Home organization products like beautiful baskets, bins, and containers are all the rage these days, but given the reality of rapidly rising prices, organizing your belongings in style may feel depressingly out of budget. The good news is that stylish organization doesn’t have to break the bank.
Many anti-clutter and minimalist proponents will encourage you to embrace a minimalist lifestyle and remind you that organization isn’t about haphazardly adding more stuff like baskets and bins to your home. We wholeheartedly agree with this general sentiment. However, as organizational experts we have also found that having a specific place or container for each group of items is extremely helpful in keeping you organized. And, let’s face it, the right baskets and bins bring style into your space, and the more you love your space, the more likely you are to want to maintain the organization you’ve created.
Here are some tips for achieving organization and style while staying on a budget:
1. Shop Smart
Whether you are shopping online or in the stores, there are certain sources that we absolutely love for budget-friendly storage solutions. Our top sources for reasonably priced storage solutions are HomeGoods, IKEA, Target, and Walmart.
Almost weekly, we make a pilgrimage to HomeGoods (or their sister stores, TJ Maxx and Marshalls), where we often find really high-end storage options at amazing prices. Although if you become as obsessed with HomeGoods as we are, you should be aware that because their inventory is constantly changing or being snapped up, you may not be able to get multiples of certain bins, so matching your containers may be a challenge.
IKEA has many great storage options at extremely reasonable prices, but our number one find there has got to be the Variera white box. It’s super versatile, and we’ve used it in all sorts of spaces, from pantries to laundry rooms to offices and playrooms; mixed with the right accessories, you can make it work for almost any style.
Target and Walmart also offer numerous more affordable storage solutions. The Brightroom line at Target offers some excellent options in both clear plastic and metal, and one of our favorites is the wire bins with natural wood handles. You can achieve an amazingly high-end look with these baskets at a fraction of the cost. And Walmart’s The Home Edit Collection from the home organization gurus behind the Netflix hit Get Organized offers exceptional quality at a very reasonable cost. We especially love their sets, including the All-Purpose Edit, which is an 8-piece set for under $25—that’s a lot of organization bang for your buck.
You may wonder why we didn’t put dollar-store shopping at the top of the list. While we do shop dollar stores and have been very lucky to find nice pieces at prices that can’t be beat, because we cannot always rely on their quality and selection, these stores don’t tend to be our go-to choices. That said, if you are a dollar store regular, you can definitely find lots of treasures to incorporate into your budget-friendly organization system, and dollar stores are especially good places to find small containers to micro-organize drawers like office or “junk” drawers.
2. Shop your own home, don't be afraid to mix and match
You may already have lots of fantastic baskets or bins that you can incorporate in whatever space you are organizing. “Shop” your home first and decide if you can repurpose containers that you are not using to their full potential. And if you decide to shop outside of your home, definitely be open to mixing materials. The more flexible you are, the more likely you will be to stay on budget. The trick to mixing and matching is to group like items together or space them apart at regular intervals to make sure that you achieve a visually cohesive arrangement.
3. No budget for bins? No problem.
While we are big fans of containing belongings in pretty bins and baskets or even using clip-on or adhesive shelf dividers, we also know that you can actually achieve organization, even stylish organization without them. The key is creating separation. Bins and baskets act as physical dividers, however you can also separate by leaving gaps or spaces between groups or categories of belongings. Obviously you have to work to maintain this separation—it’s easy for things to get intermingled without actual dividers, but there are ways to avoid this. Some strategies for maintaining order include lining like items in straight rows, one after another. Or use decorative or even functional items like book ends, paperweights, or even vases to create visual breaks and separation between your categories.
4. You can decant without breaking the bank
If you love the look of decanted pasta, beans, rice, or flour and sugar in the pantry but don’t want to splurge on high-end containers like the ones made by OXO, use less pricey Mason jars or canning containers. We would recommend spending a little more and purchasing options with airtight lids to make sure you keep your food fresh. Dollar stores, Target, Walmart, and Amazon are good sources for these jars.
5. Inexpensive Labeling
We are firm believers that labeling is important to getting and staying organized. When budget is less of an issue, we love Talented Kitchen’s clip-on label holders in white or black, and our favorite labeler is the Brother P-Touch Cube Plus. An affordable alternative to the higher-end clip-on labels are clear plastic label holders that you can clip on to shelves or baskets. Amazon offers lots of sizes and options, including sets of 50 for less than $12. You can also DIY labels using your computer and regular paper and double-sided tape, or recycle old cards or craft paper and handwrite labels, maybe attaching them to baskets with pretty ribbon or twine.
Finally, perhaps the number one key to achieving stylish organization on a budget is to get creative and think outside of the (expensive) box!
© 2022 by Sort, Store and Style
Esther Garfield and Melina Kervandjian are co-owners of Sort, Store and Style, a home and office organization business based in Naples, Florida, dedicated to making spaces more functional and beautiful. They are also available for virtual consultations. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest and read their blog at SortStoreAndStyle.com
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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