You don’t have to be a minimalist or a decluttering guru to have come across the tiny dynamo 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 wildly popular Netflix series coaching households to make over their homes using “the innovative KonMari Method to help people clear out their clutter and choose joy.”
Her 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 literal tons of donations from people offloading everything that doesn’t “spark joy.” Portland, Oregon-based Goodwills alone are reporting a 6% rise in donations when compared with the same period last year.
Get Organized KonMari-Style Without Breaking the Bank
Step one of the KonMari Method is to lovingly fold your non-hanging clothing and place in boxes, which are then stored in drawers and cupboards. In her book and on her television show, Kondo encourages people to use left-over resources like shoe boxes. However, she’s also designed her own 6-piece set of her own “Hikidashi” (translation: drawer) paper boxes for $89. (Note: these have since sold out.)
Luckily, you don’t need to max out your credit card or resort to mismatched boxes to create your own serenely organized home.
Although perhaps not as pretty as the official boxes, these fabric Essentials Beige Collapsible Storage Organizers cost just a dollar apiece, and 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 $5.99-$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 additional discounts, as well as free coffee and tea when visiting their cafeterias.
For those who prefer to have more control when organizing, this easy DIY project might be right for you. It’s created 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 been 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 one: Gather empty boxes from cereal, crackers, shoes, etc. I recommend that you avoid flimsy boxes for a more stable structure.
Step two: Measure your drawer, both for height as well as width and length.
Step three: Trim your boxes and start playing around with an arrangement that seems best to you. (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 four: 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 five: Choose your fabric (or even thick wrapping paper) and glue it down using Mod-Podge and 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 six: Wait for the project to dry and then fill the organizer with joy-sparking necessities!
Bonus tip: Use whatever fabric you have laying 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.
Although Marie Kondo’s branded boxes are certainly lovely, it’s quite easy to create an inexpensive organizing system so you can take part of the KonMari craze while staying true to your Clark Smart financial goals.