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Frugal and Creative Organization Ideas

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When you know what you have and where you have it, you save time (no hunting for it) and money (no need to buy another because you can’t find the one you have – – somewhere).

There are zillions of ways to organize everything.  I am happiest when I can organize something and it costs me zero.  I am even happier when I can capitalize on that and include memories in some way, shape, or form.  If you read my blog, you will know that I am all about making memories.

Whether the work area you want to organize is for tools, arts & crafts, homework area, desk in your study or den, or a sewing center, there needs to be organization to avoid wasting an enormous amount of time constantly looking for a piece of paper, a screwdriver, a clamp, and the list goes on and on.

Sewing Center 4th Shelf

One way to organize small supplies (nails, screws, clamps, L-brackets, needles, buttons, beads, paper clips, and so on) is to use small glass jars that jams, jellies, salsa, pickles, green olives, maraschino cherries, etc. come in. You can put the items in the jars, screw on the lids, and just leave the jars on shelves in your work area OR you can mount the jars on the bottom of a shelf so they will be exactly where you leave them and even leave space under the bottom of the jars to store other items. The picture above illustrates how I do this.

I punch a hole in the lid of the glass jar and then screw the lid to the bottom of a wooden shelf and then screw the bottom of the jar onto the lid.  This prevents the jars from falling over and also raises them so that you can put a variety of items under the jars.

Sewing Center 3rd Shelf

The picture to the left shows the top 2 shelves (with dowels that hold the spools of thread) and the 3rd shelf down.  I labeled 3 of the ways that I incorporate storage with memories.  Starting from the left on the 3rd shelf, the item labeled #1 is an empty blue container with white top that held Noxema from years ago.  I store safety pins in this container.  I especially like it because when someone comes here and wants a safety pin, it is easy to tell them they are in the navy blue container with the white top on my sewing center.

The container to the right, labeled #2 is from when my son was 8 or 9 years old and we went to a country fair.  He made a small pottery bowl for me. This is that bowl and it holds snap on fasteners and also hooks and eyes.

Farther to the right on the shelf are “pockets”.  I had items that could not be hung on “S” hooks so I took apart one of the old canvas duffel bags that my son (Bryan) and I used for many years on camping trips while he still lived at home.  We stored the screen room in one bag and our cabin tent in another bag.  When Bryan went into the Army, it was no fun for me to go camping anymore; however, we built many memories during those camping trips.  Even now as I look at those “pockets” I think of some of the things we did:

Crab

  • We went crabbing and it always scared us when the crabs got out of the cage and ran sideways – RIGHT TOWARD US!  And of course, all of the crab dinners;
  • When Bryan caught his very first catfish, only to discover that he had to clean the fish before we ate it!  He had never thought about that before. Even funnier yet was I could not stomach showing him how to clean that blasted fish until I drank a full bottle of beer!;

    Campfire

    Campfire
  • We went to a favorite campground one time and he was really excited when he caught several 4-5” catfish.  A neighboring camper overheard him as he was as excited and the neighbor (who turned out to be a professional lake guide) asked if he could take Bryan out and show him some tricks.  Of course!  The 2nd night that he took Bryan out, Bryan came RUNNING and HOLLERING and was TOTALLY EXCITED that he caught a 16” catfish!  The campground owners put a yardstick by the catfish and mounted the picture on their bulletin board with THE WINNER! next to the photo;
  • One camping trip, it POURED RAIN and none of the other campers could get their bonfires burning; however, Bryan had gotten good enough at building a campfire that he had a huge, rip-roaring, blazing campfire going and many campers stopped by our campsite to ask if they could join us.  We all laughed and sang and told stores – in the rain!
  • We took his girlfriend (she was at that point; she is his wife today) camping with us one weekend and she (Sala) had never been camping before.  One of the things that all 3 of us still laugh about is although she did not like the taste of roasted marshmallows, she LOVED roasting them.  One caught fire one time and she waved the stick WILDLY thinking that it would put out the fire; however, it only made the flames BIGGER.  Finally the flaming marshmallow flipped off her stick and flew to the other side of the campsite and landed on my cockapoo!  I got the marshmallow off her before she got hurt in any way; however, Bryan never missed a beat and yelled out: “Hey look – it’s a Stay Puft Puppy! (Stay Puft was the name of the marshmallows).

I could go on and on with all the memories that we made over the 10 years that we camped; however, I believe I have made my point: every time I look at those pockets, I think of some of the fun things we did and great times we had.

Sewing Center, Right Side

The photo to the right shows rows 2, 3, 4, and 5 (there are 6 shelves) of the RIGHT side of my sewing center.  On the 5th shelf down: The red box on the left, labeled #1 is the tool box from my Mother’s old Singer sewing machine.  I use the box now for the different footers that fit onto my sewing machine.

Mom always told us that she would buy us ONE outfit or we could make TWO.  It was our choice. Smart woman!

The box on the right side, labeled #2, is from a Christmas gift that I got many years ago.  I loved the tin box because it was a different shape that most tin boxes that were on the market.

Sewing Center

On the 3rd shelf on the LEFT side of my sewing center are “S” hooks that I use to hold some of my scissors.

The green handled gizmos on the left are tools that I use to insert a variety of snap fasteners, rivets, and studs.  The small container under the green grippers is a Tupperware mini that I used before Bryan was born (and he will be 40 years old this year)!  Next to that are snaps are the plastic boxes that held micro-cassettes from when I transcribed dictations that several of my bosses did.  When the tapes wore out, I shredded the tapes and kept the little boxes for storage at home.

Entire Sewing Center

This photo shows my entire sewing center.  Notice the “pockets” in different sections (including the stretched out 2 pockets on the bottom left shelf) that I made from the same camping canvas bag.

NOTE: By the way, my sewing center was free! I used to sew all of Bryan’s clothes when he was young. It always has been cheaper to make clothes than to buy them.  I learned to trade my skill for services that I either wanted or needed.  For example, years ago, I “paid” for Bryan’s horseback riding lessons by making a pair of jodhpurs for the person who owned the horses.

I gave a fully lined lounge jacket for a friend who was so pleased that he made this sewing center for me.

Please share your organizational techniques.  I would love to gather many unique, creative, free or frugal ideas to share with everyone.

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