budget talk

The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting Organized

One way to quickly lose money is to be disorganized. You forget where you place items and then you rush out to buy a new one, only to find the original item a few days later. And jumbled closets with clothes that you buy, but they never get worn. Bills that get hidden and don’t get paid and yes, you get stuck with the late fees. The list goes on. Getting organized always seems to find its way to my New Year’s Resolution list every year. So what holds me back time after time? Not the hassle of getting organized, but the cost of all the stuff you need to organize your home and life. And if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional organizer…that’s one of my dream scenarios, here are some tips and resources I’ve found.

A One Stop Organizing Site
I’ve found this site, www.onlineorganizing.com is a great place to start before you do any type of organizing. It has lots of links, articles, templates, etc. Put aside an hour or so and do some browsing and note taking.

It’s Free!
The words ‘it’s free’ are definitely music to the Budget Smart Girl’s ears. Someone told me about this site, and best of all it’s free to register and use www.cozi.com. From this site you can create a shopping list and coordinate everyone’s schedule. And if you need a calendar for each room in the house or for each member of the family, check out this site www.printfree.com

They Had Other Uses
I’ve found that the large organizing boxes won’t break the bank, but for some reason the smaller ones seem to be pricey. So I went looking for other items that serve the same purpose and can sometimes be found sitting around the house.

When our old refrigerator broke and needed replacing, I decided to use the old fixtures as organizers. The produce bins are now used for paintbrushes and rollers in the basement. In the pantry, they store boxes of rice mix and macaroni and cheese. The dairy container now sits next to the washer and dryer and is home for loose buttons etc.
And the wire racks from the freezer section are perfect for keeping pots and seed trays organized in the potting shed.

And how many articles on organizing your closest show all the shoes lined up in their own containers with photos on the front? I priced how much it would cost to do this, and it didn’t fit into my budget. My solution is to store off-season shoes like sandals and flip flops in those cereal boxes such as those made by Simple Harvest. They’re perfect for flip flops and have a window so you can actually see what’s in there.

I also use old oatmeal canisters for storing craft items like knitting needles. And old vases keep pens and pencils organized on my desk.

In the kitchen, attractive glass soda bottles are perfect containers for lentils and split peas.
So my advice, plenty of items, and yes, ones we often throw away, can be turned into organizing containers.

The Closet
For me, the closets are some of the hardest areas of the house to get and keep organized. I’ve ditched wire hangers and now use plastic ones. And I’ve color coded them too. White for blouses, blue for jackets, etc. I face winter and summer clothes in opposite directions on the rail, and loop the plastic ties from the garbage bags on any hanger with clothes that needing mending or cleaning.

Maximize Space
Most of us think we’re running out of space in our homes, when in fact, we’re just disorganized. For example, as I love to cook, I have lots of appliances. I used to keep them all on the countertop and it gave the kitchen a cluttered look. Now I store things like the mixer and bread machine in the cupboard above the fridge. And just keep ones like the toaster and electric kettle on the countertop.

Best Places to Buy Organizing Items
My favorite place to buy supplies for getting organized has to be IKEA. Just strolling around one of their stores gives me no end of ideas. And best thing is everything is reasonably priced. If you don’t have one in your area of the world, you can shop online at www.ikea.com I also think Target stores www.target.com offer a good variety of items and at prices that fit into most budgets. And don’t forget online stores, like www.collectionsetc.com and www.lakeside.com. I’ve also found good deals with www.harrietcarter.com and www.carolwrightgifts.com

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