How to Get Organized without Spending a Lot of Money

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the word, “organization”? If you’re like me, you probably think of a bunch of neat and tidy bins or containers all lined up in a perfect row, with matching labels and not a thing out of place.

But while organization can look like this at times, I’ve learned that going out and buying a bunch of pretty (and sometimes expensive) bins will not automatically make me organized, nor are expensive bins a requirement of organization. In fact, it is totally possible to get organized without spending a lot of money at all!

This post has so many fantastic ideas for getting organized without spending a lot of money! Must pin! Click through to see her genius tips and tricks!

I have admitted many times on the blog that I am cheap thrifty, so I am always looking for ways to save, particularly when it comes to organization. Through the years, I have discovered several ways to keep costs down while still implementing super efficient organizational systems.

Organized pantry with decanted baking items, pasta, and spices

Grab our free organizing guide, 7 Simple Starting Points!

This quick guide gives you 7 simple, practical ways to begin to tackle an overwhelming organizing project. (And once you get started, the momentum will help you keep going until it’s complete!)

1. Purge (& Sell!)

Any time I organize anything, purging is the #1 thing I do, and if our goal is to organize on the cheap, it only makes sense– the less stuff you have, the less it will cost to get it organized! Start with one area of your home (maybe the one that bugs you the most!) and be ruthless. Get rid of anything that is broken or stained. If there are things you don’t use anymore, say good-bye to those too. Only keep the items that you absolutely need and/or love.

The KonMari Method Clothes Organization | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{This is what our house looks like mid-purge– it has to get worse before it gets better! 😉 }

Other than getting rid of clutter, another upside of purging is that you will likely find items that may not be useful to you anymore, but that someone else needs. These items can be sold at a yard sale or on Craigslist or Facebook. (See this post for tips on how to effectively sell on Craigslist and in Facebook groups.) This first step of your organization process is actually making you some money– win!

Smart ways to make money on Craigslist and Facebook while you declutter your house at the same time! It's a win-win! Click through to the post for helpful tips!

2. Recycle

I am always amazed at the organizational tools that I can find for FREE when I recycle everyday items that would otherwise be thrown away. Some of my favorite things to recycle are…

  • Shoeboxes- I have used these in sock drawers to keep things organized and separated. I’ve used them to corral items under the sink or to store craft supplies. They can even hold small toys or kids’ items.
The KonMari Method Clothes Organization | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{I use a shoebox covered in wrapping paper to keep Donnie’s socks organized!}

  • Diaper boxes- Diaper boxes are great because they are big and can hold larger items! I used diaper boxes in my craft closet for years to store picture frames and canvases and decor items. I’ve used them to hold hand-me-downs in the Cs’ room and to store holiday decorations in the garage.
  • Cereal boxes- These can be cut down so that they’re just a few inches high, and then they make perfect drawer dividers to hold office supplies!
  • Glass jars- Think spaghetti jars, pickle jars, candle jars, baby food jars, jelly jars, etc. Wash them out, remove the label, and they can be perfect for storing small craft supplies, hair ties and bobby pins, cotton balls, q-tips, and other small items.
  • Cans- Cleaned out paint cans can be used to store everything from tools in the garage to small toys and office supplies. Soup or vegetable cans are perfect for holding pencils, pens, and markers.
  • Scrap wood- Scrap wood can be turned into risers to store cans or spice jars in the pantry more efficiently.

There are a million different things you can recycle and use for organization without spending any money at all! If you have an idea in mind but don’t have the item in your house, ask friends and family to save things for you– they’ll be glad you took it off their hands!

3. Get Creative with What You Have

Beyond recycling cans and boxes, I would bet that we all have some containers in our home that could be used for something other than their intended purpose. I have used trash cans and laundry hampers to help organize wrapping paper. I use extra plates to help corral my jewelry or hair supplies.

Shortly after we were married, Donnie and I bought some super cheap “pantry bins” from Wal-Mart, and in the 10 years we’ve had them, they’ve held shoes, toilet paper, painting supplies, craft items, toys, exercise equipment, and they might have been in the actual pantry for a little while too!

High/Low Bathroom Cabinet Organization | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{Our 10 year old pantry bins are still going strong and now hold tissues and toilet paper in our guest bathroom!}

Storage crates are another item that have come in handy. The same inexpensive crates from my college days have held binders, the Cs’ outdoor toys, shoes, beach accessories, and more.

