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How to Get Organized With Household Items You Already Have

Updated: Apr 15, 2022

Just about everything we own can be used for multiple purposes. Re-using items from around the house can not only save you money but is also a more eco-friendly way to get organized. So before you spend money on expensive organizers and storage solutions, think outside the box with what you already own! All it takes is a little bit of brainstorming and creativity! To help you get started, here are 12 ways to upcycle or repurpose some items that you may have just lying around the house.

Ultimate rule #1: Think before you buy

One of the most significant contributors to a cluttered space is the result of overbuying. Studies have shown that we only use around 20% of the items that we buy. This means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. When we decide to start organizing, a lot of stuff is thrown out and ends up in a landfill, contributing to pollution. To help become more eco-friendly and cut down on clutter, think carefully before buying something. Next time you are out shopping, think about the time you'll spend cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. When more consideration is put into buying an item, it is usually purchased at a better quality. Buying quality items ultimately results in buying fewer items, therefore decreasing clutter before it even starts!


If you're like me and just love buying new shoes, then you are probably familiar with having to get rid of a ton of shoeboxes. These boxes are typically made out of cardboard and, while being recyclable, other great uses for them don't involve a trash can. It takes 5 minutes to pretty these boxes up with some gift wrap or paint and then these bad boys can be put to use. Some of my favorite uses for these sturdy boxes are stationary organizers and a kitchen utensils container. I also currently use a bedazzled shoebox to store my old photographs!

Glass Jars

Like shoeboxes, glass jars are extremely versatile. These containers are definitely more professional-looking than shoeboxes and can also be used for decoration as well as organization - think vases and food storage. Glass is, for the most part, food safe as long as there is a properly sealed lid. Once properly cleaned out and dried, old jars can be used as containers to store leftovers, loose dry food, condiments, etc.

Old T-Shirts

Use cloth rags instead of paper towels to clean messes. Finally, put all those old and hole-ridden t-shirts to use. Make them look cleaner by cutting them up into neat squares and store them in a shoebox (see above for shoebox hack!). When they get soiled, just throw them in the washing machine to reuse. Another fun thing about this hack is that you'll have a collection of rags with different types of fabrics, meaning different kinds of textured cloth for different types of messes to clean up.

Empty Tin Cans

Have empty cans after making dinner? Don't throw them away; clean them out and use them for storage! Aluminum is one of the most robust materials around. So use the empty cans as a cup organizer to line a dresser for storing small things like bobby pins and rings. You can also use cans to store office supplies. Be sure you fold or file down the sharp edges and wash them out thoroughly to keep them odor-free and safe to use!

Soda Can Boxes

Now that we've handled all those pesky tin cans, what do we do with the leftover box? Well, you can, like the shoeboxes, decorate them with gift wrap or paint and then place them back in your pantry to keep canned food organized and together. An alternative is to this is to cut them diagonally and keep them in the office for folder and loose paper storage.

Egg Cartons

Egg cartons!! The lightweight, paper mache-esque boxes that keep our delicate eggs safe. This box can lead a second life as an organizational superhero when it comes to the holiday season. The egg-shaped indents are the perfect size and shape for Christmas Baubles. Keep your fragile holiday decorations organized and dust-free during the year, leaving them ready to be pulled out and shown off when December rolls around.

Ice Cube Trays

Like the egg cartons, an ice cube tray's small, separate areas are perfect for keeping track of small items. It's easy to lose those stud earrings or extra buttons from that expensive silk shirt you bought last winter. Instead of having a junk drawer to just throw these tidbits into, use an ice cube tray to keep it all organized! Now you'll know exactly where to go if that one-of-a-kind button goes missing!


Have any dishcloths lying around the kitchen and getting in the way of cooking? Or do you constantly lose rags and never seem to know where to look for them? Attach clothespins to the inside of a cabinet with super glue or command steps, and voila! This tip gives you the perfect place to hang dish clothes without ever losing track of them.

Binder Clips

Binder clips are not only good for organizing paperwork; these wonder clips are perfect for keeping your tangled mess of desk wires organized and in your reach. Use electrical or double-sided tape to attach individual binder clips to the edge of your desk, then thread the USB and power cords end through the metal circle so that they don't dangle or fall off the edge of your desk. You can also continue clipping the wires together all the way down to the outlet to keep everything together and neat.

Tissue Boxes

Store your plastic grocery bags in a more convenient way by placing them in an old tissue box! Just slide the bottom of each bag into the handles of the next bag, then insert them all into the box. They pop up just like tissues! This is perfect for keeping in your car as tissue boxes are small and ensures that you never forget your bags when going grocery shopping.

Denim Jeans and Jackets

This last hack is definitely more hands-on and requires basic sewing skills, but it is worth it!. Denim is a beautiful, strong material and unquestionably too good to throw out. With some simple sewing skills, you can turn those old jeans into a denim cup! Just sew closed the bottom of the leg, cut off the top, and place a circular cardboard cutout into the bottom (where the hole was sewn shut). This cup is perfect for craft room organization and keeping things like paintbrushes or coloring pencils together!


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