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Twenty Ideas To Save You Time, Money And Space

Updated on June 6, 2017
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I have learned over the years that wanting something is not the same as needing something, and greed will haunt you.

Plastic totes can help, but only if you do not over fill them.
Plastic totes can help, but only if you do not over fill them. | Source

Everything At A Glance

 
 
 
Number One: Clean Out Your Closet.
Number Eight: Dispose Of Items That Are Worn Or Broken.
Do You Have Storage Ideas?
Number Two: Ask These Questions When Shopping.
Number Nine: Repurpose Items.
Number Sixteen: Use Coupons.
Number Three: Keep Like Items Together.
Number Ten: 'Box-Up' The Stuffed Animals.
Number Seventeen: Reduce Your Electric And Heating Bills.
Number Four: Use Labels.
Number Eleven: Ceiling Chain.
Number Eighteen: Buy In Bulk.
Number Five: The Rotation Method.
Number Twelve: Organize The Kids.
The Time Has Come.
What Do You Think?
Number Thirteen: Use All Spaces.
Number Nineteen: Over The Door Storage.
Number Six: Make Sure Your Items Have Multiple Purposes.
Number Fourteen: Storing Snacks.
Number Twenty: Homemade Gifts, Greeting Cards And Wrapping Paper.
Number Seven: Reduce What You Have.
Number Fifteen: A Tree for Your Decorations.
To 'Wrap' It All Up.

Number One: Clean Out Your Closet.

Take the time to peruse your closet regularly. Anything that you haven’t worn for at least a year should be discarded (you can donate, sell, or toss it). By checking your closet regularly you can eliminate the tight quarters that cause wrinkled clothes and you will be able to find things easier. Plus you can get rid of those items that have worn out or are stained without feeling guilty about it. Cleaning the closet now will save you hours of searching and ironing later on.

Cluttered and packed tight means I can't find anything!
Cluttered and packed tight means I can't find anything! | Source

Number Two: Ask These Questions When Shopping.

  1. Do I need it?
  2. Do I need to discard something to make room for it?
  3. Will I use it?
  4. Can I afford it?
  5. Where will I put it?

Once you have answered each of these questions you will be able to make better decisions on shopping choices which will save you money and avoid the 'where do I put that' concern when a new item enters the house.

Source

Number Three: Keep Like Items Together.

Try to store like items together so you have a better idea of what you really have on hand. An example would be crafting supplies (I like to craft). You have twelve rolls of beading wire for instance, but they are in five separate areas so you think you only have one and you purchase more. By organizing everything together, you not only make it easier to find (no lost time searching), but cheaper in the long run because you are not always trying to replace supplies you already have.

Now I know where to find my beading wire.
Now I know where to find my beading wire. | Source

Number Four: Use Labels.

Label everything! Labels can be done by hand, using a computer, or using a label maker and can be an easy way to help you find whatever you might be looking for at any given moment. The label is especially important for small items and items that may be hard to reach like boxes stacked in the attic. When you need to find something, just read the labels and you will find the item faster and easier. For very small items like beads for instance, separate into small fishing or tool drawers and label each drawer. This is a time saver if I ever heard one.

By labeling them, I don't have to open each drawer to see what is inside.
By labeling them, I don't have to open each drawer to see what is inside. | Source

Number Five: The Rotation Method.

This is the method used by grocery stores to insure items do not go out of code before they can be sold and I bet you do the same thing at home so you don't waste food. This method is basically the same for a home: when a new item comes in, an old item goes out (in a store the older item would be placed in front so it will sell first). That would keep you from getting too overwhelmed with ‘stuff’ and will help keep things organized. If, for some reason, you do not want to get rid of the old item (a toy that you are giving to a younger child for instance), then discard something else. An example would be you get a desk for the oldest child and you want to give their desk to a younger sibling. In order to make room, try getting rid of something the oldest has but does not need and something of the younger child’s as well. In this way, they both get something new and they both loose something old. This will also keep their rooms clutter free, at least in theory.

You Rotate Your Food....

You rotate your food already so it shouldn't be hard to do the same with your items.
You rotate your food already so it shouldn't be hard to do the same with your items. | Source

What Do You Think?

Do you think you could use some of these ideas to down-size?

