I'm on an organizing kick lately...have a long way to go, but I'm inspired. Hopefully you'll find these cheap tips as helpful as I do:
1. Use unused small tupperware for your junk drawer. You rarely use the smaller ones, right? I was tired of them cluttering up my cabinets for an occasional use, so I used them to organize little things that make a big mess - batteries, pens & pencils, loose crayons, sticky notes, etc. Get creative? By the way, if not stored properly, batteries will lose their power pretty quickly - they should be stored with all the positives in the same direction and without touching anything else metal (like paperclips or pens). Also, some think that batteries should be stored in the fridge - not true. Condensation can zap the life of a battery, too.
2. Guest or extra sheet sets. A great way to keep spare sheet sets together (hate searching for the pillowcase) is to roll or fold them up and tie them losely with a ribbon. You can also include a coordinating towel and washcloth. Don't go buy ribbon - chances are you have random pieces around, right? Too short for gifts, sorta ugly, ones that came with a store purchase? Everything will look nice, neat, organized, and you can grab an entire set in a sheer sweep of your hand!
3. Invest in grocery organization. This is a quick purchase from the Real Simple line at Target. I know, Mom, you survived years of making your own lists on the back of first-draft church bulletins and I applaud you for that, but for $4 it was well worth a year of organized lists. Simply check off what you need as soon as it comes to mind, add more to the established list, and go! Plus, this helps remind me of those things that I always forget (trash bags, for example). And, for list-loving girls like me, it's just plain FUN to check boxes.
4. Organize your spices. We all have many spices right, different sizes, shapes, and they fall out of the cabinet and we can never find which one we want. (Yes, yes, yes, there are great inventions called "spice racks" but those are a joke - who ONLY has spices in a rack? I've got about 64,593 other spices with no good home." THEN I found my saved baby food jars (without labels). BINGO! The small Level 1 jars are perfect. Label them (bonus if you have a snazzy label maker) and pour your spices into them. They stack beautifully, are see-through so you know when you're at your last pinch of cayenne pepper, and are so much easier to measure from than those crazy tiny tones containers. Also, they hold more than the typical spice container, so you can stock up without the extra clutter. Use the Level 2 jars for things you use a lot!
5. Paper towel rolls can corral electrical cords. I'd like to blog a use for paper towel rolls every day, but that would just be dorky so I'll try to spread them out. Slice a roll all the way down the side (carefully) and use it to store electric cords or keep in-use cords (behind your tv or computer?) under control. We all know that extention cords are a pain to store...not any more!
6. Scan excess paper. This is one that I need to work on in 2010. If you're afraid to throw away paper (its hereditary, I blame my father), scan and organize it elecronically, then shred it! Rarely will you need the original document, right? Sure, some things are important to save, but only a short list. So get rid of the paper clutter - statements, insurance information, bills, certain reciepts, house paperwork, etc. It's often a lot easier to find things electronically than in a file anyway, and it only takes a few seconds to scan. Get creative when you scan, too. I like to tear good ideas out of a magazines - scan those, too!