Organizing With What You Already Have

My parents were born in the depression era, during which the common outlook on living frugally was, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It is similar to our current saying of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” My Dad was a champion re-user. I have a tool that he crafted from an old car antenna, a piece of wood and a small magnet. It appears that he used this for retrieving small nuts, bolts and screws that had fallen behind the refrigerator or in the engine compartment of a car. Not that I will ever work on my car, but I keep it because it makes me smile when I think of him.

Today, I thought I would discuss reusing organizing and storage items around your house, so that perhaps you can avoid buying something new. As you reorganize one space, you may find that containers you were using don’t work in one spot, but will in another.

Use What You Have Organizing
Organize with What You Already Have

I recently reorganized the open bookshelf in my home office. Part of what I had there was a collection of antique buttons, displayed in glass jars that I love. I was ready to put away my collection for a while, so I was left with the jars and no immediate idea of how to use them. I washed them and set them on a dresser for about a day. It seems that I do my best thinking when I am not trying very hard. It occurred to me that the counter in my bathroom was bugging me, so I placed some frequent-use items (Q-tips, cotton balls, etc.) inside. The result: an easier-to-use area in the bathroom, more space on my office bookshelf, and I did not have to give up the glass jars that I love.

If you’re working through your home or office one area at a time, you may empty a container and not know how you will want to use it right away. When I am helping clients organize their spaces, I like to gather together any containers that we have emptied. As we work through the project, we discover groups of items that need containers. It’s almost magic, as we often find what we need in the “available containers” stash.

How do you know which containers to keep and for how long? My answer is, while you are in the process of organizing an area, hang on to them. When you’re finished, choose a finite storage spot and limit yourself to what fits there. I keep a small collection of boxes, but if something is too large for my storage spot, it is worn out, or I am tired of it, then out it goes.

11 thoughts on “Organizing With What You Already Have

  1. Those jars are beautiful – I can see why you love them. What a perfect example of finding new uses for things we already own.


    1. Thank you, Janet! My organizing philosophy is to keep everyday items close at hand, and therefore easy to put things away. Beautiful containers certainly help.


  2. I love those glass jars… they were definitely use finding a new use for! #POBC


    1. That is a good way to put it. When you love the way something looks, that is when it is worth taking the time to include them in your home.


  3. Great reuse of those jars, the counter looks beautiful and organized!


  4. The “available container” stash. I like it. By having the containers in our line of sight, it’s easier to see how or where we can use the things we love.


    1. Hello Debbie,
      I find it useful to keep a limited number of “available containers” for long-term, impromptu organizing, when there is a spot to store them. :-)Thanks for your comment.


  5. The jars look great on your bathroom counter! I was recently organizing with a tween trying to get his video games organized and he pulled out the sturdy cardboard shoe box that his winter boots came in. It nicely fit all his discs and he was so proud to have thought of it himself. Using what you have is definitely the way to go!


    1. I love that he was proud to have thought of it!


  6. The jars are so cute. I am all about organizing with stuff I already have. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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