First of all, thank you all for the encouragement and support last week for our week “off”. After a long week of late nights, we had our first services in the new (to us) building this last Sunday, and we all couldn’t be more thrilled. Some of you asked for photos of the renovated space, so while we still have some things to finish here and there, I hope to share a few photos/projects either here or over on Instagram sometime soon. Also, some of the artwork I designed for the children’s church classrooms will be available over at Brown & Barkley really soon, so be on the lookout for that. Moving on!
So… Just so you know, none of you guys would want to be around our house this week. We’re currently in the midst of some serious Spring cleaning and purging action. We’re going through every single square inch of this house and getting rid of things we don’t want/need anymore, simp-li-fy-ing and then organizing what’s left. So while the kitchen counters are covered with contents from the panty and the dining room table is covered with things we need to box up and take to Goodwill, it makes me happy because as I always say, things always look worse before they get better.
Ya’ll know all too well by now that I love to organize. Give me a label maker and you won’t hear from me for hours. But, organizing can get expensive. At first, $12 for a storage basket doesn’t seem so bad, but when you add up the number of baskets you need to organize a small closet, you’ll be looking at $100+ in no time. Since we’re currently consumed by all things Spring cleaning and organizing-related, I thought it would be fun to share seven of my favorite organizing tools under seven bucks…
01 // 3M Picture Hanging Strips // Once I realized that these little guys aren’t just for hanging pictures, they quickly became a go-to favorite. I always make sure we have some stocked up in our “organizing arsenal” just in case because the uses for these things seem to pop up at the most unexpected moments and the most random spaces. They’re great for holding things in place that you need to easily remove if necessary. Recently, I was helping out with organizing a classroom storage cabinet at church and used a Picture Hanging Strip to attach the First Aid Kit to the side wall inside the cabinet. That way, it’s not in the way or taking up valuable shelf space, but can easily be taken down if a teacher needs to use it and snapped back into place when they’re done.
In Action: At this point, I’m pretty sure we’ve used these for something in every single room in the house. Check out how I used them when organizing the junk drawer in the kitchen here.
02 // Sterelite Shoebox Containers // Not only are these little guys amazing and oh so useful, but you can find them at Target or Home Depot for only 97¢ each. Yes, 97¢!! I’ve used them to store everything from office supplies to makeup to first-aid necessities. They’re the perfect size for compact spaces and stack on top of each other really easily. A little unintentional feature of these containers is that there’s a very faint line in the plastic right in the middle of the container that serves as a guide to attach a label perfectly straight. Another thing I love about these containers is that the product labels (the labels with the brand, barcode, etc) come off so easily and you don’t have to use any kind of cleaning agent to remove the annoying gunky stuff – which makes organizing projects go so much faster.
In Action: I’ve used these all over the house, but my favorite place I’ve used them so far has to be the linen closet in the hallway. If I recall correctly, I think this is the first organizing project where I fell in love with them and realized their awesomeness. Check out that project here over at iHeart Organizing.
03 // 3-Ring Binders // Give me a 3-ring binder and I can conquer the world. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a $4 office supply item, but it’s totally true. I think my obsession with binders started when I transferred to public school in 11th grade. At my previous school, the teachers were big on having an individual spiral notebook for each class. When I transferred to public school, all of the teachers encouraged a binder system. Cue: “A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew…”. More where that came from here. I fell in love with organizing papers and took pride in my extensive color-coding system. My dad always said if I spent as much time on my schoolwork as I did organizing my schoolwork, I’d have better grades. He was not wrong.
In Action: Through the years, my love for binders hasn’t faltered and I use them to organize many areas of life including this blog, magazine clippings, our home finances, party planning, home maintenance (which, yes, I still need to post about that) and the day-to-day.
04 // Martha Stewart Bookplate Labels // I’m positive I’ve raved about these a bajillion times, but I can’t have a “Seven Under $even” list without them. Whoever on Martha’s team came up with the concept for these, needs a raise. Seriously. You can find regular bookplates at craft stores, but what makes these bookplate labels so great is that they have an adhesive backing, which makes them super easy to use. In all of the many places and surfaces I’ve used these, I’ve never had one fall off or come loose. Unfortunately, they’re currently out of stock online and have been for some time. On top of that, the stock in Staples last time I was in there was really sparse. These two facts have me worried that they’re not going to make them anymore. If that’s the case… my life is over. Okay, not really, but my organizing-loving heart would be extremely sad.
In Action: The question is… where have I not used these things? For more gushing and how I sometimes spray paint them black for different projects, check out this post.
05 // 3M Command Hooks // Yet another favorite 3M product. I love using these hooks inside cabinet doors and in random “secret places”. For instance, I have two hooks just inside the linen closet (on the wall, right next to the door frame) that holds a pair of scissors and a small sewing kit. If I’m in our room and need to get a price tag off something, a pair of scissors is just right there, a few steps away, rather than way on the other side of the house. The fact that the hooks are easily removable and won’t mess up the surface is a major plus.
In Action: For more Command Hook love, and the run down of our linen closet organization, check out this post.
06 // Target Dollar Spot Containers // Every time I walk into Target, the Dollar Spot reels me right in. I try my best not to hoard all the cute containers that debut every few months (especially now that I’m on a simplifying kick), but once in a while I stock up on particular containers that I think will be really useful and last a long time. About three years ago, they came out with these small galvanized metal tubs for $2 a piece. Thinking they would be pretty useful, I picked up four of them. Well, three years later, I’m kicking myself for not buying more because they are so stinking useful. Right now, we’re using two in the laundry room (one for spot cleaners and one for rubber gloves) and two in the pantry (for corralling small pre-packaged snacks). I always keep my eye out for these guys, hoping Target decides to bring them back. So far, no luck. Last year, they came out with ones very similar but they had imprinted leaves along the side, so I passed them up. I still have hope for this Fall though… Fingers crossed!
In Action: I’ve mainly used Dollar Spot containers in our laundry room, my office and in the pantry. I’ll be posting a pantry-organizing post in the near future, but see my favorite Dollar Spot containers in action in this post.
07 // Mason Jars // I love mason jars. They’re classic and fun, you can find them pretty much anywhere and they’re reusable. You can purchase a set of 9 to 12 mason jars for somewhere between $7-$12, but you can also buy them open stock at Michaels for about $1-$2 each. Sometimes it’s difficult to add labels to the side of mason jars – especially if they have that etched quilted surface. However, my go-to alternative is to insert a piece of card stock between the lid and ring.
In Action: I’m currently using mason jars to organize a few things in our pantry (more on that soon), but you can see some small “Jelly Jars” being used for touch-up paint storage in this post.
What are your favorite affordable organizing tools? I’m always excited to hear about how other people organize (I’m a dork like that), so be sure to share your tips, tricks and favorites in the comments.