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ShopSmart Helps You Organize on the Cheap

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – If you’re looking to get a jump start on spring cleaning, search no further.  The March 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, has easy and elegant do-it-yourself projects to help you reorganize your closets, pantries, and more without breaking the bank on store-bought organizers.
“If you feel like you’ve got too much stuff and nowhere to put it, we have some amazing DIY solutions to help you get organized before the full frenzy of spring cleaning takes hold,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.  “With just a little creativity you can get everything in order and save hundreds of dollars at the same time.”

Make a less-expensive wall unit

Modular shelving is great because the cubbies can be tailored to your space and budget.  They can be stacked vertically or horizontally and taken apart to accommodate changing needs.  But store-bought units can cost thousands of dollars.

What you need: We used four each of small, medium, large, and extra-large Pränt boxes from Ikea and attached them with regular binder clips.  We painted the insides of some boxes turquoise, lime, and two shades of yellow.  (Pränt boxes, Ikea, $7.00 to $13.00 each; large binder clips, Staples, $3.49 for pack of 12)

Make a coat rack

Instead of being confined to the length of a store-bought coat rack, you can craft one that fits your wall space perfectly using moulding and hooks from a home center.  Since most moulding comes in a 60- to 96-inch length and a variety of heights and depths, your rack can be far longer and/or deeper to hold more garments – plus collectibles on top.

What you need: We paired a 60-inch piece of dentil-style moulding with a simpler style beneath and nailed them to a wall.  We added eight colorful hooks for fun, but less costly versions work just as well.  (Focal Point Dentil Cross Moulding, $45.00 each, and simpler moulding $3.00 per foot, www.homedepot.com; Trolley Stop Hook in green and blue, $12.00 each, www.anthropologie.com)

Make toiletry shelving

Even if your bathroom is roomy enough for a sizable piece of furniture, grouping sturdy baskets on the wall can do the job for a lot less.

What you need: We simply nailed a trio of baskets to the wall – using varying sizes and staggering their placement – to keep the look stylish and fun. They hold matching cups that corral makeup brushes and toiletries, so you can also skip buying an expensive cosmetics organizer. (Large Square Basket, $13.00, DVD Basket, $12.00, and plastic cups $8.00 a pair, all at www.target.com)

Make a roll-out bin

If you’re getting rid of an old dresser, hang on to the drawers or buy old drawers on the cheap at a flea market.  Just add casters and slip it under a bed for handy roll-out storage that’s about half the price of the store-bought version.  You can also use an old dishwasher rack if you aren’t picky about looks.

What you need: We used two salvaged drawers with ugly knobs, which we replaced with pretty vintage ones, and added four casters to the bottom of each drawer. (Drawers, free; knobs $8.00 and up each, www.anthropologie.com; casters, $3.45 each, www.homedepot.com)

Make a jewelry rack

An old rake can do the trick, and it makes a fun and funky alternative to a store-bought wall-mount necklace organizer.

What you need: We bought a new rake, sawed off the wooden handle at the top of the red metal trim, and mounted it to a door.  To add storage space for earrings, we tied a sturdy grosgrain ribbon between the sides of the frame.  (Rake, $20.99, www.truevalue.com)

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.


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