Recession Chic: Organizing

I’ve tried a lot of organizing gimmicks in my time.

I’ve had the white pressboard little stacking boxes. The three-stack tower. The plastic Tupperware systems that are supposed to work in drawers for socks or undies.

Let’s see, what else has there been. A bookcase here, an under-the-couch fabric blanket bag there, a hanging hook system everywhere.

This is what I’ve learned about organizational purchases – and it may surprise you since this is falling under the “Recession Chic” set. But, I am a firm believer that if you spend a little bit more money on your “system” – whatever it might be that works for you – you are more likely to actually use it, which then means you are less likely to want to pitch it and get something different!

I’ve included a few of the [still inexpensive] items that have really worked for me. As you’ve heard before, I live in a small home. An end-unit townhouse, two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a kitchen and one living space. 788 square feet. That’s what I’ve got to work with.

Not to mention that a house built originally for military families and in 1942 basically means you have no closets or storage whatsoever! Add all these variables up, and you have the need to find lots of creative ways to store your stuff… because not only do you need somewhere to put your things, it will probably be out, and seen!

Here are a few of the items that have helped me:

1) I am a big believer in over-the-door storage. I have one of these in every room of the house, in fact, that has a door! In the bedrooms, I keep a robe and sometimes the work out clothes or pajammies that you are going to wear more than once. In the bathroom, it’s the towel storage and “equipment” storage. I never knew what those rubber hooks on hairdryers and curling irons were for… well, they are for hanging on hooks!

2) Belt organizer. Can’t. Live. Without. You. Mr. Belt Organizer. I have tons of belts – they go over button downs, under sweaters, around the waist – you name it. In addition to the belts we have scarves, sashes, and who knows what else. This little guy from Ikea saved the day. No more digging around in a box or unorganized shelf. All the goodies are right there, visible, and easy to grab. Oh, and it goes over the door!

And in full use...

3) The kitchen hutch (which is now, by the way, painted and bright white!). This is where I needed some storage, but also wanted something pretty. And we have the hutch!

4) Under the bed storage. Now there are a lot of contraptions out there that claim to be under the bed storage. There is the less-expensive Tupperware-types, fabric or plastic bags that are supposed to do the job. Take it from me… spend the extra few dollars to get the ones that have hinged tops and even, if you are feeling a little fancy, wheels. The worst thing to have to do when you’re searching for that sweater or shoe you haven’t switched out yet, is to have to pull and entire huge box out, maneuver it around the others, and try to find what you need. No way, Jose. Get the fancy one.

5) Soda can holders can save so much room in the refrigerator and leave more space for [real] food. I just may be addicted to my Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper, but I still need them to stay in place while in the fridge. Added bonus… it’s not just for the fridge! If you buy the big boxes at a Costco-type place, you can use these wire racks in the cabinet or extra storage space that you keep the others!
My last little piece of advice is to always look for storage when buying pieces of furniture. I basically made myself follow the rule that when looking for little tables, or hutches, or bookcases, TV stand – whatever it is – it must have storage. It has made the process of keeping the house clean and organized so much easier (though still not easy!!)

What is your organizing secret?