Usually, when we think about organizing, we imagine a trip to the Container Store, or at least to Target. But your secret weapons for staying organized don't have to be things you buy new — or even things that were intended for use as organizers at all. Here are 10 garage sale (or thrift shop) finds that might just be your secret weapon in the battle against clutter.
I've been fascinated by lawyer's bookcases for a long time — the glass doors, the way they lift up and slide like tiny garages. They're great for storing books, of course, but also, as this photo from Domino proves, great for storing other things, too. You can keep your stuff (linens, or anything else), dust-free, but also see exactly where it is.
Trays are one of my favorite decorating tricks. A bunch of stuff sitting out on a table? Haphazard, a disaster. A bunch of stuff sitting out on a table on a tray? Now you have a clever and carefully collected little vignette. In this photo from Style at Home, a vintage tray is a perfect organizer for countertop necessities, so they're within easy reach but don't read as clutter.
As I've mentioned before, a cake stand is just like a tray, but with a pedestal, so you can get even more from your tabletop real estate by placing things on top of the cake stand but also below it, too. This one from Kulor.no frees up a little countertop space in a kitchen. You can see lots more photos of cake stands in action here.
One of my favorite secrets for beating clutter is having a catch-all for random items in every room. Baskets can be perfect for holding random sundries, or for storing unusually-shaped items, as seen in this photo from IKEA.
An Old Rake
Turns out that old metal rakes, with the handle removed, make very convenient wall hooks. This one from Love in a Mason Jar holds kitchen utensils out of the way but within easy reach.
The Bed Spring From a Crib
Bed springs from old cribs are actually fairly popular on Pinterest, where lots of folks have repurposed them to hold photos or memos. With the addition of hooks, a bed spring can also make a nice wall organizer, as seen on Craftberry Bush.
A Tackle Box
I love the idea of using an old tackle box as a sort of roving junk drawer, as seen here on Funky Junk. A tackle box could also make a nice catch-all for hardware or craft supplies.
In this photo from The Country Chic Cottage, an old soda crate, together with some mason jars, makes an excellent organizer for little bits of hardware.
Old Wooden Ladders
Old wooden ladders can make excellent spots for storing blankets or books, and even serve as a nightstand in a small space, as seen here on Honky.
A File Cabinet
Of course, a file cabinet has fairly obvious uses for organization, but a less obvious use is this one from Trash to Treasure, via Bob Vila: remove the drawers from a filing cabinet, flip it on its side and use it to store garden tools in the garage.