Using Everyday Items for Storage
When you think about storing items in your home, chances are good that you look at the big picture: You likely use larger items, such as closet organizers, a bookcase, cabinetry and dedicated storage systems to store most of your belongings. If you are in the situation where you have too much stuff and not enough places to store it all, you might be thinking about what type of storage system you can purchase to hold your excess possessions. The good news is that you might be able to get away with using items that you already have in your home! This will save money and resources, and it also allows you to get started right away. As a bonus, many of these items will look cute as well, either as-is or with just one or two extra touches.
- Clear glass jars How many glass jars do you put into your recycling bin each week? You might buy pickles, mayonnaise, jelly, applesauce... and the list goes on. If you have a baby, then you might have dozens of baby food jars literally at your fingertips. Run them through the dishwasher (the tops, too) or soak them in hot, sudsy water, scrub and rinse well. You can fill these with just about anything, from candies or teabags in the kitchen, to small hardware in the garage, to loose change in the bedroom. Tie a ribbon or a length of raffia around the short neck of the jar, or if you’re using a mason jar, pop out the circular piece at the top, cover it in a circle of fabric or scrapbook paper, then screw the ring back on. You can make a whole “set” of jars this way for a cute country look.
- Plastic containers with lids You can buy Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers for storage, or you probably have a collection of used plastic containers with lids in your cabinets. You may get them from takeout restaurants or maybe they once held margarine spread or whipped cream. These can hold small children’s toys, like magnet letters or marbles, extra batteries, your daughter’s barrettes, crayons, or anything else that you can think of. Because they’re made of plastic, they’re safe to use even in the play room, and because they have lids, knocking them over won’t cause an avalanche of marbles to roll across the floor. You could definitely use these as-is, or you could cover them with fabric if you wanted to.
- Coffee or baby formula cans If you have cylindrical cans, you can use them for quite a few items. With their lids, you could use them the same way as you’d use the plastic containers above. Check to see what the cans are made of, because some are made of cardboard. These are not going to be able to hold anything that might get damp, but they’re fine for buttons and other sewing notions and things like that. A plastic coffee can makes a good place to stash the toilet brush. Those holders get grimy and gross pretty fast, so toss yours in the trash and switch over to a plastic cylinder; just change it every couple of weeks and you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out. You could even use a large metal or plastic can to hide an ugly generic planter for a houseplant. Cover the can in scrapbook paper, add a ribbon if desired, and place the entire planter in the can. If the plant is too short, stick an upside-down plastic container inside the coffee can to boost the plant up.
You surely have a lot of other great everyday items that you could use for storage. Consider muffin tins, shoeboxes, wine bottles, and boxes that come in the mail, especially this time of year. Before you throw away or recycle potential item-holders, think about if and how you could use it. Remember that reusing and repurposing is even more environmentally friendly than recycling, so do what you can to save the environment while you’re saving money.