Budget-Friendly Organizing: What to Do If You Have No Containers

You have started decluttering – hooray! – but now that you’re working on organizing your home…

You’ll need to go shopping for all matching and coordinating containers, right?

Not so fast… Chances are you have many containers around your home that will work for you. Read on to get some clever and budget-friendly storage container ideas!


Do you have any paper or cardboard boxes?

  • Large Boxes from Amazon
  • Cardboard strips make good dividers for drawers
  • Smaller boxes from Grocery Stores
  • Computer Paper Boxes with Lids
  • Shoe Boxes
  • Small Boxes can be used inside of larger boxes
  • Velveeta Cheese Boxes
  • Tissue Boxes
  • Cereal Boxes – They make a good magazine holder if cut on the diagonal

Plastic Items

  • Buckets
  • Dish Pans
  • Plastic Zipper Bags from Sheets, Blankets, Coverlets, etc.
  • Zip Lock type plastic bags

Reuse your items

  • Food Glass or Plastic Jars with or without lids
  • Food Containers such as Deli Lunch Meat
  • Cottage Cheese Containers
  • Ice Cream Buckets – the gallon size or larger
  • Old Candy Containers such as TicTac for small items
  • Rubber bands to group things together such as pencils
  • Plastic Grocery Bags to put like things together
  • Hooks, hangers or nails in your closet
  • Space saving idea: Fold the bags flat, then in half lengthwise, and in half again. You can fit many in one bag.

Shop Your House

  • Extra mugs or glasses that could be used to contain items
  • Extra plates or saucers could be used as trays
  • Flower Pots to hold items Knick Knacks
  • Do you have something you can declutter and get rid of that was in a container such as a basket, box, plastic tote, etc. that can be repurposed for what you need today?
  • Ask Family and Friends if they have any containers they don’t want.

Slight Cost Items

  • Dollar Store Containers
  • Food Containers
  • Make your own boxes or dividers with poster board or foam core board for a custom fit.
  • Cover boxes or containers with contact paper for uniform look.

You don’t need to wait to organize until you can buy those Pinterest worthy containers.

Do it now.

You can always add those pretty containers later when you have the funds.

Need more help? Check out Sarah’s video tutorial: The Art of Organizing Using Free Containers

Thanks to Karen Gulcher Jones of the Organize Like a Boss challenge for sharing these creative ideas!

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Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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