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Number Six: Make Sure Your Items Have Multiple Purposes.

Try to purchase things that can be used for multiple things: for instance, a frying pan that can also go into the oven. By keeping that pan and getting rid of other pans that do only one thing you can make more room in your cabinets. I know it is preferable to have everything on the market so you can make ‘professional’ meals and desserts with ease, but how many times will you use it, once a year; maybe twice a year? Is that worth the cabinet space the item will take up? The answer is probably no. Be creative with your pans, plates, glasses and serving items to use them for multiple tasks. A good example would be using smaller tea plates as holders for small indoor plants.

This Is A Versitle Pan

You can fry, bake and even mix in this pan.
You can fry, bake and even mix in this pan. | Source

Number Seven: Reduce What You Have.

I am not trying to tell you that you should get rid of everything and live in an empty house. I am just saying that you can reduce your belongings down to a manageable portion by getting rid of the excess. The number of plates, glasses, cups, silverware pieces and serving/cooking utensils you have (along with anything else you can think of) is a good example. We all get new ones and rarely dispose of the old ones. For example: You can only cook so many things at one time on your stove, so why would you have six stirring utensils that are wood, six that are metal and six that are plastic? Get rid of several of them and give yourself more room. I try to keep enough for each person in the house to have three plates, cups and glasses. For silverware, since you use it for more than just eating, I try to have a set of eight for each person. The rest can be discarded (donated, sold or recycled). We love having the special stuff but rarely do we have the room.

Wow, I can't find anything in here because it is so packed.
Wow, I can't find anything in here because it is so packed. | Source

Number Eight: Dispose Of Items That Are Worn Or Broken.

Check your towels, wash cloths, hand towels, etc. If they are starting to wear then get rid of them. They can be used for rags, stuffing for pillows (note they aren’t always soft), kindling for a fire, or donations to your local vet (they always need towels), the list is endless. And remember that the more you do get rid of the easier it is to store what you keep. I generally keep three main towels for each member of the household and then an extra stock of maybe six to use for drying spills, drying off items after a rain storm, pot holders and more; the list goes on and on. Another idea would be to give them to the kids that are first starting out in a dorm or new apartment so that they have towels and such until they can buy their own.

Broken or cracked items are of little use and should be discarded. They can injure someone or fail to work correctly. If they are a favored knick knack, take a picture of it before you toss it and keep the memory alive in the picture.

If you put it away to be fixed later, it will never be fixed and you lose the space it takes up while stored.
If you put it away to be fixed later, it will never be fixed and you lose the space it takes up while stored. | Source

Number Nine: Repurpose Items.

Every day we get things that come in boxes, bowls, jars and bubble wrap. Instead of getting rid of the item, see if you can make a use for it first. Pickle jars can be cleaned and used to store beads. Boxes can be cut down and used to keep things stable or close by. Before you discard other items, look for a way to use for something else first. Sauce pans can be used as flower pots, dishes and old bowls can be used for pet food, socks can be turned into toys and books can be used to cover things in an unique way (like bureaus). The possibilities are endless, and the supplies are free.

An empty box cut in half to hold items together on a shelf.
An empty box cut in half to hold items together on a shelf. | Source

Number Ten: 'Box-Up' The Stuffed Animals.

Attach sturdy boxes to a wall and use them to display stuffed animals. If your kids are anything like mine, they have their favorites. Those should go into the boxes and the rest can be donated or given away. The larger the boxes, though, the less strength they have so try using the smaller ones and keep them close together. This is a great way to store items and still save space. Be sure to put the boxes all the way up to the ceiling on an empty wall to maximize the space. Having the bottom row of boxes sitting on a shelf or piece of furniture will give it more stability. Another way to 'box' the stuffed animals is to have a large box tucked under a table (for example) filled with the stuffed animals. The kids pull them out to play and toss them back in when done.

You can wrap, stamp and or decorate as you like.
You can wrap, stamp and or decorate as you like. | Source

Number Eleven: Ceiling Chain.

