You don’t have to spend hundreds on storage solutions. FIRST talked to experts for some low-cost strategies to get your whole house under control.
Snap up closet solutions on the cheap.
“Some of my favorite closet organizers can be found at the hardware store: Inexpensive decorative knobs and drawer pulls can be used to hang necklaces, ties or belts on a closet wall, and you can place a tension rod inside a closet above the door to hang hats from hooks. Plus, hardware stores like Ace offer a 10 percent discount to seniors, law enforcement, and people in the military, for even more savings.”
—Elise Gurock, professional organizer at ChaosConcierge.com
Snag seasonal deals on storage tubs.
“Finding deals on storage containers means paying attention to the seasons. Starting the day after Halloween, there will be loads of orange bins on sale. Or you can snag green or red bins on sale after Christmas. These tubs take up valuable shelf space, so stores want to make way for new merchandise.”
—Natasha Rachel Smith, money-saving expert at TopCashBack.com
Get creative to corral kids’ clothing.
“I’ve seen color-coded organizers to help kids keep their clothes divided, but they’re pricey! So I came up with a DIY option: I tied ribbons to the knobs of each kid’s dresser to signify what goes in each drawer, so brown is for socks and blue is for underwear. For large drawers, I tie a ribbon on each side — one for pants, one for T-shirts. This system cost me mere pennies and it makes mornings easier: The kids know to pull one item from each section.”
—Mary Woods, mom of three, Madison, WI
Hit the grocery store for surprise savings.
“I’ve always been able to find so many great deals on food at Aldi, but I was surprised to discover that they also have plenty of low-cost home-organization options. For example, I snapped up $5 over-the-door metal baskets that hold everything from cleaning products to wrapping paper, and heavy-duty metal and wood shelving for the garage for just $28 — similar options were selling at The Home Depot starting at $59!”
—Kara Scott, mom of two, St. Louis
Dress up dollar-store basics
“The dollar store is a gold mine when it comes to organizing — you’ll find plastic bins and totes for $1 each that are identical to ones you’d get in Target and elsewhere. The key to making them look more expensive is to go for solid colors and get matching pieces so they look cohesive. Places like Dollar General even have coupons, like $5 off a $25 purchase—that’s like getting five containers for free!”
—Cassandra Aarssen, owner of ClutterBug.com
Stock up at the garden center
“A great tip for storage is to utilize the space under your bed by purchasing long plastic window boxes at the garden store, filling them with hats, belts or extra towels and sheets, then sliding them under a bed. And they’re on sale now since it’s the end of the season. While you’re at the garden store, check the clearance section for small flowerpots, then put them in a junk drawer to use as catchalls for every-thing from elastics to safety pins.”
—Francesco Bilotto, professional organizer at FrancescoBilotto.com
Save on top-of-the line kitchen organizers.
“A restaurant supplier doesn’t seem like the first place you’d go for products to organize your kitchen, but these stores offer simple, affordable tools that make your space look professional — and entry is usually free to the public. You can pick up stainless steel S-hooks, attach them to a paper-towel rack or tension rod, and hang mugs on them, or get magnetic strips to store knives for $7 each [just stick the knives on the magnet]. If you don’t have a store near you, check sites like WebstaurantStore.com.”
—Rosie Williams, mom of three, Kansas City, KS
Store off-season clothes here.
“Suitcases take up a lot of space in closets, and we only use them a few times a year. So I like to repurpose them as storage the rest of the year. During the summer, you can stash thick sweaters; during the winter months, you can tuck away bathing suits, sandals and summer clothes. If you don’t have a large suitcase on hand, you can pick one up for next to nothing at a thrift shop or garage sale. I also like to use old pillow-cases as garment bags for clothes I don’t wear often. Just cut a slit in the center of the closed end of the pillow-case, then slide a hanger through the hole and hang your clothes.”
—Jeanette Pavini, savings expert at Coupons.com
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.