Easy Ways to Organize With Stuff You Already Own

stack of old suitcases
Photo: iStock
With some creativity, you can have a beautifully organized home without spending extra money on store-bought gear. Turn otherwise useless household items into organizational helpers!

You know how it goes. You clean out your home and discover random items that no longer seem to have a place in the mix. Instead of throwing them out, why not put them to a new, even better use? We've rounded up some tips and tricks for using ordinary objects in a whole new way -- because nothing beats the feeling of making something new out of something old.


  1. Ladder

    Photo by Debi Treloar / The Nest

    Cleaning out your garage? Instead of donating that extra ladder, use it as storage for throws and scarves, suggests Holly Becker, author of Decorate and Decorate Workshop and founder of decor8Blog.com. You can also hang and store magazines, or use a stepladder as an extra side table.

  2. Trunk

    Photo by The Everygirl

    Think twice before you ditch that trunk -- it can double as a coffee table and as storage for blankets in cooler months, says Becker.

  3. Ice Cube Trays

    Photo by Ellen Silverman / The Nest

    Instead of ditching those old ice cube trays, reuse them as organizers for all of your hair accessories.

  4. Drum Shade

    Photo by Debi Treloar / The Nest

    Got an old drum shade pendant that you no longer use? “Strip it down to its bare frame and turn it into a piece of art," says Becker. In this photo, a shade was remade into a hanging artwork that's now the focal point of a living room.

  5. Frame

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    Hang jewelry in pretty old frames, suggests Kristin Grove of SimplyGrove.com. That way your necklaces won't get tangled in a heap on your dresser, and you'll always know where to find them.

  6. Suitcases

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest
    Old suitcases piling up in the basement? Give them a face-lift and stack them to create a great bedside table. Top with a mirror or frame for a beautiful finishing touch. “It’s a fun alternative to a nightstand and feels immediately pulled together with just a few guest room essentials,” says Emily Schuman of CupcakesandCashmere.com.
  7. Old Pillows

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest
    Here’s another great end table idea. If you purchased a new sofa and now you have a bunch of extra (sturdy) pillows lying around, stack them up and top with a tray for a DIY end table.
  8. Bookcase

    Photo by Apartment Therapy / The Nest

    Turn an empty bookshelf into an at-home bar. That's just what Theresa Gonzalez did for ApartmentTherapy.com. With a little paint and wrapping paper, she transformed a boring piece into a focal point. Cheers to that!

  9. Old Shoe Boxes

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    Shoe boxes piling up in your closet? Instead of throwing them out, snap photos of your shoes, attach the pics to the outside of the boxes and stack them for a more organized shoe collection.