9 "Zero Dollar" DIY Organizing Solutions

Buying stuff is fun—but spending money on items to sort and corral all that stuff? Less fun. The good news: Sturdy, useful, and very stylish storage can be yours for free if you know where to look and have a tiny bit of DIY spirit. So, if you’ve got a crowded house and a lack of cash, steal these 9 incredibly creative ideas for no-budget organizers.

  1. Drift Away

    Driftwood Ideas

    You can’t put a price tag on nature—or on nature finds, which can add order and beauty to your home for no money at all. (Just make sure you source your find legally; no harvesting of endangered species, please!) With a few cup hooks, a pretty branch or a chunk of driftwood can be transformed into a convenient hanger for necklaces or keychains.

    Related: 9 Inventive Ways to Decorate with Tree Trunks, Branches, and Twigs


  2. License to Organize

    DIY Bookends

    A repurposed license plate is a cool and colorful way to pay a little tribute to a home state or favorite vacation destination. Bent at a right angle, it becomes functional as well as sentimental by serving as a handy bookend for a desktop collection or a small grouping of volumes. 

    Related: Get Organized: 25 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage


  3. Tin Win

    DIY Organizer

    Have you rummaged in your kitchen drawers lately? You’ll probably find some unloved items lurking in there, just waiting to be used—or at least repurposed as organizers. Muffin tins are a genius way to corral all sorts of odd bits; here, teamed up with vintage gelatin molds, they make for an extra-charming collection display.

    Related: 8 Organizers You Need for Everyday Clutter


  4. Sweeping Beauty

    DIY Desk Organizer

    You won’t want to use your dustiest broom for this one, but if you unscrew the head of a spare clean sweeper, you can set writing implements in it or use it to hold your mobile gadgets as they charge. Adhesive rubber feet (the kind designed to stick onto furniture legs) keep the organizer steady as you pick through your pens whenever inspiration strikes. 

    Related: Easy Storage Ideas for Every Room in the House


  5. Folded Holder

    Origami Boxes

    This no-budget project is infinitely customizable—your base material can be colorful pages from a magazine or book, black-and-white newspaper print, or patterned scrapbook paper. Cut your chosen paper into squares, and, a few origami folds later, you’ve got a neat catchall for jewelry on your dresser or office supplies at your desk.

    Related: 10 Surprisingly Smart Solutions for Junk Drawers


  6. Geometric Pairs

    DIY Shoe Rack

    Remember the equilateral triangle from 6th-grade geometry? No? These shoe cubbies will refresh your memory. Each one is made from cardboard, scored and folded into a triangular tube with three equal sides, then secured with bright duct tape. Each slot can hold a pair of shoes, one behind the other. Make a few for your closet floor, or stack them to cover a whole wall!

    Related: 8 Smart Shoe Racks You Can Make Today


  7. Crate Expectations

    How to Make Bookshelves

    This ultraflexible storage unit has the sleek look of a pricey contemporary design, but this cheerful DIY project will cost you much less. The simple wooden crates came from IKEA, but freebies from the wine or produce market could swap in just as easily. All that's left is to sand and paint the crate interiors, then stack and secure the boxes in any combination using large binder clips.

    Related: 10 Insanely Creative Shelves You Can DIY


  8. Waist Case

    Bulletin Board Display

    Realizing that some of her belts had seen better days, this crafty blogger incorporated them into a hip little memo and photo board. Transform your own potential Goodwill giveaways into a hardworking organizer by creating a wooden base from lumber left over from another project and using a handful of upholstery nails to fasten a few belts to it. 

    Related: 10 Thrifty DIY Ways to Organize Your Home


  9. Circular Thinking

    DIY Shelves

    If you see a five-gallon plastic bucket sitting empty at a supermarket or restaurant, volunteer to take it home—because five-gallon plastic buckets are the ultimate freebie storage container. Here, with the top rims sawed off and exteriors covered with bright paint, a bunch of buckets have been reimagined as wall cubbies for a playroom.

    Related: 9 Creative Uses for Old Paint Cans


  10. Don't Miss!


    Money-saving, time-saving—and yes, sometimes even life-saving—the latest and greatest smart home technologies span from self-programming thermostats to voice-activated TV controls to video doorbells and beyond. Raise your home's IQ!