If you’re like most of us, the last thing you need to do is buy more cartons and totes for getting organized. Instead, take a look at our list of everyday items—you probably have most of them around the house already!—which you can use to get organized, save space and find things more easily.
An acrylic makeup organizer is a great way for the junior Picassos in your household to organize their art supplies. Damp paintbrushes stay neat in dividers meant for lipsticks, and the other small compartments can keep crayons, chalk and watercolor sets nice and neat.
Foldout fishing tackle boxes make great jewelry boxes or storage boxes for crafts projects. Art students and makeup artists have relied on them for years for easy accessibility to their brushes and supplies.
Hangers with bars meant for hanging several pairs of pants are great for keeping your winter scarves and shawls visible and wrinkle-free in your coat closet. Use the multiple-skirt hangers with clips to hang your silk scarves. Or loop scarves over the crossbar of a wooden hanger—the result may be attractive enough to display!
Tiered hanging wire baskets (intended for storing fruits and vegetables) have another use in your kids’ rooms. Use them to organize toys or stuffed animals or in the closet for socks, belts and underwear.
Styrofoam egg cartons work great for storing extra golf balls. Just don’t get confused and put them in the refrigerator!)
Cassette tapes may be practically obsolete but their plastic cases are still good. In fact, they’re ideal for keeping headphone cords for your cell phone or MP3 players safe and tangle-free.
Old album covers are perfect for storing 8-by-10 photos (like class photos), certificates or your children’s artwork—items you want to keep, just not keep on display. Slip your more valuable documents and photos between two sheets of archival quality acid-free paper first.
Lucite recipe boxes are just the right size for storing and displaying photographs. You can even open the box and choose to spotlight a favorite photo in the recipe holder.
Cardboard wine boxes from your local liquor store or grocery have compartments that are great for storing fragile holiday ornaments. Place small and extremely delicate ones in Ziploc® Brand Sandwich Bags
first to keep them from scratching each other.
Canvas shoe bags designed to hang on the back of a closet door are ideal for storing mittens and knit hats in the front hall or mudroom.
Plastic hanging shoe bags are also great organizers for your kitchen. Hang one inside your pantry door for all those small kitchen items—from corkscrews and tea strainers to corn-on-the-cob holders and measuring spoons. They’re just the right size for cake decorating tools too!
Silver flatware chests lined with tarnish-resistant fabric are great for organizing and storing your silver jewelry. They’re usually attractive enough to display and most have dividers that can be used for necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Look for these handsome boxes at garage sales and online auctions.
Who doesn’t love to get those perfume and beauty-product samples? But the tiny bottles and containers can create some serious clutter. Minimize the mess by storing them in Ziploc® Brand Containers with Smart Snap™ Seal
in a bathroom closet or drawer. Next time you have guests, pull out some samples to put in a pretty dish in your spare bathroom.
Empty suitcases are a missed opportunity! Remember, there are some things you just don’t need to unpack, like your travel hairdryer, electric adapters, sleep mask, neck pillow, earplugs and your restocked travel makeup kit.
Little metal candy tins make terrific emergency mini-sewing kits. Fill them with needles, spare buttons, hooks-and-eyes, snaps and a few yards of white and black thread wrapped around a small piece of cardboard. Toss one in your handbag and another in your office desk drawer.
The plastic containers for mints can be reused to store straight pins. Just be sure to store the pins point-side down.
Empty Saran™ Premium Wrap
paper rolls are stronger than paper-towel rolls and can take on a second life as portable storage. Ball up empty plastic grocery bags and stuff them into a roll. Then toss a full roll of bags into your glove compartment, beach bag or gym bag so you’ll have a supply of bags whenever you need them.
Everyone’s heard of storing shoes in clear plastic boxes with a photo affixed to the outside. But who has time to take and print those photos? Instead, use adhesive nametags and write a description for each box; for example, “brown suede loafers” or “black patent slingbacks.” Label
larger plastic storage boxes as well and be sure to put stickers on two or
three sides so you can read what’s in them no matter where or how