Tips and Finds for Spring Organizing on The Cheap

I’m really not a clean freak in the least, but I do love to organize and organizing definitely makes me feel more inspired to keep my apartment clean. I wanted to share a couple of little easy organizing projects I’ve been doing around the apartment.

Bathroom

My bathroom is a bit weird because the only covered storage built into the bathroom is the medicine cabinet above the sink.  Other than that, there are no drawers or cabinets.  To cope with that there were a couple of things we employed when we first moved in two years ago.  First we got one of those around-the-toilet shelving units that is a great place to throw all the bathroom stuff, but it’s pretty ugly.  I will definitely be tackling that soon, but that’s going to be saved for another post.  The second thing we used for storage in the bathroom is actually a night stand table that Tawnya had.  I bought one of those cheap plastic drawers to put on it for all of my stuff.  It works really well, but the drawers are ugly (I mentioned them in another post) and have been getting messier and messier.  Last weekend, I created a couple solutions.

Solutions found:

  • Container for hair odds and ends:  One of my drawers where I was housing my hair stuff had all of these little clips, bobby pins, and hair ties.  I could never actually find one when I needed it though because they were all so small they would just get buried under my hair scarves.  I had a cute Fossil tin lying around from the last time I bought a watch and kept because I’d knew I’d find a use for it.  It’s cute enough to just leave out in the open and has a lid to keep the cats out (for some reason Lex loves bobby pins and hair ties).

  • Dividers for the top drawer:  This is really easy to do, and I just used cardboard from the back of a newsprint drawing pad, so it was totally free.  You can use whatever cardboard you have hanging out in your house, just try to make sure it’s a fairly sturdy cardboard so it doesn’t lose shape easily.

1. Cut your strips to size.  Measure the height of your drawers and cut strips of cardboard to the same height.  You may want to use a straight edge to draw a line to use as your guide, but I’m impatient so I didn’t.  The straighter they are the better they’ll fit.  Next, measure the depth and width of your drawers and cut the strips lengthwise to match those measurements.  You may want to make them just a hair longer so they’ll be nice and snug.

2.  Working with either the width or the length strips first, figure out how big you want each section.  Make a vertical cut to mark it that goes halfway down the strip.

3.  Turn the cuts into notches, about as wide as the cardboard is thick.

4.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 except we’ll be making the notches on the bottom of the cardboard instead of the top.

5.  Fit the notches together.

6.  Place in the drawer and fill with all your stuff!

  • Containing head scarves:  I don’t know why, but my headscarves are always getting caught up in the drawers.  They start oozing out of the sides and back trying to escape.  I killed two birds with one stone and found how to keep my scarves folded nicely and what to do with my hair separating clip things.  It was pretty simple, I just folded one scarf at a time and clipped it to keep it folded.

Kitchen

Hooks are super versatile and awesome!  I try to get as many things as I can from the dollar store, but in this case I learned my lesson.  I have had really bad luck with dollar store adhesive hooks and those little adhesive pad things (the ones I used on the bookshelf didn’t work so well, more on that in a little bit).  Right now I still have just the dollar store hooks, but I am going to be buying some of the 3M ones next time I get a chance, as they keep just falling off.

  • Hooks:  Keep things in a handy spot by hanging them.  I used a hook right on the side of my stove to hang my oven mitts.  As a total aside, my spice racks and towel hanger are from Camping World which is actually a great place to get things geared for small spaces, since they cater to RV owners.  I used to work there so I got an employee discount, score!

  • Hooks are also great for storing things vertically, leaving more shelf space.  I have really a wonky cabinet with a pipe that goes through it for pot and pan storage.  By hanging the lids to the cabinet drawers I was able to clear up a lot more space.

  • Prettifying food stuffs:  I love the glass air tight containers I got from Ikea.  I bought two big ones and put my sugar in them to keep them extra secure from ants.  I found some smaller ones at the dollar store for other miscellaneous dry goods.  I need to pick up some more and make the whole shelf pretty, but I have a good start!  I used some clear tape and a sharpie on the front to label them.

  • Organizing grocery lists and dinner planning:  Every kitchen needs to employ some kind of note taker, imo.  I have a dry erase/magnet board that I hung on the side of my cabinets for this.

Other Odds and Ends

  • Pretty storage boxes:  I use these a in a couple different places, but I especially like how they look on my bookshelf.  You may recognize Billy from before!  Back to what I was saying before about dollar store adhesive… the picture of the flower hanging there used to be a mirror, but it couldn’t hang on with the adhesive strips from the dollar store and fell and broke and 40 yrs bad luck ensued…  Anyway, back to the boxes.  The ones on top I picked up on sale at Michael’s for 2.50 each.  I used some red vellum for the labels for a nice pop of color.  The green one is from Ikea, and I have no idea how much it was since I got it a couple of years ago.

  • Tension shower curtain rod for hang drying clothes:  I had been strewing damp clothes up all over my apartment on any ledge that would support a hanger and it wasn’t working so well for me.  I found a super easy solution and picked up a tension shower curtain rod at Ross for $5 and installed it in my closet.  When the clothes are done drying I can just tuck it away in the closet.

  • Tray for the coffee table:  The coffee table quite often ends up with a lot of stuff on it.  A lot of stuff actually makes sense to keep there, at easy access, but I bought a tray to at least contain it all in one spot.  This was my big splurge, but it’s so pretty!  Another find from Ross for $9.

  • Mini accordion folder for coupons and seeds:  From dollar store.  

To change direction just a little bit, I also wanted to mention how awesome having an organized budget is to help detangle monetary knots.   I use Mint.com, but there are a lot of ways to make your own budget both on the computer and with good ol’ fashioned pencil and paper. I like Mint because it’s attached to my bank accounts and keeps track of what I spend and in which category it’s in. I’ve had friends that budget by putting cash in separate envelopes for each expense (ie. Groceries, Rent, Shopping, etc). Do whatever works for you!

Don’t forget to organize your computer too! Make and organize your folders and run your antivirus program regularly. I just found AVG, a free antivirus program that I’m liking so far and seems to have pretty good reviews in case you need one.

A bit of an overload on this post, but it’s been a while and I missed you!

 

What are your organizing tips?

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2 comments

  1. keitorin

    I’ve always been envious of your organizing skills. But really, I just need to make more money to make the things I want happen haha. That and it’ll be better when Tim and I get our own place! When you coming to visit, by the way? 😛

    • dosayit

      Dollar store is like the magical fairy for poor people! I would like to visit soonish! I will text you with some more info and we can figure out a good time.

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