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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Best, Most Frugal Organizing Tool

How's that for an enticing title? Well, I have the answer: it is the plastic dishpan. This kind.

Amazon pic just for reference. I buy them for $1 or so. They are available at any Dollar Store. Interestingly, they are usually priced HIGHER at thrift stores.

I am the opposite of organized. I would never even think of this by myself. No, like most of what I know, I learned it from a book. This one, which is as much consulted as the OED.

This chick LOVES dishpans. She uses them for children's books (face forward, stand upright) and just about everything else: socks, toys. I bought 20 after reading her book and guess what--after almost 20 years, I am STILL using them. For vitamins and other drugstore items. For gloves and hats. For spices. ETC.

If you buy them all in the same color, you can line them on a shelf and they do not look too horrible. Even better, they make a closed shelf into a dresser. And you can use them in a dresser drawer as a divider.

Who needs the Container Store? The dishpan is a gift of the frugal universe, right up there with dried beans. You can have as much as you want and they are GOOD. Enough. I see I am getting carried away.

Do you have a tool as good as the dishpan? Or almost?


Duchesse said...

Don't you want a LID on the containers, so you can stack them? The look of plastic does not appeal to me, so I'd use plastic snap-boxes only where moisture is an issue, like a basement.

I use Ikea cardboard boxes (with lids), seagrass baskets (again, lids) and metal boxes like these in any area where they are visible, like livingrooms:

Those are staples of European apartments, which are usually smaller, and in which storage boxes are usually visible.

SewingLibrarian said...

I have Schofield's book, and I think it's very helpful. But I like dishpans only for children's rooms for Legos and such. My kids also use laundry baskets to keep large items (one basket each, or they would take over the bedrooms!) such as fire trucks and police cars.

Duchesse said...

SewingLibrarian: My kids used those rolling ikea boxes for toys; they were cute and sturdy. I still see there there, along with that wonderful collapsible tunnel.

jenny_o said...

I must stick up for the lowly dishpan :) We have a lot of deep shelves behind doors, and dishpans are the cheapest way to make the items in these cupboards accessible. They are also durable and easily cleaned, which straw baskets in my opinion are not.

I do indeed have another organizing tool which is good - and it's sort of free. I use the zippered plastic bags that blankets, etc., are packaged in, and use them to store my sewing projects and crafting items. I can easily see what's inside; all the bits for the project stay together; they can be corralled in boxes or bins for stacking; and they are durable - I haven't yet had one fall apart or tear.

Speaking of boxes, the ones that reams of paper come in are another "free" tool. They are made to be sturdy because reams of paper are heavy; they have lids; and once you find a supply (try any legal or accounting office) you'll never need to buy them again :)

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse-You are obviously a "born organized" person. People like me would never put anything away if it involved a lid. Stacking is efficient, but see first sentence.

@SL--We always seem to have used the same books. I wish I could sew, though. Only one basket--i think you may be a born organized type also.

@Jenny-o--Love the zippered bag idea. Sadly (or maybe not?), I haven't needed to buy any linens of late. I'm going to try to get some of those from my mother. I can think of zillions of uses. And thanks for sticking up for the dishpan. I LOVE mine.

Shelley said...

Bill has an old-fashioned wardrobe (free from a friend he helped move - it didn't fit in the new house) with loads of deep shelves. He uses plastic boxes on those shelves, without lids but with labels on the front so I can put his laundry away (if I'm so inclined). I haven't fallen for dishpans, as I do need to stack my boxes, particularly for my sewing stash, so I use shoe boxes.

SewingLibrarian said...

FS, yes, the same books! I have Laurie Ward's books, too (today's post). But I'm way behind you when it comes to English literature. ;)

Diane said...

Yes, the plastic box, with a lid. Stackable, neat & nothing falls out! Yes, I am a born organized person...