When I’m working in client’s homes, I encourage them to shop at home first and see what can be reused before considering purchasing new organising products. We usually find something that was purchased before or we repurpose an item already in the home. This is a great thing to do when organising because it isn’t the organising product, but the system (a way of doing something) you choose to use that “makes” you organised.    

I have 5 favourite organising items. They are my favourite because they are found in most homes and the containers are square or rectangle. I like square or rectangle containers because they easily fit into cupboards and draws. Circular or oval shaped containers are less useful as they waste precious space.

Here are my top 5 reusable organising items.

Milk cartons

Milk cartons can be cut in half to create a useful storage container out of the bottom half of the carton. They are great for small items that need to be contained. They can be used for drawer organisers, craft, Lego, pencils and textas, nuts and bolts and nails.
I cut the lower part of a 2 or 3 litre milk carton and give it a good wash. Once clean, it can be cut down to the required height depending on its use.

This kitchen drawer was organised using milk cartons 4 years ago and it’s still functional and organised.


I love the versatility of a box. So many sizes! A box can be laid down so the opening is on its side, box sides can be lowered and cut at angles for a specific use or a box can be cut down to make a completely different size. I’ve even made magazine holders for a client by cutting down a box.

Boxes have many uses. Here they store scarves in a wardrobe, drink containers in a kitchen cupboard and a box turned on it’s side stores rolls of cling film, baking paper and zip lock bags. All contained and easy to find.

Ice-cream containers

Ice cream containers are a classic storage solution offering so many potential uses. I especially like the square 4 litre variety. They are a really good size for so many purposes; toys, for dropping mail into, small items in the wardrobe, pantry and cupboard storage. The sides can be labelled or for young children, an item can be taped to the side to identify what’s inside. While lids can be helpful for stacking, in most cases I avoid using lids to allow for easy retrieval and putting away.

Here we have an ice-cream container used to store dental items in a bathroom cupboard


Many homes have beautiful crockery stored away and out of sight. Depending on the size of a dish, it can be used for storage, to hold keys, pens, serviettes, jewellery and tooth brushes. The possibilities are endless and brings beautiful and useful items out of the cupboards and into uses different from what they were originally designed for.  

Ceramic and glassware items can be used to store pens, pencils, keys and letter opener. Here a jug holds serviettes.

Coat hangers

Coat hangers are primarily used to hang clothes. In the wardrobe they are also great for storing and displaying scarfs, ties, jewellery and belts. Peg a picture on a coat hanger, hang ribbons or hook a hanger over the back of a door for storage or display.  

These are the 5 items clients and myself regularly shop at home for. So, before you run to the shop for a product, first shop at home to see if something can be reused or repurposed. This makes your organising unique and you will be amazed at the creative solutions you can come up with.  

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