Everyone knows it’s hard to get anything done when the house (or office, or desk, or anything) is a mess. For one thing, you can’t find any of the things necessary for getting work done because everything is a huge pile of old paperwork, food containers, and dirty socks. For another, there’s no way you are going to be comfortable perched atop said mound of paperwork and dirty socks and if there isn’t room for you, then there isn’t room for work. Or play. Or company. Or, you know, having a life like a functional adult.
But cleaning up, especially when it gets really bad, can be daunting. First, life gets in the way. You have to go to work, make meals, take care of kids, and (if you’re lucky) get some sleep. And hey, that marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn’t going to watch itself, right? Second, even if you have the time to clean, where do you start? And where does everything go?
Luckily, a bunch of cleaning enthusiasts came up with easy solutions to organizing your life that will not only look great, but are also affordable, many times using things you probably already have.
1. Bungee Cords: Good in the Home, Too
An old board and a bungee cord make for a cheap, lightweight rack to store not-too-heavy things like sunglasses, scarves and wires. Just thread the bungee cord through holes drilled into the boards and fasten with staples. If you want to get fancy, you can also decorate the board.
2. DIY Pen and Marker Holder
This nifty pen holder is made from toilet paper and/or paper towel rolls, trimmed to size and lined up inside a shoebox. Feel free to decorate the box with paper for a stylish look. You can organize the pens by type and color, too.
3. Scarf Hanger
A regular hanger and some shower curtain rings make for a space-saving way to hang up your scarves, as well as a way to pick them out easily.
4. Magnetic dishes
These magnetic dishes make it easy to store tiny metal things like pins, tacks, and clips vertically, which will save you space. A coat of spray paint will add color without affecting the magnetic properties.
5. Sheets IN the pillowcase
File this one under how-did-we-not-figure-this-out: store sheets (and the other pillowcase) inside their matching pillowcase for easily stackable and grabbable packets.
6. Mason Jar Crafting
Not just for food, mason jars can store anything, including craft supplies. Add labels to the lids so you know what’s in each one.
7. Makeup Brush Organizer
A bamboo placemat and a strip of elastic make a cheap, easy way to keep your brushes organized and clean. Simply roll up to store or travel.
8. Maximizing Shelves
If you have a lot of low-profile dishware, you might be wasting vertical space in cabinets. Clamp-on hanging selves can double your space.
9. Notebook Storage
If you’re a notebook user, you can simply glue an envelope onto the back cover to store odd scraps of paper (receipts, notes, etc.) that would otherwise end up in a flurry on the floor.
10. Hidden Toothbrushes
This one requires some power tools, but it’s a neat way to keep toothbrushes out of the way and prevent them from falling.
11. Recycled Organization
That’s right, recycling IS fun. Old cans and other containers (washed out, of course!) covered with decorative contact paper make for great storage containers.
12. Accessory Rack
Made from chicken wire and an old window frame, this rack makes jewelry and accessory organization easy. If you don’t need such a big one, you can also do this with a piece of old screen and a picture frame.
13. Instead of letting your phone dangle on the floor where it could be damaged, you can make this hanging holder out of an old lotion bottle. Simply cut out the shape and hang it over the plug while your phone is charging. This one is covered in decorative fabric and Mod Podge.
14. Artistic Earrings
A palette for paints can also be used to store smaller items of jewelry, like earrings. It’ll also make picking out what to wear easier in the morning.
15. Spray Bottle Storage
Here’s another one of those ideas that we can’t believe we didn’t come up with, it’s so simple and space-saving. Just stick a tension rod in an under-sink cabinet and use it to hang up spray bottles, thus clearing up shelf space.
16. Peg Boards: Your New best Friend
Peg boards are awesome because you can use them to hang anything from tools to jewelry to crafting supplies, and they can be arranged in any way that suits you. And if you find you need a change, they’re easy to rearrange, too.
17. More jar ideas!
These are jam jars, but really any jar with a metal top will do. The lids are screwed into the bottom of a shelf, making a row of “floating” jars that store little odds and ends while also doubling space.
18. An Upcycled Mail Organizer
And old shutter hung on the wall makes for a great way to store mail. You can even make up a system of arranging mail by priority.
19. Keep Your Cords Untangled
Just stick a binder clip onto the edge of a desk and thread cords through the metal loops. This will keep your wires from becoming a tangled nest, and also keep them up off the floor.
20. More Mason Jars!
This is especially good if you have jars without lids kicking around. Hot-glued into this pyramid formation, they become a way to store pens, pencils, and other smaller items. And they won’t roll away.
Once you have your belongings tidied up, you’ll probably find you feel more relaxed and more inspired to be productive. And keeping your space clean will inspire you to keep keeping it clean, which means less work in the long run! Happy organizing!