A recent trip to the Container Store inspired me to become more organized. I decided I needed to organize my very small and cluttered closet. Then I looked at the price tags. There was no way I could afford to spend $200 on a system of boxes, shelves and cubbies.
What I like so much about places like the Container Store is they offer an organizational solution for any item you can possibly have in your home. But upon further consideration, I realized I don’t need clear boxes for each pair of shoes; I need shelves. I went home and looked for something that might serve as a shelf. I found one that fit perfectly in my closet. Unfortunately, I only had one, and I have a lot of shoes. I kept it in the back of my mind as I ran errands. I ended up at Target and found a matching shelf for only $14. Right now, it’s priced at $10.99 online.
I had been inspired to set up vertical shelves to hold my folded pants, but I just couldn’t spend $200 on a wire shelving unit. I looked at Home Depot, but the prices were still high, and the results were so permanent. As I was sorting clothes, I found an old hanging sweater bag I’d bought during college. It’s identical to this one, only $14 at Container Store. I knew I’d kept it for a reason. I put it up, and put away my pants. It works as well, if not better than a built-in shelf system. I know a lot of people used these in college so it’s good to ask to see if a friend or relative has one lying around unused. Target and even Bed Bath & Beyond have their own versions, too. If you go to Bed Bath & Beyond, don’t forget to check your mail for one of its $5 off coupons to bring along.
Finally, I decided I did love those slim-line velvet hangers (no more clothes slipping off onto the floor!) and I just had to have them in my beautiful new closet. Sometimes you have to splurge, but wisely. I checked out Costco and got 30 hangers for $10 in store (the deal doesn’t appear online). If you’re not a member, check out places like T.J. Maxx, for sets of 20 for $7. Amazon has 50 for under $25. Don’t spend more than 50 cents per hanger. You can find a better deal.
The total cost of closet makeover was $24 for the shelf and hangers. If I had needed to buy another shelf and hanging sweater organizer, I still would have spent less than $60. If I had done the original makeover, I would have paid $30 for hangers, $37 for shoe boxes and up to $250 for a vertical shelving system.
Here are some other items I’ve re-purposed into functional organizational treasures:
- Drawer dividers: Instead of buying them, make your own. Cut up cardboard boxes to the right length with an pair of scissors or a utility knife. If you want to make the dividers pretty, wrap them in contact paper.
- Shelves: Use milk crates turned on their sides to hold linens, jackets, books and anything else that will fit. When they’re inside a closet, they don’t have to be the prettiest. They just need to function.
- Decorative storage boxes: Instead of buying adorably decorated boxes to put around the home, make them out of old shoe boxes using either heavy-duty wrapping paper or contact paper. If you’re really crafty, you can paint the boxes to match your room, then store photos, reading material or remote controls inside.
- Over-the-door fabric shoe holder: Don’t let the name trick you. These multi-pocket hanging racks are a perfect catch-all for any closet. You can use one in the coat closet to hold hats, umbrellas, bug spray — anything you need to grab on your way out the door.
- Over-the-door plastic shoe rack: Are you out of cabinet space? These racks are great for holding cleaning supplies in laundry rooms, kitchens or garages.