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The New Order

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Check out these tips on how you can organize your life for less.

woman with plastic containers

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I love to organize things. When I was a kid, I would sometimes stay at the front of the grocery store putting all the magazines in the right racks while my mom shopped. Now I'm a sucker for storage bins and trays for organizing -- they appeal to my sense of order. Some of that stuff is really pricey -- just one trip through Hold Everything or The Container Store and you can see that someone is making a lot of money off our neuroses.

A quick trip through those stores can give you some great ideas, though. Have an idea of what area you would like to organize, and then hit the stores to find some solutions. You might be surprised at what your 99 Cent Store or Big Lots has in the way of storage solutions. Also, Ross and T.J. Maxx-type stores have some beautiful options, too -- like large patterned hatboxes and wooden magazine holders. You may be looking for something other than white plastic bins, especially in a highly visible area.

Don't forget to try to use what you already have or can get for free. Shoe boxes are terrific stackable storage units, and you can always label them or take a picture of the contents to put on the outside so you don't have to open ten of them every time you are looking for the extra candles. Remember how you used to cover orange juice cans to make pencil holders in elementary school? How about doing the same with those big oatmeal cylinders? They would be great for kid stuff (toy cars, Legos, Polly Pockets) or kitchen stuff (cookie cutters, etc.). You don't really have to be that crafty -- a roll of contact paper can go pretty far ...

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