under the bed never to be seen or heard from again. What if I told you organization can be easy, and inexpensive? Well, guess what. It is!
One of the first things you can do in the evenings is lay out EVERYTHING you are going to need the next morning. Doing this will require some discipline. However, if you’re a family of two or more, you can hold each other accountable. Have young children? That’s okay! You can make the evening routine out to be a fun, and educational game on organization and preparedness. This game will soon become a habit, and you the parent will not have as much stress on you to prepare for the next day.
Have you ever lost your keys? Purses? Wallets? Bookbags? Maybe even have lost your favorite pair of shoes? Its okay! We all have done it. To help keep track of all these items designate a central area to organize all these things. Always place these items there. If you want something that looks good and is neat you can make or buy a hall tree bench. You can set this up in the area that you use most when entering and exiting your home.
At the beginning of each week, start your weekly meal planning for all three meals. For lunches throughout the week already have them made. Pack them in there individual containers, and have them organized by day, and person. Every night set out everything for breakfast that is non-refrigerated. Yes, even the spoons.
Every evening write an up to-do list for the next day. This list can be a physical piece of paper or digitalized. Make sure to put priority items first. Never put off gas, or school related errands till the next morning when everything gets busy. For things that do not get done that day, put them on the next day’s to-do list. Keep your calendar updated. There are various apps you can use to do this. These apps give you the ability to handle your whole family’s various activities, and some even allow you to keep your grocery list there. These various apps allow you to share with your family your schedule, as well as them sharing theirs. Some send you email reminders for things like trash day. Best part is apps like “Cozi” are free! However, if you prefer to unplug, or like being able to physically write something out, you have the option of setting up a family message station. This will have a dry erase calendar that you and your family can share.
It is very easy to keep bathroom paraphernalia sprawled out on the sink, in the tub, or in disarray under the sink. First step to organizing your bathroom to keep all the paraphernalia out of sight while in use. Something to buy to help you in this organizational process is a plastic carry-all with a handle on top, or if you like, a pretty basket. It’s best to put all your make-up, deodorant, hairspray, razors, ect. into the container and place under your bathroom counter. Only bring it out when you need it. Then when you’re done simply place it back underneath. You may also wish to purchase a strip of magnetic tape, or magnetic knife holder. You can install this and use it to take care of the small things like nail clippers, tweezers, and scissors.
Lets move to the shower. Shampoos, conditioners, face scrubs and other specialties in shower treatments can easily take up the entire space! Especially when you have more than one person per bathroom, Something you can do to control the “mess” is purchase a shower caddy.
Do you have glass shower doors? Are they always looking dull, and….well, grimey? You can fix that! Squeegee your shower doors after every shower. Keeping a squeegee in the shower makes this organizational discipline easier. Add a suction cup hook if needed to hang your shower squeegee. If you have a shower curtain use a daily shower spray. These small acts of cleaning will keep the clean up from being impossible when it’s time to clean the entire bathroom.
If there is any extra space in your bathroom do NOT waste it! Use the corners and awkward space to put in a freestanding cabinet. This will give you the opportunity to add storage. It’s okay if you find a cabinet, and the color doesn’t work out. Get some paint. Paint becomes everything when you want to organize on a budget. Make a point once a month to go through your bathroom storage devices and throw away old or ineffective products you never use.
Use your towels as decor! Yes, that’s right you can decorate with your bathroom towels! Roll your towels. After they are rolled you may place them in decorative baskets, or elegantly stack them on a bench. The act of rolling your towels, and storing them vertically is also an effective way to save space. If the towel is in use then utilize wall hooks. You can use them to hang towels, robes, and even clothing. Best place to put these hooks is behind the bathroom door.
If you find yourself constantly sifting through bathroom drawers then you may want to consider to purchase or even make your own drawer organizers. These organizers are great for makeup, jewelry, and those
pesky ponytail holders you always seem to lose. They also make a great designated space to keep your teeth hygiene products.
Floating shelves are a great way to add value to a room. You can use these to add storage and organization above a toilet. These are great to use with homes that have small bathrooms as well as limited storage space. You may buy your own already premade. However, if you like you can make one yourself.
Find yourself running late all the time? Have a teenager that just won’t get out of the shower? Place a timer in the bathroom and use it! This is a great tool for time discipline. It will help you get out the door on time, as well as getting your teen out of the shower.
Whether you are a child, or even an adult it’s very hard to keep your closets organized and clean. When you don’t have the space, it becomes very easy for you to shove any and everything in that fits, and shut the door, praying that when you open it next nothing will fall out on you. First, get separate clothes baskets. One for regular laundry, and the second one for your dry cleaning. This will save you time in sorting your clothes, and you will always know if there’s enough clothes to make a full load. Something else that is most beneficial is sorting through your clothes yearly. If you haven’t worn something in a year donate it to charities like Goodwill. If it is worn out, and not able to be worn again then throw it out!