4. Make It Pretty

Just because we’re using something that is recycled or that we already have doesn’t mean we have to leave it as-is. I often wrap cans and boxes in wrapping paper or scrapbook paper to make them prettier. Paint is another quick and easy option that I always have on hand. Washi tape or decorative duct tape can make recycled items prettier as well.

This post has so many fantastic ideas for getting organized without spending a lot of money! Must pin! Click through to see her genius tips and tricks!

{I wrapped these plain shoe boxes in pretty paper and added a DIY label for functional, beautiful under-the-sink storage!}

I always love to finish of my organizational systems with pretty labels, and you don’t have to have a fancy machine to make them yourself! I have a super easy tutorial for making your own pretty labels in Microsoft Word in this post. You’ll be able to make exactly what you want just using the paper and ink you probably already have!

5. Find Inexpensive Storage Options

Finally, if I’ve purged ruthlessly, recycled items, used what I have, made it all pretty, and I still need some containers for various items, I have a few go-to places that I look first.

  • Yard sales- I am always surprised at the great storage solutions that people get rid of for super cheap at yard sales!
  • Dollar Tree- I always peruse their storage section, particularly for storing the Cs’ smaller toys.
This post has so many fantastic ideas for getting organized without spending a lot of money! Must pin! Click through to see her genius tips and tricks!

{Plastic Dollar Tree bins in the Cs’ room}

  • Target Dollar Spot- I have to watch myself here! They often have really cute plastic containers, little pails and bins, and inexpensive glass jars for $1 or $3. I try very hard only to buy what I need, though, because even those little purchases can add up!
This post has so many fantastic ideas for getting organized without spending a lot of money! Must pin! Click through to see her genius tips and tricks!

{Mason jar and cute striped pail to help with medicine cabinet organization, both from Target Dollar Spot!}

  • Thrift stores- Similar to yard sales, people often discard things they can no longer use, but with a little TLC, their trash can turn into storage treasures!

It is totally possible to get organized without spending a lot of money. Yes, it may take more creativity, DIY, and a little bit of extra searching, but that little bit of extra effort can turn into big savings in the long run, AND you can still have those organized spaces you’ve been dreaming of!

What are your favorite tips for organizing on a budget?

Happy {Thrifty} Organizing, friends! 🙂

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12 Comments

  1. Denise Greenwood (frazzled JOY) says:

    Great tips Abby! Dollar Tree is my favorite place for storage bins!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Denise! Gotta love Dollar Tree! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Shannon Leigh says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth, about Target’s Dollar Spot! ! I LOVE their bins and jars, and the fact that the price is right and they’re aways changing the inventory, BUT, it’s a good idea to ONLY LOOK WHEN YOU NEED SOMETHING….Thanks for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Um, seriously. The Dollar Spot can be dangerous if you’re not careful, lol! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, Shannon!

      ~Abby =)

  3. James Pollard says:

    I just purged all the clutter in my space – I ended up giving it to charity. I like getting the deduction too 🙂

  4. Amazing ideas Abby! You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to get organized. Recently saw a post (sorry! can’t remember where!) and the woman spray painted dollar store bins. I’ve found some fun things at yard sales too. And I’m always amazed that people get rid of silver plates and bowls. I scoop those up at Goodwill for pennies! It doesn’t take much to polish them and they look so pretty holding my makeup brushes and perfumes etc. Loved this post!

  5. annasdiabetes says:

    Great idea about reusing the cereal boxes. They look sooo cute! This goes on the list of my next projects.

    Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  6. I’m going to bookmark this one. I loathe the task of organizing, but once it’s done, the world is just a brighter place. 😀 Thank you for all the tips on making organization affordable and pretty!

  7. Mirline K says:

    Nice post Abby. Target – dollar spot – is my favorite place to go first before going anywhere else. With your tips & pretty pictures I find myself purging and actually organizing more & more. Thanks. xo

  8. natashasolae says:

    I seriously NEEDED this post. My kitchen pantry is like a total unorganized mess right now due to all of the tupperware everywhere. I really want to start investing into getting some cheap baskets to just put stuff in. I think it would be alot easier to get the S/O on board that way as well.

    xo, N
    http://www.natashasolae.com

  9. Abby, I love this post because it’s so easy to get caught up in the Pinterest version of organization, where it’s not worth doing if it’s not fit for a magazine. Sometimes everything can be perfectly coordinated and sometimes you have to work with what you have to get the job done. Great suggestions!

  10. These are great ideas! I’m pretty organized but I still have a few areas that need some help! Thanks for the inspiration.

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