50 Ways to Get Organized With Items You Already Have

Before you spend money on expensive organizers and storage solutions, think outside the box with what you already own. Here are 50 ways to get organized by repurposing or upcycling items you may have around the house.

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October 13, 2020

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Coffee Can = Bag Dispenser

Corral your plastic grocery bags by upcycling a coffee can into a handy bag dispenser. Using a utility knife, cut an X-shaped slit in the center of the lid. Cover the canister with colorful cardstock and decorate with stick-on letters. Roll plastic bags together in a tight circle (like a sleeping bag) and place them in the canister, threading the first bag through the slit.

More Ideas: 15 Quick Tips for Keeping an Organized Kitchen

Tin Cans = Kitchen Utensil Holders

Empty tin cans make ideal holders for kitchen utensils and gadgets. To free up counter space, use a drill bit to create a hole just below the rim on the back of each can, then hang each can from an S-hook on a towel bar. You can even decorate the cans with spray paint, washi tape and stickers.

More Ideas: 12 Decorative Ways to Upcycle Tin Cans

Shoe Organizer = Pantry Storage

Add an over-the-door shoe organizer to the back of your pantry door (or on an empty wall) and use it to sort small items like granola bars, fruit cups and disposable cutlery. The clear pockets make it easy to grab a snack on the go without having to dig through the entire pantry.

More Ideas: 5 Clever Uses for a Hanging Shoe Organizer

Egg Carton = Drawer Organizer

Tidy up your kitchen junk drawer with an empty egg carton. The small compartments can hold paper clips, push pins or rubber bands, while the lid can store pens, pencils and scissors.

More Ideas: 12 Unexpected Ways to Recycle an Egg Carton

Wine Rack = Water Bottle Holder

If your water bottle collection is bigger than your wine bottle collection, put your wine rack to better use as an organizer for your reusable bottles and travel mugs. You’ll never dig through a cabinet looking for your favorite vessel again.

File Organizers = Shopping Bag Holders

Between grocery store runs, keep your reusable shopping bags organized and out of the way in a file organizer mounted on your pantry wall. This hack also works great for paper grocery bags.

Tension Rods = Spice Shelves

Think beyond window treatments and put your old tension rods to work in the kitchen. Mount them inside of a cabinet to put your spices on display — you’ll never have to hunt for basil or bay leaves again.

More Ideas: Take Your Tension Rod Beyond the Window With These 4 Hacks

Baby Food Jars = Spice Storage

Free up kitchen cabinet space by storing your spices on the fridge in upcycled baby food jars. Just add magnets to the lids and labels to the bottoms of the jars so you know which spice is which.

More Ideas: 13 Creative Ways to Organize Spices

Magazine File = Plastic Lid Organizer

Plastic food storage containers can easily take up an entire kitchen cabinet if you stack them with their lids on. Save space by storing the containers on a cabinet shelf and the lids in an old magazine file mounted on the cabinet door.

Magazine Rack = Pot Lid Holder

Get all those pot lids in line with a metal magazine rack. Just hang it inside a cabinet or on the back of a cabinet door and arrange the lids by size.

Soda Boxes = Canned Food Storage

Stacks of canned foods can be precarious in a pantry. Keep your canned goods tidy and topple-proof by storing them on their sides in empty soda boxes. Cover the boxes with decorative paper, attach labels, and cut openings in the back so older cans rotate to the front.

Loaf Pan = Baking Supply Holder

Small baking supplies like sprinkles, cupcake liners, food coloring bottles and piping tips can easily get lost in a pantry or kitchen cabinet. Corral these items in an old loaf pan — the next time you feel like baking, everything you need will be at your fingertips.

Magazine File = Produce Storage

Garlic and onions are best stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space. A metal mesh magazine file on a pantry shelf is the perfect solution. The open design lets the veggies breathe and allows you to easily see what produce you have on hand.

More Ideas: 60 Organizers for a Picture-Perfect Pantry

Spice Rack = Beauty Supply Storage

Spice shelves aren’t just for the kitchen. Grab a tiered spice rack and load it with beauty supplies under your bathroom sink. You’ll never have to hunt for hairspray again.

More Ideas: 32 Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Bathroom

Binder Ring = Hair Tie Holder

If you can never find a hair tie when you need one, keep them all in one convenient spot with a binder ring.