To keep an organized closet it also helps to sort your clothes by season. Only keep the present season in your closet. For the other clothes pack them away in an underbed storage container. If you do not have room under your bed you may use vacuum sealed bags to store your clothes in tight spaces. DO NOT use the vacuum sealed bags on delicate fabrics. It will make wrinkles permanent. Categorize your clothes in a way that works for you! A good starting place is color, formality, type, or office wear. This is designed to help you save time putting together outfits, and save money from repurchasing items you forgot you had (because they were buried in the closet somewhere).
Something else that is most annoying, and prevents you from having the tidy closet you desire is clothes falling off the hangers. To prevent this, recycle your wire hangers. Clothes slide off them and fall to the floor. They even become easily bent, or dangerous for small children. You can replace these hangers with velvet hangers at Costco. These velvety hangers hold the silkiest of dresses! You can even make your own non-slip hanger! You also need to develop a system for hanging and organizing scarves and belts. Shoving them in a drawer is not the most effective way of storage. Try to make your own DIY clothespin scarf and accessories holder.
If you own more than 3 pairs of shoes, buy a shoe rack! Be sure to rotate your out of season shoes with the ones that are in season. You may also place your out of season shoes in a shoe storage container under your bed. Install hooks and peg board on any closet wall or space. You can use this to hang your purses, jackets, and various accessories.
Start by organizing your cabinets into categories. Keep your cups near the fridge so you can easily pour your child’s afternoon juice. Keep the utensil drawer close to the dishwasher. This will prevent you from making several unnecessary trips across the kitchen. Place your pots and pans near the stove. If you have children that have their own special dining wear, keep them on a lower shelf. Doing this will allow them to get the items themselves, without having to interrupt you. Keep that junk drawer organized! There are various types of household items that can be repurposed to help everything be contained and organized.
Organize your pantry. Dedicate each shelf to a specific purpose, and put most used items in the front, with easy access. Least use items in the back or up high. Keep the pantry doors closed. If you do not have a pantry that is okay! You may want to consider a DIY rolling pantry. You will find this idea to be genius!
If you find yourself in need of storage and prep space don’t worry! You may want to consider a DIY rolling kitchen island! These are easy projects to do, and will increase your storage and prep space.
Consider purchasing a plastic lazy-susan, and place it in each of cupboards. This will allow you easy access to all your items. You will never forget to have it in your cupboards.
Organize your tupperware in a drawer. This will be very helpful in saving space, but also you’ll never find yourself searching for a matching lid.
Try to keep your counter space clear! Only keep things most used on the counter. An example of this is leaving out the Keurig, but putting the toaster up in the pantry.
It’s time to get on board with the 21st century. Download “Evernote”. It’s a free app that allows you to take photos of recipes on your phone or tablet. Then you can add the recipe or even organize them into folders. Say goodbye to your scraps of paper with recipes scribbled on them, cook books, or recipes printed from your computer.
Before you make a trip to the grocery store, clean out your fridge. Toss out the old food. Rotate the older (still etablie) food to the front, so it gets used first.
Now it’s time to organize the kid’s rooms! Hang a hoop over your child’s laundry basket. This will allow them to “slam-dunk” dirty clothes into the designated hamper. This will make everyday chores fun, and will help keep dirty clothes off the floor! You may also add another hamper in your child’s room so that they can organize light clothes from dark ones. Use poster putty in your child’s room. Have your child display their artwork on ONE wall gallery style. You may consider hanging a net from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, dolls, or even action figures! If you do not like this look then consider wall planters! They are cute and serve the same purpose of keeping items up off the floor. Next add wall mounted bookshelves. Then, help your child organize their books. If the bookshelf is rather large consider bolting it to the wall for safety reasons. Buy your child their own alarm clock. This will teach them how to wake up on their own without you.
Make sure to place waste baskets in every room with trash bags in the bottom of each one. Make sure your remotes have a drawer, basket or even a shelf to live on. You may even consider a DIY remote control pillow. Plastic caddies are good for storing cleaning supplies and taking it from room to room. Designate an area for homework, crafts or sewing. You can create this space in a small area. This prevents distraction and projects strewn all over the house.
Designate a spot where kids will leave school flyers, permission slips and etc. Make it part of your “laying out for tomorrow” routine.
Before bedtime you and the family take 15 minutes to clean up any clutter.
Doing these things will help you have a clean, organized and safe home. You will feel more relaxed about your day, and your family will have an unbreakable routine!
Additional Resources for Organization on a Budget:
- 5 Tips on How Organizing Your Home Can Add Value – Paul Sian’s article reminds us to implement a regular schedule for organizing because the more often that you do it, the easier it gets.
- How to Establish a First Time Home Buyer Budget – Organizing on a budget follows along with establishing a budget from the beginning. Check out these tips from Anita Clark.
- Best Storage Ideas That Will Organize Your Entire Home – Since organization and storage go hand in hand, read Michelle Gibson’s ideas for utilizing storage to the max.
- 10 Organizations That Pick Up Donations for Free – We all have a ton of stuff that we’ll never use and who wants to really oversee a garage sale anyway. The next best thing is to give it away.
- Garage Renovations That Make a Difference – Yes, Eileen Anderson’s article is pertinent to organizing your home because one of her tasks have to do with de-cluttering. Lord knows, we could all do some of that.