|

Organizing on the cheap

Surprising and low-cost storage solutions

ShopSmart: March 2013

Photo: James Worrell

A trip to the dollar store is always a cheap treat. It’s a great place to stock up on things like paper goods and gift-wrap essentials, sure, but have you ever thought of it for creative clutter-taming solutions?

ShopSmart had a team of professional organizers from around the country who shopped at their local dollar stores, Christmas Tree Shops, and Odd Lot places with an eye toward finding items that could stand in for specialized—and pricey—organizing tools.

Here are five especially clever ideas they found:

Car visor CD holder, $1: Be on the lookout for items with handy pockets such as CD holders designed to slip over visors in a car—most dollar stores sell them. They are great for storing keeping small items including phones, cameras, and cords together in a bag or suitcase.

Charging valet, $4: A simple charging station can be found in an odd-lot shop for a lot less than those available at other retailers. Having a centrally located place in the house is a great way to keep track of phones and other gadgets when they need to be juiced up.

Foam kneel pad, $2: This gardening staple is a less expensive alternative to fabric-covered bulletin boards designed for hanging jewelry. It’s easy to hang and is a space-saving way to organize necklaces and earrings.

Plastic bins, $1: Bins of all shapes, sizes, and colors are easy to find at dollar stores and can be used for storing toys, crafts, and more. Measure the shelves they will be placed on before buying.

Plastic tote caddy, $1: Buy a bunch and use them as grab-and-go caddies for all kinds of household tasks such as cleaning and gardening. Keep another in the bathroom for toiletries.

Check out the March issue of ShopSmart, on newsstands now, where we answer readers’ biggest organizing challenges—from messy desks and piles of paperwork to chaotic crafts rooms and kitchen cabinets. Plus we picked the brains of organizing pros to find out their favorite places to shop for specialized organizing tools. Here are their top five and what they are best for:

BedBathandBeyond.com offers a wide selection of under-cabinet shelving, including products made for pots, pans, and lids.

ContainerStore.com has a huge (though often pricey) selection of tidying products—organizing products that can’t be found here probably don’t exist.

Organize.com is best for specialty hats, shoes, and accessories.

SeeJaneWork.com features cute and stylish desk accessories and other home-office storage.

Solutions.com is a great source for space-saving shelving and furniture, as well as garage and attic organizers.

—Sue Perry, senior editor

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

NEW CAR REVIEWS
Exclusive report: Best—and worst—new-car valuesVideo Our scores reveal which cars deliver the biggest bang for your buck.
PHONE & CARRIER GUIDE
Power play: 4 simple cell phone battery saversVideo Use these tips so that your phone is ready when you need it.
COFFEEMAKER REVIEWS
Keurig 2.0 Brewer K550 offers more brewing optionsVideo But the latest Keurig machine rejects older K-Cups, angering consumers.
CAR MAINTENANCE GUIDE
Can scratch-repair kits fix damage to a car's finish? Maybe, depending on the size of the scratch or ding.
SPACE HEATER REVIEWS
Space heaters that keep you and your room cozyVideo The latest crop of space heaters we’ve tested have improved safety features,
NEW CAR REVIEWS
Cheap cars you shouldn't get for your teen driver These poor choices have characteristics ill suited to inexperienced drivers.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more