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posted: 10/10/2012 6:05 AM

Frugal living: Repurposing items for easy organization

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Over-the-door pocket organizers work well for more than just shoes. They're space-savers, and the pockets can be labeled easily. Use one to organize socks, hats, gloves, scarves, school/craft supplies, pantry supplies such as lunch snacks, or bathroom essentials such as washcloths, hair products, soap, toothpaste or bath poufs. The first reader tip offers a couple more ideas:

Over-the-door organizer: I use one to hold all of my cleaning products. Obviously, this isn't a good idea if you have a young child in the house. It's easy for me to see what I'm running low on, too. The organizer pockets are big enough to hold almost any cleaning product, such as cans of Lysol and large spray bottles. They work great for toys, such as Barbies and stuffed animals, too.

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Becky M., Texas

Homemade baked goods: You can reuse aluminum foil, parchment paper or plastic wrap boxes. Cover the box with gift-wrap, line with wax paper or tissue paper and tuck homemade cookies, fudge, candies, mini muffins or cupcakes inside.

Gina F., Florida

Tea organizer: I had several boxes of tea taking up a lot of cabinet space. At first I thought I'd put them all into a cookie tin, but I didn't want to have to fish through it to find what I wanted. I decided to use a silverware organizer. It's a wooden tray and has six compartments. I can slide the organizer into a drawer or set it on top of my microwave or on a shelf in my pantry. It frees up a lot of space, and it would make a cute gift idea, too.

Denise, California

Halloween lunch snack: For Halloween, I like to fill a sandwich bag with orange snacks, such as Cheetos, cheese balls, cheese curls, Cheddar chips or Doritos. Then I tie a green bow at the top, and it looks like a fun little pumpkin.

Connie, Pennsylvania

Caramel apples: My kids can never eat a whole caramel apple. I slice the apples and dip them in caramel, then I roll them in sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or M&M's. They're easier to eat, and nothing gets wasted.

Kelly, email

Use for ice-cream tubs: I have several of these that I use as mini-buckets to mix liquid cleaner (Spic and Span, Lysol, etc.) and hot water on cleaning day. The smaller size makes them easy to carry from room to room. I use the lids under large flowerpots.

Connie, Ohio

Reuse dishwasher rack: We got a new dishwasher, but before tossing the old one, I took out the bottom rack. It has wheels, making it a good little under-the-bed organizer. I like to put my books in it, so they don't clutter my nightstand.

Barb, Wisconsin

• Sara Noel owns which offers practical, money-saving strategies. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel at

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