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Frugal steps to an organized home

By on July 16, 2009

organize
photo by ifindkarma

An organized home doesn’t have to break the bank. You don’t need to buy tons of fancy and expensive supplies, hire a professional or spend hours of your time. But you do need to be disciplined, creative and resourceful. You also need to allow yourself to own some practical tools to make your life easier, too. Fortunately, many of these tools can be found free or cheap. One reader, Pemberlyan from Alabama, shares: “I like to pick up plastic magazine organizers at thrift stores, along with plastic bins, file crates and other containers. When I worked in an office, I always collected the copy paper boxes. They’re great for a variety of storage with their removable lids.”
Try these suggestions, too.

DECLUTTER: Work one room at a time. Start with a project, such as a closet, dresser or kitchen cabinets. Commit to removing X amount of items from your home each week. Walk around with a bag or box and start filling it. Toss, share, sell or donate what you can.

CONTAINERS: Look around your home. Containers such as shoe boxes, baskets, ice cube trays, tackle boxes, baby-food jars, tin cans, wall hooks, pegboards, glass jars, coffee canisters, plastic ice cream tubs, etc., are perfect for many organizing projects. Older clothing can become cleaning rags, too. Still need containers? Buy items such as plastic totes or even popcorn tins after holidays, when stores place seasonal items on clearance. Cheaper still, check wholesale clubs for boxes when you shop, secondhand sources or dollar stores. Consider using boxes stored on shelves and plastic containers on floors in case of any potential water damage.

ESTABLISH A ROUTINE: Create a checklist. You can use a piece of paper and a plastic page protector, so you can mark things off, and it’s reusable. Or use index cards or junk-mail envelopes. Assign a room per day. Once they’re cleaned, do a daily once over or spot check, and add one task, such as vacuuming, mopping, sweeping or dusting.

CLEANING: Clean in five- to 15-minute bursts of time instead of trying to make an entire day of it. You can empty the dishwasher, toss out junk mail, vacuum, switch over laundry, sweep, change sheets, take out the trash or clean a toilet or sink, to name a few. Assign one of these mini tasks to each family member to accomplish more. Put some music on or set a timer and create some friendly competition. Chances are that once you get started, you’ll have the motivation to tackle more. Many tasks can be done simultaneously, too. For example, fold a load of laundry while food cooks or run the dishwasher while you vacuum. Also, assemble a cleaning caddy so everything you need is readily available and portable.

MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANERS: You’ll pay less, avoid chemicals and buy fewer types of individual products, so it takes up less space. Another reader, Reba from Maryland, shares: “We mainly use vinegar/water for cleaning. Microfiber cloths eliminate a lot of the multipurpose cleaners I used to use. We use baking soda or Bon Ami for abrasive cleaning.”

SHARE: If you need an expensive item to help you clean, such as a ladder or steam cleaner, check if family has one you can borrow, or see if anyone would like to split the cost of one to share.

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns Castalia Coffee Roasting Company, Follow me on Twitter

One Comment

  1. bluntmoney

    7/16/2009 at 2:56 pm

    I agree — being organized doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. Mostly it means getting rid of unnecessary stuff and taking a minute to put things away properly as soon as you’re done using them.

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