Posts Tagged ‘free’

kitchen wicker baskets

When a lot of people think of ‘organising’ they picture heading to a big storage shop and shelling out lots of cash for specialised storage items. But creating a well-functioning, organised home can be done on a budget and in fact some projects may even be free.

Here are some of the ways I like to make sure my organising frenzies don’t turn into spending frenzies:

Declutter it

Why organise more than you have to? Once you’re done you may find that all you needed was to clear out some junk and that you don’t actually need to do any organising after all. As a bonus, you’ll have less to maintain and put away in future, plus you might even make a bit of pocket money if you have good quality items that you can sell.

Cover it

Wrapping paper, contact paper, leftover paint and fabric can turn your less-than-trendy storage into something really cute. Clipboards, trays, memo boards, boxes and tins are all prime targets to receive a colourful makeover.

Reuse it

Before you head to the shops to buy new storage, peek your head in the recycling bin. Cereal boxes, tissue boxes, soup tins, yoghurt containers, coffee jars and sauce jars all make great free storage. Cover cereal boxes in paper and turn them into magazine files and use empty coffee jars to store your pantry staples.

Rethink it

Hunt around your home for items that could be repurposed into storage. Think: old muffin trays to store jewellery, your favourite mug with the broken handle becomes a pencil holder and that cute bowl that you never use for serving becomes a great place to toss your keys.

Shop it

Stop! Don’t head straight for the storage aisle, as it’s full of ultra-specific tools with boring and utilitarian looks. Head to your favourite second-hand shop to source rustic crates and wire baskets and try homewares stores for bowls and trays. Other great places to try are bargain shops for your basic storage gear such as plastic drawer organisers and storage tubs.

Label it

Labels don’t need to be expensive. Fancy up some coloured paper scraps with corner punches or paint some cheap archive boxes with chalkboard paint and let your kids label and decorate them.

Un-specify it

There’s not much you can do with a key rack that says ‘KEYS’ or a jar that says ‘PASTA’ after you’ve decided you longer need it for that purpose. Opt for versatile storage pieces that can be used in various rooms in the home for various purposes. Floating shelves, baskets,  over-the-door hooks, magnetic strips, shoe hangers and drawer dividers are all great multi-purpose options.

Add your budget organising tips or questions in the comments!


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new kitchen light
Our kitchen after its budget makeover.

Yesterday we went through some no-cost ways to refresh your home. If you want to go one step further but still have a modest decorating budget, here are some project ideas that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Share your budget-friendly renovating and decorating projects in the comments!

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I have a pretty much permanent decorating itch. But how do you scratch it when the piggy bank is looking a little lean?

Here is my strategy for sprucing up the nest without spending any money:


When you’re feeling blah about your space, it’s easy to blame the decor when often it’s simply that clutter has crept in. Start by clearing visual clutter (anything on floors, shelves, tables or benchtops that shouldn’t be there) for an instant makeover. Then move onto cupboards, drawers and closets – the contents may be hidden but if the’re overflowing the mess will spread into view.


A house that functions well is a much calmer place to live than one where you can never find the keys. Organise and develop systems and routines your newly-decluttered abode, starting with the problem areas. Oh and you don’t need to buy expensive storage containers to get organised! Look around your home: you probably have plenty of boxes, trays, baskets and jars that would make for excellent storage. (I’ll do a full post about affordable organising later on during Budget Month.)


Any time of year is good for a spring clean! Next time you’re doing the cleaning, take a few extra minutes and wipe down those forgotten spots like window sills, skirting boards and tops of cupboards. Not only will you be rid of all those cobwebs, everything will smell fresh and clean.


Little things like scuff marks, broken handles and chips in paint don’t seem like such a big deal but if you leave them to build up I find they can really bring a room down (not to mention cause unnecessary frustration every time you see them!). Most minor repairs such as touching up paint, polishing furniture and fixing leaking taps can be done with items already on hand, but if not you’re short on supplies you should be able to sort it out with a $10 note at the hardware store.


