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6 Cheap Ways To Organize The Stuff In Your Home That Never Gets Attention

As much as I clean and organize, I almost never feel like my apartment is fully done. It always feels like there’s another stray item to put away or corner of the room I need to scrub or vacuum — I guess that’s the consequence of living in my home, rather than just making it into a minimalist showroom and leaving it perfect and on-display.

But because of this, I’m always on the hunt for new and unique ways to organize my space — especially because it is a small-ish apartment with a lot less space than I’d prefer (I’m def not a city person — I much prefer a spacious home with a sprawling yard, but I’m 23 and short on cash, so this has to do for now). I’ve been working on getting it “set-up” since I moved in back in late May, and although it feels closer to finished every weekend of DIY projects and rearranging, I’m still constantly scouring Pinterest for innovative design and organizational ideas.

So, today I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites that I’ve recently implemented to make my home-organization just a little bit easier. Here are six cheap and genius ways to organize any space — even the ones you normally might neglect.

1. Separate and store bobby pins/hair clips/hair ties.

If you’re anything like me (lots of hair, lots of small hair accessories to tame it) you probably find random hair ties and bobby pins floating around in every bathroom drawer and lurking on essentially every surface in your home. My fix for this: separate them in tiny little jars, as seen here on Pinterest. My jars happen to be old candle jars, which I cleaned out and repurposed so I wouldn’t have to go buy new ones for my hair junk — however, if you don’t have any candles or leftover jars lying around, buying a package of small mason jars on Amazon is cheap and easy (and looks cute as hell on a bathroom shelf).

2. Sheets folded inside pillowcase

This is another awesome Pinterest trick that I love, because as someone in a small-ish apartment without a ton of storage space, I never really know of the best and most attractive way to store my linens. I’ve tried rolling towels and sheets and keeping them in baskets, folding them in closets, etc. But they often end up separated from their families (there is always a rogue pillowcase that goes missing somehow) and getting sloppy in the closet. This folding trick keeps everything neatly packed together with their matching pieces, so you can always locate what you’re looking for, and all the pieces of the matching set are always right where you need them to be.

3. Implement a mail-storage-system.

100% the quickest way I accumulate clutter is by leaving mail I don’t care about out on the kitchen table, the counters, my desk, my bedside table, etc. because I don’t want to throw it away before I check it out, but I’m not ready to commit to opening/reading it yet. The best solution I’ve found to this problem has been implementing a system to store all incoming mail, similar to this. I found an inexpensive mail sorter, and each day when the mail comes in, Drew’s mail goes in his slot and my mail goes in mine, so we can sort through and check it out at our convenience without allowing it to take over our dining room table.  

     

4. Organize “random” things you usually leave out into opaque baskets/bins.

“Random” things meaning blankets, spare linens, overflow/backup products that aren’t being used, magazines/books you don’t care to display, etc.

As for the “opaque” part: as much as I love the industrial-looking trend of crates and wire baskets for storage, I don’t want people to see all the junk I’m shoving in my storage bins, so it just isn’t practical for me. Sometimes, even better than the organization itself is the illusion of organization. There are some things you simply aren’t going to be able to downsize, so shoving those collections somewhere safe where you won’t have to look at them and think about how much clutter they make is great. I do this with things like winter accessories, extra rags/kitchen towels, books I like to keep but don’t want to show off on a shelf, and small seasonal pieces that don’t have a home in my storage closet but shouldn’t necessarily be on display year-round. Bonus: make sure the baskets/bins/whatever you store your things in match, at least in color or style. Things that are tied together either by their shape or color automatically look like they came in a set together, so they look more uniform and like they make sense sitting next to each-other. 

5. Overhaul your fridge.

Opening my refrigerator is like looking into the abyss. It is just a black hole of leftover taco meat from two weeks ago that got pushed to the back and forgotten about, vegetables that were put in the crisper and never removed, and cartons of milk from god knows when because neither Drew nor myself drink milk. I need to get my shit together in this area, and I’m going to go hard. These little fridge drawers (which can be purchased here) clip on to the shelves and slide out to keep everything in its place and easily accessible. There are also a ton of other options for fridge organization, like plastic containers/separaters, that I think I’ll implement. In addition to just putting this organizational tools inside the fridge, you need to give yourself a rule to maintain the cleanliness and not let it become a disaster-zone that also includes pieces of plastic: if it doesn’t fit in one of your organizers, you probably have too much shit in the fridge, and need to do a clear-out.

6. Clean up and simplify your laundry space.

This is obviously only for people who have a laundry room in their home or an in-unit washer/dryer, but coming from someone who has one that is extremely inconveniently placed (in a random closet with zero space surrounding for detergent/laundry basket/any laundry items to go), the convenience of having your own is sometimes overshadowed by how annoying it is to have fabric softener and dryer sheets and laundry detergent taking over your coat closet. If you have the space somewhere, a little setup like this does the trick — putting the detergent and other clothes-cleaning liquids into pretty containers that can easily dispense the product prevents the big plastic eyesore bottles from living on-display in your bathroom, and makes sure that you can get the product easily dispensed and put into the machine without having to lift a 10lb bottle and inevitably spill a sticky, chemical-y mess of laundry detergent on the floor. (Wait, am I the only one who routinely does that?)

Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at mary@thefinancialdiet.com!

Image via Unsplash 

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  • Lauren E

    Storage containers of any kind are my absolute weakness. Any sort of jar, bin, basket, tin, tote, or box just makes my heart flutter. 😛 Some good cheap places to get these sorts of items are Five Below and TJ Maxx.

  • Jack

    I put a “no flyers” sticker in my apartment mailbox at the last place I lived and it was awesome. I haven’t done that at my new place, but there’s a recycling bin right there so it saves me from bringing extra papers up and then down again.

  • I use a paperclip holder (from office supply) for my bobby pins. Easy to get, and if I knock it over the pins don’t go flying everywehre.

    • Ella

      Dang that’s smart!

  • Duskpunk

    The irony of running across this while I’m listening to KonMari (again, to get psyched up about purging/packing to move).

  • Anne-Marie

    I’ve never seen the point of buying additional fridge containers (unless maybe you have kids and need a dedicated snack drawer) – they just take up more space and create more clutter in my opinion. I think you’d be better off just doing a deep clean and purge and keep track of what you have moving forward (and stop buying milk if you don’t drink it…). You can always organize your fridge by areas (without more containers) – like cheese/meats drawer, condiments shelf, liquids shelf (juice, coffee creamer, wine), veggies drawer etc. Good luck!