Put up a ceiling hook, attach a chain about the size used for swings as long as you wish. Be sure the hook is in a handy and/or out of the way place so no one walks into it. Using ornament hooks, paper clips or curtain hooks, hang items up and out of the way on the chain. You can hang several items on the chain at once to get many things out of the way yet keep them handy if needed. You can hang favorite décor, collections, serving items, pans, covers, pot holders and even plastic bags filled with smaller items. You can even hang stuffed animals up by tying a small string around the animal’s body and then hooking the string to the chain. This is a great space saver. The only warning is to not over-fill the chain or the hook will come down and leave a large hole in your ceiling. The chain below is actually being used to disguise the electric cord for a lamp.

You can hang the chain straight down or curve it like this one.
You can hang the chain straight down or curve it like this one. | Source

Number Twelve: Organize The Kids.

Keeping the house organized is hard enough, but trying to keep the kids organized as well can be harder still. Try giving each child their own set of book shelves. Have them put their things on the book shelves when they are done playing. Show them how it will all fit so they have a good idea about how to do it. Then offer them a prize for a neat book shelf every day. I offered my kids a dessert if they cleaned up. I usually didn’t have too much trouble. You can use the book shelf concept in a playroom or living room as well. Oh, and get used to having a clean floor. You can use boxes, trunks, storage ottomans or anything else you like, the list of things you can use is, well, endless.

I tried to get just the kids' things, but if you look close you can see I have the cats' toys on the bottom.
I tried to get just the kids' things, but if you look close you can see I have the cats' toys on the bottom. | Source

Number Thirteen: Use All Spaces.

Use every space available to you. For example: you may have high cabinets, but they don’t reach the ceiling. You can store items of décor or your kitchen tools that aren’t used very often on the top of these cabinets. Be sure to dust now and then. I would put glasses, slow cookers, and my serving platters up there to get them out of the way until I needed them. You can put things that you don't use often into the back area of your cabinets. You can use the wall space around a room by putting up a shelf and displaying collections, etc. Another way is to put small things on large things like a Lazy Susan on your desk to make more room.

With a Lazy Susan you gain twice as much storage.
With a Lazy Susan you gain twice as much storage. | Source

Number Fourteen: Storing Snacks.

When the kids come home from school or come in from a day in the pool, they are usually hungry and want a snack. But keeping snacks handy yet out of the way can be difficult. Try getting a small plastic set of drawers and putting each child’s name on one of the drawers. Store snacks that they can have in the drawers. When they come home, they can get a snack without bothering you, and the snacks are organized and out of the way. You can put fruit, cracker snacks, chips or whatever else you might want. Get the individual serving packages so you can put several in each drawer and each child gets their favorite. The best part is: you know they are getting a good snack because you put them in the drawer. The plastic drawers can sit on the floor with items stored on top, or you can put it on a shelving unit.

Do You Have Storage Ideas?

Be sure to leave them in the comments section of this HUB.

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Number Fifteen: A Tree For Your Decorations.

Christmas trees can take up a lot of room and are usually used only once a year. Try getting a small one so it doesn’t take up much room. Or you can get a fake tree and put it up in a corner where it will remain all year long. Get one that is a bit skinny and has white lights or go all out with a tree the size of your room. Put on decorations that fit the season. That way you don’t have to store the tree. Your decorations for the tree will be smaller and easier to store. Keep a tote under the tree with a blanket or something over it and store the decorations in the tote. Small plastic bags will help keep the decorations organized. The tree can now be used for storage instead of being storage.

Something like this would be perfect and you can put up decorated eggs for Easter and red, white and blue ribbons for the 4th of July.
Something like this would be perfect and you can put up decorated eggs for Easter and red, white and blue ribbons for the 4th of July. | Source

Number Sixteen: Use Coupons.

Using coupons can save you lots of money, especially if you use them wisely. First, check the flyers of each store for their sales items. Then cut out coupons from the inserts in your Sunday Paper or you can print them from the internet. The more coupons you have, the more items you can purchase at the sales price. It only takes a couple of hours (for me anyway) to get it all set up. I generally make my grocery list from the flyers and then look for coupons for the items I listed. Be sure your printer prints out the coupons correctly or they won’t scan at the store and many stores won’t take them if they don’t scan.

Cut them out and use them, but be sure you read the fine print so you know you are getting the right item.
Cut them out and use them, but be sure you read the fine print so you know you are getting the right item. | Source

Number Seventeen: Reducing Your Electric And Heating Bills.

