If you get creative, there are so many cheap storage solutions right in front of you. Consider re-purposing items when you have a storage need. This page contains cheap storage solutions.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
I live in the "backwoods" of Montana. In June of 2011, we had very heavy rainfall that resulted in my kitchen ceiling leaking. I was trying to figure out how to keep my pantry dry and thought about the old fashioned 1 gallon glass jars. I took a trip in to my local grocery store to see if I could get some at the deli.
I ended up with 1 Gallon plastic salad dressing containers. They work awesome for storing sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking mix, macaroni, cereal, rolled oats, dried milk, crackers, trail mix; you name it. They have a base of about 8 inches square, they have a pretty blue screw on lid and a very convenient handle on the side. I tore off the label and made my own for the outside. If there is a recipe that is on the outside of the bag (cornbread or biscuits, etc.), I simply cut it off of the bag, stick it in a baggie, and tuck it in with the baking mix or cornmeal.
Another added benefit of these containers is that I can see at a glance what I am almost out of when I make out my grocery list. I then bring home my groceries, open the packages, and dump them into the proper container.
The only mistake I made was telling everyone in the Deli what I use them for and now the ladies are taking them home themselves. These awesome containers are being thrown away on a daily basis by any restaurant or deli that uses salad dressing. I didn't spend a dime :)
By Linny from Roundup, MT
My son had his own apartment, but now has moved back home. He had purchased a pantry for the apartment. It is the kind that comes in a box to be assembled at home. Last weekend, he put a lot of his collection of books inside the cabinet. Now I wish he had two! I love it because it has doors to keep the dust off the books.
He has a very large Lego collection and I was thinking that type of unit would be wonderful for any hobby materials. It would be good for scrapbooking, knitting, crafts, etc. It might even be used for a home office! Keep your eyes open for used units at second hand stores, or shop your own home and repurpose units you already own!
By Carol from Wyoming, PA
I save the packages from blankets and sheet sets (the nice ones with zippers) and use them to store all kinds of things that need to be kept clean and dry. I also take the boxes that the copier paper comes in at work and use them to store items. I've also found that these boxes stack better than luggage in the back of our van when we go on long road trips.
Source: my mom did these things
By cdoss from Cincinnati, OH
Like most homemakers, I was always buying Tupperware or some store type of food storage containers. And like most people, I was always losing the lids. So there I was with containers and no way to seal them. One day, the sun shone on my brain and I realized I had lots of containers that I had bought at the store and then thrown away.
Jars, lots and lots of jars and plastic containers with lids are available when the filling is used up. I will not buy another container because I find it easier to use a clear jar with a lid to put leftovers in the refrigerator. They store dried beans, rice, macaroni, and all kinds of things. If one breaks, no big deal as it is easily replaced with another jar and another jar and on and on. If my husband needs a container, he can go to the pantry and pick one from the shelf. He doesn't have to worry about ever putting it back either. I love jars and jugs!
By Elaine from OK
We have too many mugs! So, I use some of them on tops of bookcases, file cabinets, dressers, etc. to store small items. One contains a pair of scissors, buttons, and single earrings for sewing and crafts. Another contains pens, pencils, paper clips, small erasers, and tiny office supplies.
By Vivian P.
You can cover many smooth containers (such as bread crumbs or nut cans) with decorative Con-Tact or wrapping paper and fill them with homemade cookies or candy for gifts. You can also use them to store food (Pringle cans hold 1 lb. spaghetti), make-up (small Pounce-type cat treat cans hold Q-tips and applicators), jewelry (Sucretes and Altoids hold small pins and earrings), grooming (bobby pins, hair clips), medicines (small tubes of ointment) cleaning items (partially-used steel wool pads) and craft supplies (beads, eyes, ribbons, small flowers), almost anything!
Being a Grandma gives me the excuse to have a lot of crayons and markers around. To keep everything in storage, I use clear leftover strawberry containers. They even lock on the ends. You can also very easily stack them.
I use colorful cloth or plastic tote bags as storage for many things: reusable plastic bags, bits of fabrics and trims, travel items, scarves and shawls, gloves and mittens. I hang the bags from cute racks or pegs so they look nice. Most of the bags are purchased from thrift stores or from department stores.
I found that all the old school backpacks can be put to use as storage for under the bed and in corners of bookcases and such. They look nice and they can hold a number of things in them.
I plan to organize my 9 year old's clothes and keep the sweaters in there for the really cold weather. I am always looking for storage ideas since our house has no closets in it! :)
By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN
I don't always have spare containers or chip-clips handy (or have them at all) so I make my own airtight enclosures for my goodies using empty plastic drink bottles. My demo photos are coffee beans in a regular plastic bag, the other is a thicker plastic bag from chocolate chips. This method works with any bag as long as you don't bunch it up so the bottle-cap-screwing-action can still happen. Enjoy!
Approximate Time: 3 minutes
In our area Clementines come in nice little wooden crates. I have a bunch, which I have turned upside down on the computer monitor and the TV. Because they are small, they fit that ridge, so I can use it for storage.