Kitchen Canisters = Hair Accessory Storage

For larger hair accessories like bows and scrunchies, kitchen canisters are a great storage solution. The clear containers make it easy to pinpoint exactly what you need when you're rushing to get ready.

Shoe Organizer = Toiletry Holder

Free up bathroom counter space by storing lotion, hair products and other toiletries in a shoe organizer on the back of the cabinet door.

More Ideas: 5 Clever Uses for a Hanging Shoe Organizer

Fruit Basket = Shower Caddy

Put a hanging fruit basket to work in the bathroom as a shower organizer. The tiered baskets are perfect for holding shampoo, sponges and other bath essentials.

Wine Rack = Towel Rack

Think outside the bottle and use an accordion-style wine rack to store rolled-up towels and washcloths in the bathroom.

Mason Jars = Bathroom Organizer

Are unused Mason jars crowding your kitchen cabinets? Add farmhouse style and extra storage to your bathroom with a DIY wall organizer made from glass jars, hose clamps and scrap wood.

Lazy Susan = Nail Polish Display

If you have a large nail polish collection, the spinning surface of a lazy Susan can help you easily locate your favorite shade in a crowded bathroom cabinet or closet. This display would even look good on a bathroom countertop or dresser. Organize the bottles by color for an extra-pretty touch.

More Ideas: Organize Your Whole House With These Five Items

Ladder = Drying Rack

Short on floor space in your laundry room? Convert a wooden ladder into a clever ceiling-mounted clothes drying rack.

Get the How-To: Repurpose a Ladder Into a DIY Drying Rack

Tension Rod = Scarf Sorter

If you’ve recently upgraded to wall-mounted curtain rods, put those old tension rods to use in your closet. Mount several rods six to eight inches apart and use them to showcase your scarf collection.

More Ideas: Take Your Tension Rod Beyond the Window With These 4 Hacks

Pot Lid Rack = Handbag Organizer

Repurpose a pot lid rack from your kitchen to organize wallets, clutches and even small purses in your closet.

Mug Tree = Jewelry Holder

Put your favorite baubles on display by using a mug tree as a jewelry holder, as seen in HGTV Magazine. Your go-to accessories will always be at your fingertips when you’re getting dressed.

More Ideas: Organize Your Whole House With These Five Items

Five-Gallon Bucket = Portable Tote

Can you believe this adorable storage tote is made from a five-gallon bucket? From toys to tools, it’s sturdy enough to hold just about anything and look good doing it.

Get the How-To: Say It Ain't Sew: No Sew 5-Gallon Bucket Tote

Ladder = Stylish Shelf

Give an old wooden ladder new life by converting it into a chic open shelving unit for books, plants and knickknacks.

Get the How-To: Step-by-Step Shelving: DIY Ladder Shelf

Baby Crib = Magazine Rack

Have a stack of magazines you keep forgetting to read? Repurpose an unused crib as a magazine rack. You’ll be more likely to peruse your latest issues when they’re on display.

Dish Drain = File Caddy

Organize your go-to documents in a repurposed dish drain. Outfit with pretty folders and color coordinated notebooks for a chic look, and don’t forget to stock the utensil cup with plenty of pens and pencils.

More Ideas: 36 Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Home Office

Wine Corks = Message Board

Start saving up wine corks to upcycle into a chic memo board. You can leave the corks plain for a minimalist look or paint them to complement your decor.

Get the How-To: Upcycled Wine Cork Board

Baby Food Jars = Office Supply Storage

Turn empty baby food jars into cute containers for push pins, paper clips and other petite office supplies. Make them display-worthy by gluing a small wooden drawer knob in the center of the lid, then spray painting the lid and knob in your favorite color.

Cereal Box = Faux Metal Desk Organizer

Get the look of a trendy metal desk organizer for less by decorating cereal and cracker boxes with metallic paint and file markers.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Faux Metal Desk Organizer Out of Cardboard

Shampoo Bottle = Cell Phone Holder

Create a designated charging spot for your phone with this handy hack. Cut off the top of an empty shampoo bottle, then cut off about half of one side of the bottle, leaving a pocket to hold your phone. Cut a hole through the top of the bottle for your phone charger’s plug to fit through.

