Enlist your creative side by repurposing everyday objects into organizing tools. You don’t need to buy anything to create effective systems to organize your home. My clients often ask me, “What should I buy to keep me organized?” I tell them that the most economical, eco-friendly, and perhaps even artistic way to stay organized is to repurpose items already in the home.
Repurposing has a dual meaning. It can mean saving something from the garbage and making it useful; it can also mean giving something new life by using it differently than its original intended use. Before you throw away what may seem useless, like a shoebox for example, stop to consider if it might hold household items that need a home. A sturdy shoebox is a great place to store receipts, photographs, bills, etc. You can decorative the shoebox to complement your home décor by covering it with material or paper. Something as simple as putting washi tape or paint on an aluminum can gives it new life as a pencil holder, vase, utensil holder, paintbrush holder, you name it. Also, consider items at the back of your closet that rarely see the light of day. Items that are old, worn out, only useful on special occasions, or no longer productive in their original form, can be changed into something new, creative, and useful. Stored vases are great storage containers and can be used to display items like crayons or dry pasta. That beautiful serving bowl you haven’t used since your wedding, or that only makes it out of the cabinet three times a year, can be used for mail storage. Wouldn’t you rather see that beautiful bowl than a stack of mail?
Repurposing items from your home is practical and money-saving. There’s no need to buy items from organization stores if you can create similar versions of their products with objects you already own. And the ethical implications are huge: rather than feed into the pervasive throwaway culture, you’re reusing what you would have taken from the planet’s resources. Quite simply, the less we throw away, the less that ends up in landfills. So, go get creative—increase the life of unwanted objects, reduce your household’s waste, and eliminate your clutter without breaking the bank!
- In the office. Use iPhone boxes to store office supplies in a desk. They are constructed beautifully and small enough to group tiny items (think paperclips or rubber bands). Pasta jars make great pencil holders and glass water bottles are perfect vases.
- In the kitchen. Store flour and sugar in old tin oatmeal containers, use milk jugs as bird feeders, and line your vegetable drawers with excess bubble wrap. One of my favorite tips: use the liners from cereal boxes as a replacement for wax paper when baking!
- In the bathroom. Empty candle jars can be repurposed into beautiful glass jars for the bathroom. Clean them after use and peel off the label, and they can store Q-tips and cotton balls. Egg cartons work well to corral jewelry. Use one niche each for earrings, pins, or necklaces.