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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

   

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