25 Affordable Home Organization Ideas

These tips will bring order to your home – and keep it that way.

U.S. News & World Report

25 Affordable Home Organization Ideas

Adjusting the height of your kitchen cabinet shelves can help you stay organized and find items faster.(Getty Images)

Getting organized is one thing, but staying organized is another. Once you’ve decluttered your home, it’s important to set up a system that will keep your storage spaces, surfaces and floors neat in the long term.

But you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on designer organizational tools. Here are 25 affordable home organization ideas you can incorporate today:

Store books, blankets and other miscellaneous items out of sight with a bench, coffee table or ottoman that doubles as a storage space. While investing in furniture can get pricey quickly, storage ottomans and tables start as low at $55 at marketplaces like Wayfair and Home Depot.

If your home doesn’t have many closets or cabinets, you'll have to find creative places to put things away. “When you live in a small space, you have to use every crevice,” says Chelsey Brown, creator of the lifestyle blog “City Chic Decor” and author of the book “Rental Style: The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Your Apartment or Small Home.” Brown explains that in her New York City apartment, she’ll stash thin items like trays for entertaining or artwork not currently on the walls behind floor-length curtains, or even behind her dresser.

There’s always a chair or corner of the room that tends to pile up with clothes, papers or other things that you just don’t feel like putting away yet. To make it look neater, Brown recommends placing a basket with a lid in the spot you always toss things to serve as a catch-all. “Throw things in that basket, and once what’s in the basket reaches the top, that’s when you know it’s time to put everything away,” she says.

When storage is limited, use every available space as a storage solution. Marketplaces like Ikea, Wayfair and Home Goods sell narrow cabinets and bookshelves designed to fit in a corner, and short sets of shelves can double as a side table.

Shelves installed on your walls can make for more dynamic decor options, and they can also keep books, candles or other items from piling up on your coffee table or floor.

Most kitchen cabinet shelves can be moved up or down, but few people take the time to adjust them. By making your cabinet work better for you, you’ll find the food item, spice or dish you’re looking for faster.

In your cabinets, closets or even fridge, a shelf riser sits on a shelf and serves as an additional surface to layer items on top of each other. “It allows you to double the amount of items you can store,” Brown says.

If you’re finding that the drawers and shelves in your refrigerator get overcrowded, additional plastic bins can help you organize. Label bins to serve as designated spots for school lunch ingredients, meat or anything else that you want to find easily.

Add a Lazy Susan to Your Cabinets

Whether you buy a lot of canned goods, use a variety of spices in your cooking or just aren’t tall enough to see to the back of your kitchen cabinets, a Lazy Susan could be the solution to your problem. These rotating trays make it easy to see every item you store in the space, and many can be put in a cabinet, refrigerator or even out on the counter. You can find Lazy Susans anywhere from Target to Lowe’s, and they come as cheap as $5.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Keep the contents of your refrigerator from getting out of hand by sorting through all shelves and drawers every time you add new groceries. Check expiration dates and toss stinky leftovers or old food, and move anything with an expiration date in the near future to the front of the fridge to encourage you to eat it soon.

Everyone has a junk drawer, but it’s time to decide where those items belong for good. Useful tools or items you occasionally need can be kept in the drawer with a simple drawer organizer. But unused notebooks, company swag or other trinkets should be stored elsewhere or donated.

Keep cabinet shelves neater by utilizing the space behind the doors for items that may take up a lot of space laying flat, but can be more compact if you hang them up. Brown says temporary stick-on hooks on cabinet doors – or even the side of the cabinet – can be the perfect spot for rags, hair appliances, scarves and more.

Short storage bins on wheels designed to fit under a bed are perfect for storing out-of-season clothes, jackets and keepsakes you don’t want to keep on display.

In a kid’s bedroom, stuffed animals are often all over the place. You can get them off the floor and give them a rightful home by attaching a basket or net to the wall so they have a place to be when not in use.

A cotton T-shirt may be easy to fold and pack into a drawer, but more delicate or luxurious items in your wardrobe should be cared for even while they’re sitting in your closet. Marty Basher, organization specialist for Modular Closets, says hanging clothes should always be zipped and buttoned while in the closet to avoid wrinkles. Delicate fabrics like knitted wool or cashmere sweaters are better folded and loosely packed in a drawer because “these materials can warp and stretch if left to hang in a closet,” Basher wrote in an email.

Whether you live in an apartment with tiny closets or you simply have a lot of clothes, the closet space you have may not be enough. As a solution, Brown recommends a wardrobe rack to provide additional hanging space. To keep your clothes out of sight, Basher says armoires can be found for fairly cheap through big-box stores like Ikea. “They provide an instant closet and also look great in most rooms of your home,” he says.

To manage your shoes better and keep them from becoming a pile in your closet, get a hanging shoe organizer. “I love using the vertical space behind the door. That works 10 times better than using a shoe rack in your closet,” Brown says.

Make laundry day easier by keeping three hampers for different laundry loads: whites, darks and colors. Because they hold one-third of the clothes, these hampers can be smaller to easily fit on the floor of your closet, or they can be narrow to fit between furniture in your bedroom.

It’s easier to find clothes in your closet when it’s not overflowing, so clear it out when the weather changes for the season. Sweaters, warm pants and jackets can be stored in the summer, and your swimsuits and sandals can be put away in winter in storage bins or vacuum-sealed bags.

Your closet typically starts as a simple bar to hang clothes, sometimes with a shelf on top. Creating a custom closet can be pricey, but you can achieve similar organization by adding baskets, bins, hooks and racks that make it clear where each item belongs. “The best tip I can offer is to have a ‘home’ for every item that goes in your closet. This idea not only makes tidying up easy, it also makes it so you always know where everything is,” Basher says.

To keep your wardrobe from expanding beyond your storage space, always be ready to make the call to donate or sell a top, bag or pair of shoes that doesn’t fit or doesn’t appeal to you anymore. Keep it from getting lost in the sea of other clothes by putting it in a designated spot for castaways, either in a bin at the bottom of your closet or close to your front door to remind you to take the clothes to Goodwill or Buffalo Exchange when it’s full. “Removing them straight away helps keep your closet at its best,” Basher says.

A magnetic strip attached to your wall can take the place of containers you would otherwise need to keep on a countertop. Magnetic strips are an easy solution for storing things like bobby pins, or even replacing the need for a knife block in your kitchen.

Get the loofahs and bottle of shampoo off the edges of your bathtub with a simple shower caddy that can hang from your shower head or attach to the tile wall with a suction cup.

To keep control of your life both inside and outside the home, display a calendar in a prominent location that you update with events as they are scheduled, whether it’s a birthday, planned travel or a donation pickup. Any wall calendar can work, but a dry-erase calendar allows you to change plans easily and eliminates the need to buy a new one every year.

A home only stays organized if you keep working at it, so make picking up and putting things away a part of your routine. When done daily, it should only take a few minutes. Brown says she finds that picking up is ideal for her first thing in the morning. “You’ll feel so much better; you’ll feel more energized, and you won’t feel that anxiety of, ‘Oh, I have to clean that later,’” she says.

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