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10 weekend home projects that cost almost nothing

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | September 21, 2015

Does your home need organizing and cleaning you've been putting off? If your tight budget and lack of time keep you from getting things spic and span, then we've got good news -- you can get your home totally clean and updated while being kind to your wallet and your free time. From sprucing up your kitchen to finally organizing your garage, these projects have a minimal cost but return big rewards on satisfaction and peace of mind.

Here are ten awesome DIY ideas for sprucing, cleaning, organizing, and making your house more attractive.

  1. Finally organize that closet. You know the one -- the closet that serves as a "catch-all" for anything and everything that doesn't have a proper place elsewhere. Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and wade in. Start by throwing everything out of the closet, then carefully consider permanent placements for the things you want to keep. The cost: A few hooks for coats and other things, as well as a few bins or boxes.
  2. Get serious about garage cleanup. Your garage might be another of those places where everything happens to get shoved into nooks and crannies, until you are overwhelmed with clutter and have nowhere to park the car. Just as with the closet, all you can do is wade in there and get it done. Separate the finds into Keepers, Donate, and Trash. Need more organization? Shelves are your friend. The cost: Boxes and bins, plus shelves if the garage is in truly bad shape.
  3. Spruce up the kitchen cabinets. Have your kitchen cabinets seen better days? You don't have to spring for a remodel that costs thousands. Instead, do it yourself by painting those cabinets in a bright, cheery color that makes you smile. If you start early on a Saturday morning, you can be using the kitchen again by Sunday night. The cost: Paint and supplies, plus new hardware to complete your fresh look.
  4. Clean up for better airflow. There are two places in the house that often get overlooked when dusting: The ceiling fans and the air vents. Remedy that problem this weekend by breaking out the heavy-duty cleaners and dust rags. Vacuum the vents and fan blades first, then tackle the remaining dust. Your lungs will thank you. The cost: Delightfully free.
  5. Purge your bookcases. Do you have too many books? A glut of CDs? Dozens of DVDs you will never watch again? Now is the time to clean house! Go through those books, CDs, DVDs, and anything else that is taking up space. Be ruthless in your choices of what to keep and what to donate. When you are done, donate the items immediately -- otherwise that bin full of cast-offs will wind up in the garage or the closet, and you're back where you started. The cost: Nothing!
  6. Corral those toys. If you have ever stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night, you know the pain of toys that have been left strewn all over the house. Colorful bins, interesting wall hooks, and a lot of encouragement can get your kids involved in (gasp!) cleaning their rooms. If you're stealthy, you might even be able to toss a few broken toys. The cost: Bins, hooks, and maybe some bribery.
  7. Give the deck a serious wash. Your deck, porch, and sidewalk tend to attract anything that can lead to an unsightly mess. Over time, it just gets worse. Cut through the grime this weekend with a serious power-washing of these surfaces, one that leaves them clean as a whistle. And let's be honest: as household chores go, power-washing can be pretty fun! The cost: Rental of a power-washer.
  8. Clean up the flower beds. Has your garden or flower bed gone to seed this year? Is your landscaping looking a bit haggard? With spade in hand, take the weekend to fix the problem. Get murderous with weeds, spread new mulch everywhere, cut back overgrown shrubs and water everything when you're done. The cost: a few bags of mulch and a lot of sweat.
  9. Ditch those old clothes. No one wants to look into their clothing closets. Why? Because there are so many things that you haven't touched in years, can't fit into anymore, or can't believe you ever purchased in the first place. Besides that, most closets are a mess. Face the shame and dive in, purging anything you haven't worn in a year or more. Then organize in a way that allows you to choose the day's outfit with just a few glances. The cost: Nothing, unless you need a new closet rod or a set of drawers.
  10. Spruce up your floors. You often just vacuum, sweep, and maybe mop, but once a year you should do an in-depth cleaning to avoid long-term stains, dust and dander buildup, and so much more. Start with one room and move out all the furniture, then tackle the floors with a vengeance. Move from room to room until the whole house is done. The cost: A carpet steamer rental, and possibly wax for your hardwood.

From free to minimal cost, these home improvement projects require more muscle and elbow grease than money. And once you have completed these, you just might want to keep going with more cleaning and organizing. Give it a few weekends, and your house will look better than it did when you moved in!

Photo credit to Myryah Shea

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.