Organizing on a Budget – The Eternal Struggle in Smaller Spaces

If you’re like me, you’re always trying to fit too much stuff into too little space.  My apartment boasts multiple boatloads of books, an ever-expanding record collection, too many puzzles to count, 30+ years worth of clothes, and only one closet.  It isn’t ideal but with the right organization, it is very manageable and tidy.

Here are some wallet-friendly tricks I’ve picked up along the way that can help make even the smallest of spaces comfortable and tidy:

Take everything out of the space to see what you’re dealing with.  There’s nothing worse than organizing your dresser only to find a trove of forgotten clothes that were meant to go in the dresser after the fact.  Trying to organize without taking everything out of the space is possible but it’s not always sustainable.

It has to get worse before it gets better.  The ultimate goal is to have everything tidier but that doesn’t mean that’s how you’ll get there.  Be prepared to have every surface and couch cushion covered so that you can see exactly what you have before you start grouping items together and putting everything back.  It’s not something you’ll want to walk away from for a couple of weeks but a couple of hours of organized chaos will yield excellent results.

Organization tools are everywhere and can be inexpensive, too!  Got some old shoeboxes?  Those are great for organizing socks in a drawer, old letters in a closet, and can be easily labeled and stacked.  Multiple suitcases?  See how many you can fit into each other or open one flat, fill it with lesser-used items, and slide it under your bed.  Closet wall space?  Look up!  Some of the most valuable wall space is up over your head and can accommodate hooks for lesser-used hats, knapsacks, or cloth bags filled with whatever.

Steal your friends’ ideas.  Some of my best organization techniques have come care of my friends and their smaller spaces. If you see something particularly inspiring, don’t be afraid to ask your friend – they’ll be happy you noticed and all too happy to share their own secrets!

Don’t be afraid to find a new system.  So you’ve organized, you’ve tidied, and for a while, it works.  But six months down the road, your child has a new hobby, your partner has a new crafting project, and you have gone back to school.  All of a sudden, the stuff is piling up again.  Time to find a new system!  Trying to make do with the same system won’t always work so don’t be afraid to take everything out of the space and start anew.  You’ll be surprised at how creative you can get and how little time it will take you thanks to your previous efforts.

Good luck!

by Brianne – organizing all of her friends’ closets, one shoe bin at a time.