Store more for less.
You probably have a lot of this stuff around the house. We're talking rubber bands, bungee cords, bookends and even those old paint chips you've squirreled away from your last do-it-yourself project.
"Most people already have everything they need to organize a closet. It's just a matter of knowing how to make it work for you in a new way,'' says John Trosko, owner of OrganizingLA, which is based in Beverly Hills, California. ShopSmart asked Trosko and other organizing pros for their cheapest storage tricks.
Free or super-cheap
Hang a corkboard in or near your closet to display your jewelry for easy access. Use decorative pushpins to dress it up. You can find dozens of cute choices at etsy.com.
Stash rolled-up belts, tights and scarves in mason jars. Group the containers in a single color -- or all clear -- for a unifying effect.
Use the dividers in a plastic fishing tackle box for your rings and earrings. Keep the lid attached if you want to grab it and go when you travel, or ditch the lid and just keep the opened box on a shelf.
Repurpose that six-bottle wine box. It makes a great shoe cubby for flats, flip-flops and athletic footwear.
Turn curtain rods into extra shelving. Use two tension rods to create a shelf above the clothes rod to hold bins and boxes. Or place the rods between closet walls near the floor to keep shoes in order. Stagger for heels, or place level for flats.
Keep a tangle of belts rolled up neatly on an unused serving tray. Place it on a closet shelf or under a bed. You can easily pull out the tray like a drawer.
Use bookends to organize handbags so that they stand upright on a closet shelf.
Turn an old towel rack into a storage unit. Hang it on a closet wall, then slip on large S-hooks (from the hardware store) to hold purses or small S-hooks for bracelets and necklaces. You can also hang small baskets from the bar to hold flats and flip-flops.
Use those old paint chip samples from the hardware store to label storage boxes. You can write on them with chalk -- they're erasable.
To shrink a bulky item (think a puffy down vest or jacket) for short-term seasonal storage, roll it up tightly and secure with thick rubber bands to keep it from expanding.
Secure a bunch of small bungee cords vertically between wire shelves to contain big, bulky bedspreads and quilts. That will keep them from slipping off the shelf.
$25 or less
ShopSmart also recommends these low-cost ideas:
Use thin, grippy flocked hangers to free up closet space and to make getting dressed in the morning easier. Buy them in different colors to hang clothes in categories -- such as green for jackets and blue for blouses. When you first hang your clothes, turn all of the hangers backward. Then when you put stuff back, turn the hangers the right way so that they face out instead of in. At the end of the season, you can clearly see what you haven't worn, which makes it easier to purge.
Another way to keep folded-up clothes neat and accessible: Pile them into labeled bins. Planning a summer vacation? You can use the bins to fold and stack clothes that you want to take on your trip.
Use acrylic shelf dividers to stack T-shirts, jeans and sweaters. They can also prop small handbags upright, and they don't add visual clutter.
Double your closet's hanging space with a rod expander. No tools are required -- just hang and adjust it.