Electricity is extremely useful in operating your house, but it is not necessary to use enough power to light up New York because power is expensive. You could use solar panels to create power, but they are also expensive. So take a moment to make your home operate on less power.

  • Plug items into surge suppressors and turn the suppressors off when you leave the house or go to bed. That stops the item from drawing power to stay ‘live’ or come on as soon as you turn them on. This includes chargers for your phone, i-pad or e-book.
  • Unplug phones and equipment from chargers as soon as they are at maximum power or the equipment will continue to draw power. You can also turn off the surge supressor.
  • Microwaves do not have to display a clock since you can find cheap clocks anywhere that run for a year on one battery. Plug your microwave into a suppressor and shut that power hog down.
  • Most appliances can be plugged into a supressor and turned off when not in use. The only appliance that has to remain plugged in all the time is your refrigerator because the food will go bad if it doesn’t stay cold.

I just turned off the surge supressor (to the left of the microwave) and saved a ton on my electric bill.
I just turned off the surge supressor (to the left of the microwave) and saved a ton on my electric bill. | Source

Heat in the winter is a necessity, but did you know you can save on your heating bill by putting towels at the base of your doors and putting plastic on your windows? You can put insulation on your walls (added insulation I should say) by hanging blankets or rugs on the walls. Large pieces of furniture can block your heat so make sure there is at least three inches between your furniture and the heater vent. Also make sure the heat can get into the room around the furniture by keeping spaces between them open at least two inches. Have an expert come in to make your home more energy efficient which will help you to save as well.

If there is no need, off should be your creed.

Number Eighteen: Buy In Bulk.

Yes, I know, I have been talking about reducing everything down and here I am telling you to get more than you need. But everything costs so much and everyone is making so little that we need to save money on everything we can. One way is to buy in bulk because the items cost less. If you have the room, you can get items like canned foods, tissue, drink mixes and so on and then store them away. When you see you are getting low, be sure to restock. Watch expiration dates and rotate the items so you are always using the oldest first. I try to get to a warehouse store once a month to get all of the things I need. I generally don't have to get more than perishable items until the end of the month that way. If you don't have the room, then perhaps just getting what you need is a better idea.

The Time Has Come To Admit Your Guilt.

Are you a pack-rat or a penny pincher?

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Number Nineteen: Over The Door Storage.

Get over the door storage items for out of the way storage. You can get hooks for ties and belts or shelving for craft ideas. They can be used in the kitchen for storing food or cleaning products. You can also get some that go inside your cabinets for smaller storage like for your spices. These items come in very handy especially when you are in an apartment and can’t put holes in the walls. I like to get those hooks you use to hang a wreath on your front door. They can be used all year for just about anything. I have my light sweaters hanging on one; and I have several plastic ones in my shower to hold my sponges and brushes. Repurposing at its best.

This over the door shelving gives you a ton of storage without taking up much room.
This over the door shelving gives you a ton of storage without taking up much room. | Source

Number Twenty: Homemade Gifts, Greeting Cards And Wrapping Paper.

A great idea for all of your holidays is to have the kids decorated brown paper lunch bags, fill them with sand or clean litter, and put in a candle. Recipients of this gift can display the 'luminary' throught-out the season. I would use battery operated tea candles for safety reasons. Other gifts can be quilts made from old clothes, table clothes that everyone has signed, hand beaded jewelry or even a crooked pot made by your child at school.

Homemade cards using regular paper or card stock means you can actually say what you really wanted the card to say, not some silly message or extended greeting. You can make them funny, serious, pretty or anything else you can think of to do.

Wrapping paper is expensive these days and you can barely get one gift covered with one roll of paper. For the special holidays like birthdays and anniversaries, try creating your own wrapping paper on your printer. Decorate with whatever pictures you want and then print out enough of them to cover the present. I found that not only did they cover the gift, but many of them became part of the gift once it was opened because friends and family would save one of the sheets.

To Wrap It All Up

  • Take the time to compare before you buy.
  • Remember the 'Rotation Method'.
  • If it has been here unused for a year it is time to get rid of it.
  • No matter how much sentimental value an item has, if it is broken it should be tossed.

Saving time, money and space can unclutter your home and your life. Take a moment to check into your spaces today.

© 2017 Cheryl Simonds

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