DIY organization ideas for just $20

Need a bit more organization in your life? We hear you.

By Fonds de solidarité FTQ

Did you double back to your apartment three times this morning to look for something you forgot? Do you often wind up fishing your keys out from behind the sofa cushions? Is your cell phone dead but you can't find a place to plug it in? Were you supposed to pick up some milk on your way home? Shoot! You forgot to call your mother again!

Need a bit more organization in your life? No problem! These handy solutions will make life a little easier for less than $20 each.

Never forget anything again with this reusable checklist

If you're always running around with your head in the clouds, a to-do list could be just what you need. Here's an easy way to make a reusable checklist that's perfect for any room.

What you need

  • A glass picture frame
  • Several sheets of scrapbooking paper
  • Erasable markers

Before you start

The scrapbooking paper you use will make all the difference. Choose a design that matches your decor or what you'll use the checklist for—pizza-themed paper for your meal plan checklist, for example.

You can use any patterned item or image you want, like a piece of fabric or a photo print.


  1. Cut or fold the sheet of scrapbooking paper so that it fills the entire frame.
  2. Close the frame.
  3. Use the erasable markers to jot down anything you can think of on the glass.

Now you can cross off “Make beautiful and eco-friendly to-do lists.”

Organize your book collection

If you're a big reader, you know that it doesn't take long for a book collection to get messy. Why not create a pair of stylish bookends to smarten up the books that are piling up on your desk?

What you need

  • Four sturdy pieces of wood
  • Small nails
  • Spray paint
  • Plastic animal figurines (usually found in dollar stores)
  • All-purpose glue (for wood and plastic)

Before you start

Make sure the wood is heavy enough to hold the books in place. Most home centres and hardware stores have wood-cutting specialists on hand who can help you figure this out. Bring your figurines along so that you can have the wood cut to the right size.

Since our figurines were about four inches long, we used one six-inch-long piece and one five-inch-long piece for each bookend to create a symmetrical L shape, as pictured below.

The thickness and width will vary, depending on the type of wood you choose. For our project, the pieces of wood were four inches wide and one and a half inches thick.

In other words, the size of your bookends will depend on the figurines and wood you choose!


  1. Form the bookends by nailing the pieces of wood together to create an L shape.
  2. Paint the entire thing.
  3. Glue on your painted figurines (we chose gold, for a nice bling effect).
  4. Let dry for at least a day.

Go on—let loose your inner reader!

Tell your keys apart

Do you have so many keys on your keychain that people can hear you coming a mile away? If you're always struggling to find the right key, try this life-changing solution.

What you need

  • Painter's tape (or masking tape)
  • Several bottles of nail polish
  • One (or several) of your thousand and one keys

Before you start

Helpful tip (whether you're painting your keys or your fingernails): For best results, choose bright colours.


  1. Cover up certain parts of your keys with the masking tape to create funky designs. Let your imagination run wild!
  2. Let the nail polish dry before removing the tape.
  3. Repeat on the other side of the key.

Say goodbye to trying eight keys in the lock before finding the right one.

Never hunt for your keys again

What good is being able to tell your keys apart if you don't know where they are? Thanks to this handy key-hook frame, that'll never be a problem again.

What you need

  • A wooden frame
  • Paint
  • Screw-in hooks

Before you start

You won't need the glass and mat board that come with the frame. Both are recyclable, so please dispose of them responsibly.


  1. Paint the frame. For our key-hook frame, we chose a not-so-subtle neon green, but you can pick any colour you like.
  2. Screw the hooks into the inside edge of the frame.
  3. Simply hang it on the wall, and you're done!

We promise that you'll never have to turn your apartment upside down to find your keys again.

Say goodbye to that tangle of cables

If you keep your cables in a tangled pile on your dresser, we've got a miracle solution for you: hide all that clutter in a charging station.

What you need

  • A photo or shoe box. You can find some pretty nice patterns and designs at DIY stores. You can also paint or wrap a basic cardboard box!
  • A precision knife (X-ACTO)
  • A ruler
  • A pencil

Before you start

Measure the width of the box to determine how far apart the holes should be. With your pencil, indicate the location of the holes to guide you.

Make sure the holes you cut are big enough for the cables to fit through.


  1. On one side of the box, cut the number of holes you want.
  2. On the other side, cut a hole so you can connect the power bar to the wall.
  3. Next, place the power bar inside the box and run the connected cables out through the holes.

You now have a charging station that'll keep your cables in place, while adding a bit of style to your decor.

We're pretty sure we managed not to forget anything . . . And that these solutions will make your life easier!

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