Shop Smart: There are ways to organize without breaking the bank

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Clever organizing solutions don't have to cost a lot.

ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports, found organizing solutions that cost less than $5 at dollar stores and odd-lot shops.

"There's no reason to break the bank to get organized," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "Shoppers can find great bargains on a variety of storage items at dollar stores and other discounters."

Here are five cheap organizing finds that can keep items in order around the home or on the go:

• Car visor CD holder, $1 -- Be on the lookout for items with handy pockets, such as CD holders, designed to slip over visors in a car. They are great for storing and keeping small items including phones, cameras and cords together in a bag or suitcase.

• Charging valet, $4 -- Having a centrally located place in the house is a great way to keep track of phones and other gadgets when they need to be juiced up.

• Foam kneel pad, $2 -- This gardening staple is a less expensive alternative to fabric-covered bulletin boards designed for hanging jewelry. It's easy to hang and is a space-saving way to organize necklaces and earrings.

• Plastic bins, $1 -- Bins of all shapes, sizes and colors can be used for storing toys, crafts and more. Measure the shelves on which they will be placed before buying.

• Plastic tote caddy, $1 -- Buy a bunch and use them as grab-and-go caddies for all kinds of household tasks, such as cleaning and gardening, and keep another in the bathroom for toiletries.

Sometimes, spending more on specialty organizing items can be worth the investment. Here are five websites and what they are best for: offers a wide selection of under-cabinet shelving, including products made for pots, pans and lids. has a huge (though often pricey) selection of tidying products -- organizing products that can't be found here probably don't exist. is best for specialty organizers for hats, shoes and accessories. features cute, stylish desk accessories and other home-office storage. is a great source for space-saving shelving and furniture as well as garage and attic organizers.


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