There are a lot of benefits to having an organized home. For example, it’s easier to find things when they’re always stored in the same place, and reducing clutter can also have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
But as much as we’d all like to live in a perfectly organized home, the journey to getting organized can be challenging — not to mention expensive, especially if you go the retail route. Even simple accessories at home organization stores can cost hundreds of dollars. So how can you create a cheap home organization system that does the job at a much lower price?
You can start by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- Can I repurpose something I already have?
- If not, can I design something out of things I have around the house, like cardboard from products shipped to me or items my children no longer need?
- If that doesn’t work, can I purchase something second-hand that is still in great condition?
- If none of the above work, can I purchase a simple solution from a discount store?
You’ll be amazed at how many home organization solutions you can create by repurposing something you already have. And if not, look for a cheap solution vs. paying full price at the fancy organization store.
How can I organize my house cheaply?
The best way to start your home organization journey is to come up with clear goals. This can help you avoid a costly makeover of your entire house. Some cheap and simple organizing ideas and goals might include:
- You want your laundry room/home office/kitchen to be easy to use and beautiful to look at.
- You want to make a small space, like a studio apartment, seem bigger.
- You want a decluttering strategy that doesn't take a lot of time to implement on an ongoing basis.
- You want your home decor to be functional as well as tasteful.
Once you know what you're aiming to achieve, you can create more precise and actionable steps to get there.
Where can I find materials?
Some of the best sources of cheap organization tools are already in your recycling bin! Typical packaging ranging from plastic baby wipe boxes to cardboard boxes can be repurposed for a variety of uses.
Thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales are also excellent resources for second-hand storage items. Score these items at a fraction of their original price, then use them for years to come.
Lastly, check out local dollar stores, Walmart, and hardware stores for cheap home organization options.
16 Cheap Home Organization Ideas
1. Save glass jars for small-items storage
One of the best ways to stay organized without spending a dime is to repurpose glass or plastic jars. Wash and clean them thoroughly, use hot water to get labels to come off, and dry them out. Then, line up a row of the jars on a shelf and place your everyday items inside.
Whether you have push pins, old keys, pens, or pencils, putting your objects aside in one place will help you keep your surfaces and drawers clear from clutter.
2. Consolidate grocery bags in an old box
Grocery bags can pile up in your kitchen or get scattered throughout the house. Design an inexpensive little grocery bag station out of tissue boxes, wipe boxes or another sturdy package that makes them easy to store away but also easy to access.
Another plus? Saving your bags in one place is a great way to find one quickly the next time you’re in need.
3. Use take-out boxes to store kids’ toys
These days, many restaurants have ditched styrofoam in favor of plastic boxes with a clear lid, which can be perfect for storage. Whether you’re storing Lego building blocks or craft supplies like popsicle sticks or pom-poms, transparent takeout boxes can help you keep track of what you’ve got.
What's more? They’re often square, making them easy to stack.
4. Make a morning routine station
Have the members of your household create a list of all the items that you need to grab as you hustle to get to work or school — think purse, keys, face mask, etc.
Then, create a “morning routine station” in your entryway by repurposing an unused chest of drawers or a thrift-store end table. Put all the items you might need inside— your mornings will likely be a little less hectic.
5. Prep snacks and lunch items all at once
One of the best organizational strategies is a meal preparation schedule. Rather than making each meal individually, try to think ahead by making a larger amount of food that will last for several days. Store the food in small containers that you can quickly grab from the refrigerator or pantry.
Not only will this strategy save you time, but it will also save you the money you might otherwise have spent on spontaneous meals out.
6. Use a wall calendar to share schedules
A calendar can reflect your family's needs and activities. Consider putting a white board calendar in a prominent part of the house where people can add new events as needed.
If everyone in your home uses a cell phone, think about creating a family calendar through Google or iCal. That way, everyone will be able to stay on top of responsibilities and events— even on the go.
7. Try daily wipe downs
No one relishes the thought of giving a deep clean to the kitchen and bathroom. But if you do a little every day, you’ll have to deep clean less frequently.
Here’s how it works: every time you use the shower or the kitchen sink, take a sponge or washcloth and wipe down the surface. Even 30 seconds of daily TLC will save you work and elbow grease the next time you want to deep clean.
8. Get cheap baskets
It's amazing how a jumble of baby toys looks better in a basket than in a pile. It turns out the same goes for towels, clothes, toilet paper, toiletries, and just about any other random item.
Thrift stores like Goodwill often have stacks of inexpensive organizing baskets for sale, so you can pick out a few that match your home's style. Mount them on the wall to add a decorative touch.
9. Use drawer organizers
You'll be amazed how much more you can store in a drawer with partitions. Drawer organizers are also the surest way to see what you have and find items quickly.
If it sounds fancy, don’t worry— it’s also cheap. Most dollar stores offer stacks of simple plastic or cloth options.
10. Donate or pack away unused items
Reduce the chaos in your wardrobe by auditing it on a quarterly basis. As the seasons change, take 30 minutes to swap in the clothing you will need and store what you don't. Donate or discard any items you no longer use at all.
And if you haven’t worn something in six months, think about passing it on.
11. Use pegboards, hanging hooks and key organizers
You can save a lot of space by simply getting things off the floor and hanging them up on a wall. Hooks, trays or pegboards can help you manage everything from office supplies to crayons, gift wrap and toothbrushes.
If you don’t want to go on an IKEA binge, you can create your own DIY solution by simply hanging sturdy wooden backboards and shelves.
12. Use pantry hacks
A few simple hacks can go a long way in keeping your pantry clean and organized. Consider using lazy susan trays and stacking cans on cheap plastic risers, both of which make it easy to see the items in the back of your cupboard.
In addition, try to make everything in your kitchen accessible so that even the shortest person in your household can put an item back where it belongs after using it.
13. Personalize your storage with old boxes
Tastes in design can change quickly, so why not customize rooms and spaces without spending any money? Use non-toxic paint in your favorite color to decorate shipping boxes and turn them into under-bed organizers, ad-hoc shelving or other needed storage.
When you’re tired of the look or the boxes wear out, simply recycle them and make more!
14. Put documents in their place
Stacks of paper can make even an otherwise organized house look cluttered. To avoid the mess, create a designated, physical “inbox” where all documents, flyers and mail go. Clearly label it and make it large enough to accommodate bigger pieces of paper and folders.
Then, make a commitment to clear it out before it gets full by recycling unneeded papers and filing away important documents. Bonus tip: hang a bulletin board above the inbox so you can easily pin up important flyers and bills.
15. Put things away
If you have a craft-loving family, you’re probably used to desks and tables being left in disarray. Make an effort to put away all objects into a designated bin when you’re done with them. Similarly, if your children are finished with their homework, have them put papers and books in their backpacks instead of leaving things out.
Again, inexpensive cloth bins, recycled boxes or baskets from the dollar store can all be used to help.
16. Make the dish and laundry plan
Make a system for your dish and laundry clutter. Put signs up to remind family members to deliver all dishes to the sink or dishwasher. Similarly, make it clear where clean or folded laundry should end up and what people should do when they find a random shirt or sock, such as putting them into a closet or dresser.
When everyone is in on the plan, cleaning up will start to seem a little less like a chore.