"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

Anne Frank

Monday, March 14, 2011

Think you can’t afford to get organized?

Watching most decorating shows on television, flipping through glossy magazines or perusing coffee table books on the subject, one gets the idea that only the rich and famous can afford to live in beautiful, organized homes.

I’m here to tell you a different story. While you might not literally be able to Design on a Dime, you can do it for much less than expected. All you need is a little imagination and a few helpful resources.

Where to start?

The library: Most public libraries are wonderful resources on everything from organizing a closet to building a home (and garden). Books, magazines, even DVDs can be had for the price of a library card. In other words, for free. They also have the best resource of all...librarians. Feeling overwhelmed by all the choices? Can’t seem to find just what you need? Ask for help. It’s why they’re there, after all.

County Extension Service: Look in the phone book under County Government (usually the blue pages). They offer a wide range of homemaking services. Pamphlets, classes, advice. Sometimes there’s a small fee for the classes, frequently it’s just to cover materials.

Hardware stores: Lowe's, The Home Depot, Ace Hardware to name a few. Roam the aisles, checking out the brochures, and you may come away with a wealth of ideas. Do a little tweaking and you can adapt those ideas to your own home and often for much less. Some stores also hold classes. Check them out. You never know what may tickle your fancy.

Goggle it!: It’s amazing how much free information is on the Net. Diagrams, storage ideas, stencils, websites where you can virtually paint your house, all at your fingertips. Again, for free.

OK, I’m up to my ears in great ideas. Now what?

Collected more free ideas than you know what to do with? Start a Dream Notebook. A simple three ring binder, a few sheets of plastic sleeves, some dividers and voila’, your own organized book on organizing.

Great, I’m all set. Umm, I’m still not sure this isn’t too expensive.

Look at the pictures of perfectly organized closets, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms. What do you see? Baskets, shelves, dividers. How can you replicate the beautiful bedroom closet that’s caught your eye? Imagination, creativity and careful shopping.

Discount Stores

Family Dollar, Dollar General, Big Lots, Fred's and yes, Wal-Mart. These are just a few of the discount stores in my area. There are bound to be plenty where you live. It is amazing what they carry. Baskets of every shape and size. Some are lined with pretty material. Others you can line yourself with remnants of cloth you buy right there. Shelving units, bookcases, chest of drawers, desks for that closet office, can be found to fit your design. I’ve found clothes hangers exactly like the ones shown in organizing books at Big Lots for $5.00 per eight pack. Drawer dividers for a dollar at Dollar General.

Yard sales, Thrift Stores, The Side of the Road!

One woman’s trash is another’s treasure. Think creatively. That pretty ceramic bowl for fifty cents? Perfect to hold brooches on your dresser top. A tiny vase to hold makeup brushes? Ten cents. Easter baskets someone’s child outgrew? Hang from your closet ceiling to hold belts, scarves, etc. Someone’s discarded dresser with a missing leg? A little paint, remove the other legs or replace the missing one with a block of wood, and it’s perfect to slide into a closet to hold your out of season clothes.

Your Own Home
Walk around your house. Go on. I dare you to look in every room, every closet. Open your eyes and use your imagination. I bet you own some of the things I listed above. How are they being used right now? Can you think of other ways to use that flowerpot with the dead geranium? The plastic shoe boxes you bought to organize your shoes but realized you didn’t have room for on your closet floor?

Are you beginning to get the picture?

A little imagination, creativity, and careful shopping can net you the resources and supplies you need to organize your home. Never let the lack of money stand in your way. There are free resources, even free supplies to help you live in a beautiful, organized home.

Now, who feels rich and famous?


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