Sometimes one of the most difficult de-cluttering challenges is what to do with all those ‘little’ items that just seem to accumulate and create a mess.  Try some of these ideas and use them as a stepping off point of thinking up some of your own creative solutions.

* Pick a drawer or cabinet/closet shelf and use one or more of these options to hold thumbtacks, paper clips, rubberbands, buttons, spare birthday candles, salt & pepper and sugar/sweetner packets, etc.

(1) a 6 or 12 count cupcake/muffin tin…if you want to be able to remove the items in total for use in other areas put cupcake wrappers or silicone inserts into the tincups first. Then you can lift out the entire paper cup, carry it to where you are working and then return it to the cupcake tin when finished.  This will also work for holding rings, chains and bracelets. You can spray paint the tin in whatever color matches your decor and it now becomes more than just a storage bin but adds to your overall look.

(2) Use an egg carton in the same manner as the muffin tin BUT cut out the inserts on one side of the open carton so that you have individual spaces on one side and an open flat surface on the other which can now accommodate scissors, letter openers, straws, nail files, etc.

(3) Apothecary jars, pickle jars, and other clear jars allow you to use various sizes and see what you have in them.

(4) Pick up pretty glasses at yard sales for .05 or .10 cents each and create a lovely visual display for your counter or cabinet when opened.  Another great buy at yard sales (or in your own overstuffed basement) are vases and candle jars in all sizes, shapes and colors that will match your decor….if the candle jars still have pieces of a scented candle in them, take a blunt knife and chop them up. This will reactivate the scent and become pretty and add a lovely aroma to your area.

(5) For less than $1 you can purchase small terra cotta clay pots for starting plants from seeds.  These can hold any number of small items in a very decorative manner and can be used in their natural state or painted with different colors or designs.  Simple, easy and very personalized to your own decor and styles.  You can also use the small size to hold qtips in the bathroom and a medium size to hold cotton balls. Again, they can be painted or decoupaged to match your personal decor giving you a completely finished and synergistic look.

(6) Need stylish office materials but don’t like the high costs in your office supply stores? Find a bathroom set at your favorite dollar store or discount retailer (like Target, Walmart or Kmart) that matches your office colors or adds a decorating splash of design. Use the toothbrush holder as a pen holder and the soap dish to hold staples, paper clips, thumbtacks or rubber bands.  Finish off your look with the matching waste basket. You now have a cohesive look and more money left to be just as creative in another space.

The key to creating a personal and very stylized look for a minimal cost is to think outside the box and use items meant for one thing as something completely different.  It is fun, can be turned into a family project and will be a source of pleasure every time you look at what you have created and realize that you’ve been financially responsible….so important in these economic times!