You don’t have to be a minimalist or a decluttering guru to have come across the tiny dynamo (and hugely popular brand) that is Marie Kondo.
After her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up grabbed the world’s attention in 2014, she returned in 2019 with a much-viewed Netflix series demonstrating “the innovative KonMari Method to help people clear out their clutter and choose joy.”
Kondo’s main message is to “keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service — then let them go.”
People across America are finding inspiration from Kondo’s gentle guidance, and reports are coming in that thrift stores are being inundated with donations from people offloading everything that doesn’t “spark joy.”
Get Organized KonMari-Style Without Breaking the Bank
The KonMari Method says you should lovingly fold your non-hanging clothing items and place them in boxes — and then store the boxes in drawers and cupboards. Kondo encourages people to use leftover resources like shoe boxes. But in 2018, she marketed her own six-piece set of “Hikidashi” (translation: drawer) paper boxes for $89. They sold out within months.
Luckily, you don’t need to max out your credit card or resort to mismatched boxes to create your own serenely-organized home.
Maybe they’re not as pretty as the Hikidashi boxes, these fabric Essentials Beige Collapsible Storage Organizers cost just a dollar apiece. they also come in gray and brown.
Bonus tip: Order from the Dollar Tree website, but choose “free in-store pickup” to save on shipping costs.
Another frugal resource for stylish organizing supplies is Ikea. Their Skubb boxes are a classic that promise to “bring order to your chaos helping you to sort socks, lingerie, and accessories.” Priced at just $4.99-$6.49 for a set of six, they conveniently fold flat when not in use. (I received this exact set as a gift around ten years ago, and they’ve held up perfectly.) They also come in black and white as well as a variety of sizes and shapes.
Bonus tip: Sign up for a free Ikea Family card for discounts as well as free coffee and tea when visiting the stores’ cafeterias.
For those who prefer to have more control when organizing, this easy DIY project might be right for you. You can create it using nothing more than recycled boxes, glue, random fabric and Mod Podge craft glue.
I made this drawer organizer in 2012 for a particularly messy desk drawer. It’s held up great and has proved to be a true game-changer, as there’s now one single place where I now store my Sharpies, tape measures, Post-it notes and other specific items.
Custom drawer organizer instructions:
Step 1: Gather empty boxes (that used to store cereal, crackers, shoes, etc.). I recommend that you avoid flimsy boxes for a more stable structure.
Step 2: Measure your drawer for height, width and length.
Step 3: Trim your boxes and start playing around with an arrangement. (I folded and taped a few to fit correctly.) I chose to have smaller compartments towards the front, but you can individualize to your needs.
Step 4: Glue the sides of the boxes together for your final configuration. I used a hot glue gun, but most any glue will work, as the glued-on fabric will provide the main support.
Step 5: Choose your fabric (or even thick wrapping paper), and glue it down with Mod Podge, using a foam brush. I cut the fabric into lengths to match the width of the boxes and began gluing down the fabric in long strips. (You’d think that using multiple pieces of fabric would look scrappy, but it doesn’t, especially once you fill the individual bins with your stuff.) Gluing the fabric over the side-by-side boxes will provide your main support.
Step 6: Wait for the project to dry and then fill the organizer with joy-sparking necessities!
Bonus tip: Use whatever fabric you have lying around or check out your local thrift store’s fabric section.
Here’s what the underside of the organizer looks like. Note that I didn’t bother using fabric on the bottom as it will never be seen.
Marie Kondo’s branded boxes are certainly lovely, but it’s quite easy to create an inexpensive organizing system on your own. That way you can take part of the KonMari craze while staying true to your Clark Smart financial goals.