More Ideas: Clever Uses for Leftover Shampoo Bottles

Binder Clips = Cord Organizers

A mess of wires instantly makes any workspace look unorganized. Keep them tidy by attaching binder clips to the edge of your desk and threading the cords through the clips. This also makes it easy to plug in your electronics.

More Ideas: Keep Cord Chaos Under Control: Cable Management Tips and Ideas

Tin Cans = Drawer Organizers

Small tin cans can be creatively repurposed as drawer organizers for various desk accessories, including rubber bands, paper clips, push pins and binder clips. Just be sure to remove labels and fold down any sharp can edges.

Cereal Boxes = Letter Trays

Keep important papers at the ready with a reimagined cereal box. Neatly trim the top flaps off the box, then wrap the box in a pretty paper. This is a great way to keep homework assignments and handouts sorted by class in a school locker.

Shoe Organizer = Craft Supply Sorter

A hanging shoe organizer with clear pockets is perfect for holding paintbrushes, glue sticks, washi tape and other craft supplies. Keep like items together in one pocket so you can find exactly what you need when you’re starting your next project.

More Ideas: 5 Clever Uses for a Hanging Shoe Organizer

Cake Pan = Craft Caddy

Make a spinning craft supply organizer by hot gluing a lazy Susan, cake pans and candlesticks together, as seen in this amazing craft room featured in HGTV Magazine.

See More Photos: 12 Amazing Craft Room Organization Ideas

Cheese Grater = Pencil Cup

Have an unused cheese grater taking up space in your kitchen cabinet? Flip it over and use it as a pencil holder in your craft room or home office.

Egg Carton = Thread Organizer

Leftover embroidery floss, thread or yarn nestle perfectly inside a repurposed egg carton. Paint the carton a bright hue to liven up your craft space.

More Ideas: 12 Unexpected Ways to Recycle an Egg Carton

Garment Bag = Wrapping Paper Storage

Keep your wrapping paper dust-free and easily accessible with a clear garment bag. You can even hang it in your closet with a clothes hanger to free up floor space.

More Ideas: 14 Ways to Organize Your Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags

Magazine File = Gift Bag Storage

Repurpose a few magazine files to get your gift bag stash in order. Label the files by holiday or event so you can easily find the perfect bag for any occasion.

Paper Towel Holder = Ribbon Stand

Organize an unruly ribbon collection by stacking them on a standing paper towel holder, interior designer Sabrina Soto suggests. "The spools spin around the stand, so I can quickly pull out the amount I want and snip," she says.

More Ideas: Stylish Storage Solutions

Egg Carton = Christmas Ornament Storage

Hang onto your egg cartons this holiday season — they’re perfect for keeping small, round ornaments safe when it’s time to take the Christmas tree down.

More Ideas: 14 Clever Holiday Decor Storage Hacks

Window Boxes = Spray Paint Holders

Plastic window planters make great storage containers for spray paint, allowing you to see every color at a glance. Mount them to the garage wall and fill them up with paint cans.

More Ideas: 25 Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Garage

Filing Cabinet = Garden Tool Rack

If that old filing cabinet is just collecting dust in your home office, turn it into a storage system for your garden tools. PVC pipes create designated spots for larger tools, while pegboard sides offer storage for smaller tools and gloves.

Get the How-To: Turn a Filing Cabinet Into Garden Tool Storage

Baby Crib = Bike Rack

When your child outgrows his or her crib, use the rails to create a DIY bike rack with bonus storage for helmets, bike locks and other gear.

Get the How-To: DIY Bike Rack: Upcycle a Crib Rail Into a Bike Stand

Coffee Can = Rope Dispenser

Stop fighting with tangled twine and rope. Cut a slit in the top of a coffee can and put your rope inside. Pull the end through the top for an easy dispenser.

Paint Cans = Painting Supply Storage

Don’t throw away your empty paint cans the next time you finish a painting project. Use them to organize your paint supplies like brushes, rollers, tape and stir sticks.

Pill Bottle = Key Hider

Upcycle an empty pill bottle into a clever key hider and never lock yourself out of the house again. Remove the label and glue a rock to the top of the lid using heavy-duty super glue. Once dry, drop a key into the bottle, replace the lid and bury until only the rock is visible.

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