Our compact floorplan does limit our ability to move furniture around on a whim, but I can still rearrange decor and art between different rooms to freshen up the space. I also don’t have everything on display at once. Rather, I have a small stash of spare decor items that I will rotate into use periodically or whenever I feel like shopping but don’t want to shell out any cash.


I have a whole stash of postcards and old greeting cards with beautiful designs that would make awesome free art. Perhaps you also have some fabric scraps that could be made into a cushion (if you’re handier with a sewing machine than I am!) or a piece of furniture that could be given a new lease on life with a coat of paint?

This approach may not sound like it yields big results, but I find it never fails to make me more content with our home. Even if you do end up spending some money on decorating, you’ll at least have laid the foundations and made sure your hard-earned cash has been spent wisely.

What are your favourite no-cost decorating tips? Leave them in the comments!

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Akimbo Precious favour bag

Hello friends, how are you? I have to admit I’m struggling a little this week after Easter. Trying to fit everything into four working days is always hard, especially two weeks in a row! Thankfully I have a nice stash of chocolate to keep me going.

Speaking of sweet treats, I’ve just designed a cute favour bag header. You can download it free over on Polka Dot Bride today.

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Vintage camera print

Some months back, I shared with you this Design Editor free printable art (via How About Orange) and I even mentioned that it was the perfect art for me.

It’s taken all this time for it to dawn on me that I did actually have a spot for it and should use it.

I already had the frame and the printing only cost a few dollars at Officeworks (since it only needs black ink and basic paper it was super cheap). It’s now happily hanging by the bed.

Have you created or used any (nearly) free artwork lately?


Homemade lemon curd favours

So here’s the reason why I had a batch of homemade lemon curd sitting in my fridge last week! It’s a lovely hostess gift or wedding favour, especially if you have your own lemon tree (or know someone who does).

If you want to keep it all to yourself, you can pop it into readymade meringue or tart cases for an easy dessert or even just slather it onto a thick slice of fresh bread and top with quark cheese, cream cheese or cream.

Head over to Polka Dot Bride for the recipe plus the cute tag for you to print.

Photography Mel Boulden Photography

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Valentine's breakfast

Since I was not at home for virtually all of January, everything is rolling around so much faster! I mean, Valentine’s Day, really? Where did that come from?

But the 14th is certainly fast approaching so it’s time to get ready. If you’re like us and don’t do fancy dates for V-Day, you’ll love this cosy breakfast in bed, topped off with a free card for your sweetheart.

Get the full story on Polka Dot Bride.

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Valentines strawberry sauce title

This strawberry sauce recipe is really easy, I challenge you to screw it up. It’s super tasty on pancakes or ice-cream. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, no?

Find my recipe and the free printable labels over on Polka Dot Bride today.

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I’m off galivanting around the world for a few weeks so I have lined up some some talented ladies to hold the fort while I’m gone. Hope you enjoy!

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Since I discovered the work of Penelope and Pip last year, I’ve been blown away time after time with everything that they produce. Artist Rachael Smith creates the most adorable illustrations on everything from cards to cushions (although the art prints are my faves), not to mention she is totally killing it on the DIY blog scene. Rachael was kind enough to design an exclusive new free printable wrapping paper just for Atypical Type A readers! What do you think guys, totally gorge, right?  – Alicia

Christmas gift wrap

One of the best parts of Christmas for us over at Penelope and Pip is the chance to create some cute wrapping paper.

When Alicia asked us to join in the fun over here at Atypical Type A while she was away, we knew just what we wanted to share!

Gift wrap can be so expensive and it’s lovely to have something different to the usual Santas and reindeer.

We’ve made a cute little wrapping paper just for you here at Atypical Type A that is full of birds and trees and some geometric shapes too.

Christmas gift wrap

You can download the paper here.

Pop over to our blog for lots more ideas on how to make your Christmas a Happy and Handmade.

We hope you enjoy wrapping all your goodies for Christmas!

(And we hope you’re having a fab holiday Alicia!).

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About the guest poster:

Rachael is an illustrator from Brisbane and the creator of the whimsical world of Penelope and Pip. She makes art prints and pretty paper goods and blogs daily about her art, craft and design inspirations at Penelope and Pip Handmade.

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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