Dollar-Store Closets

Strapped for storage but short on cash? Shop the aisles of your local dollar stores for gear you can customize for two standard closets -- one for you and one for your child.

By Jean Schissel Norman


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kid in front of blue closet
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Closet for Kids

    Win the daily battle for order in your child's room by outfitting a closet with totable bins, roll-in shelving, and reachable baskets that make a game of putting things away. Make sure high-use items are within your child's grasp.

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Buy for Color

    Bright cords with snap-on hooks connect baskets with their labels. The cords also support the closet's color scheme. When shopping for discount storage, make a quick color-scouting trip before you start loading your shopping cart.

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Organize Keepsakes

    Use the inside of closet doors for storage and to display special keepsakes. Artwork and photos stack up on memo boards mounted low where kids can reach them. When the paint dries on new works of art, transfer old drawings to storage baskets on upper shelves.

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Use Wall Space

    Hang a roll of art paper on the back of a closet wall. The handy holder? The same one used for a roll of paper towels. Store crayons and other art supplies nearby in baskets with handles.

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Multiply for Fun

    Convert four plastic crates into one big toy caddy that lifts from the floor to a closet shelf when playtime ends. Use plastic zip ties to connect the crates, and add an elastic cord with hook ends as a handle. Sort lightweight plastic toys into the bins.

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Closet for Grown-Ups

    Bring order to your busy life in a grown-up space filled with cards and wrapping paper, decorating materials, and craft supplies organized on bulletin boards and in bins, baskets, pocket organizers, and "in" and "out" folders.

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Adapt Basics

    Make a game of finding new uses for basic items such as kitchen towels. Strategic stitching and a few grommets turn them into handy, hangable pocket organizers for tools. Size the pockets to fit the tools you want to store. Slip scissors into the pocket closest to a ribbon dispenser made from a paper-towel holder.

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Gather Together

    Put like objects together to help you stay organized. Pull cards and notes out of drawers where they're hidden and slip them over the rods of a wall-hung wire cooling rack. They're easy to grab when you have a few minutes to jot a note to a friend. Metal bins keep pencils and paintbrushes together and at hand.

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Rethink Function

    Convert plate holders into "in" and "out" racks outfitted with folders to keep bills and other business papers organized. Follow the rules for shredding credit card receipts, sales receipts, and deposit and withdrawal slips after one month. After a month, transfer records you need to keep for a year or longer to a file cabinet.

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Label Everything

    Turn luggage tags into labels that help you easily find what you're looking for. Use paint chips and fabric swatches to give plastic tags a designer look. It's easy with these self-adhesive tags.

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