If you are storing long-term, do not use cardboard boxes. Anything can happen to them, be it roof leakage or bugs or mice. I use polystyrene boxes. I get them from the greengrocers, they've been used to transport broccoli. A quick swish out with warm water and dry off with a towel.
Place articles inside. Use cloth tape to seal. Clearly mark what is inside on all sides and top.
Clear plastic shoe boxes are excellent, I have found, for storage. I have ones I bought on sale at my local supermarket very cheaply. I use them for storing many different things but put like with like. For example: household glues and picture hanging nails. Small screwdrivers and other tools. Earphones and cords (amazing how many of those one collects in a short time and then can't find!). Greeting cards.
By Leonie from Warrnambool, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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Here are questions related to Cheap Storage Solutions.
I am moving to a small 1 bedroom flat and need some funky ideas for storage for my craft stuff, also everything else. I hope ThriftyFun members can help me. Many thanks.
By Helen from U.K
By soizic bluestone10/08/2009
For more storage space I also hiked up two bunk beds with PVC pipe to store things under them. I am of a short stature person and so are my kids, to create more space I used this to my advantage.
The put together bookcases sold at most hardware stores (have 5 shelves) are about 6 feet tall. Taller than me.
I placed 2 against a wall and 2 in the middle of the room facing each other -- i then laid closet maid (about 6 feet long, about 6 of them) wire shelving across these bookcases making a loft type of storage
Since there are only 4 in the family each of us use one bookcases to store our clothes/shoes (I drape sheets over the shelves to hide away the messy clothes folding my kids use) and that enables me to use the closet for more storage
I also have a counter dividing the kitchen and dining/living room. Since when I moved in the counter was only in a T shape, I placed shelving under the T on either side creating more storage.
i also store plastic storage boxes under my outside bench and in the living room as seating areas
What are the best XL and XXL bags available? Space Bags have received terrible reviews. Why haven't any of the other companies stepped up to fill the void?
What is the largest vacuumed sealed bag available through Reynolds? If they don't make the large and XL and XXL, why not?
By Trish Mastriano07/11/2011
I forgot to mention that I have tried many brands of the vacuum seal type bags you are talking about. They tear easily & the zippers are just impossible & I have yet to go it the attic to find one still un-inflated.
Trish in CT
To make frugal storage, take a jumbo cereal box and glue a smaller cereal box inside that one. Decorate with nice fabric. and you have storage for papers and things.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
I store lots of things on the patio and throughout the house. We have a hundred year old house with no closets, so we have to get creative.
I had an extra plastic kitchen size waste receptacle, and I had an extra lid that had belonged to a plastic storage tub. It just about fit the top of the trash can, it could not be too big or objects would fall off and it would be uneven. I use this to store things in and also as a desk to write on and to set things on.
It has been a blessing to me to have these ideas on how to store. I got this original idea from this site years ago, when I asked for help with organizing things. The original tip said to get a huge garbage pail, the black kind and put a wooded table topper on it and then a table cloth.
I had this white plastic table cloth, from when I used it over a window in a back room that was really drafty, after a friend broke the window.
I have really enjoyed using things I already have around the house for things I am in need of. I wanted to share how beautiful these little storage tables can be.
By Robyn F. from TN
I scarfed these cake containers from my grandson's recent party.
For this one, I now keep all my articles and magazines to read during quiet time, commercials, or any time I have some time to read. Your coffee table may not be like mine, but you can also use these for:
Keeping yarn separated on a shelf.
An "emergency kit" in the trunk.
Keeping spuds and onions in the cupboard.
Keeping salad things together in the fridge.
Storing copy paper beside the printer.
Keep by the door for junk mail or recycled magazines.
This is tricky, but can be done: set it empty in the flatest surface you can inside the freezer, then fill with water. Don't try and fill it then lift it, it's too flimsy. When frozen, set a sheet ice cream cake on it for a party. Then use the melted water for plants or pets.
There are tons of uses for these wonderful clear cake tops. Any one of your "ITF" (Ingenius Thrifty Funers") care to add to the list?
By Poor But Proud from Salem, OR
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
We have moved from a big house to a smaller one and have less storage space and less space in general. We have a car port instead of a garage and live in a rainy climate so it's not easy to store much outside. Does anyone have some tips for storing items when you have a limited amount of space or some effective ways to store items outside in a rainy and cold climate? Or, are storage units worth the money? Thanks. Janet
We moved into a small house. We have too much stuff that I want to keep, and not enough room to store it in. Does anyone have any thrifty ideas for making your own storage, we're skint (lacking funds).
Beck from UK
I usually find storage items at a cheap price; I put the baskets in the dishwasher to sanitize them. I recycle the plastic washing powder tubs with lids to store items in and have even used the paper washing powder containers to store things.
It can be a lot of fun trying to come up with storage ideas; be creative. Have fun. (02/26/2008)
I then took solid sheets (bought at thrift and rummage sales) and put them across the fronts of units. Clutter out of sight. I also get computer paper boxes free from Office Max and label and stack them about 5 high where ever I can. I have some space in the semi-finished basement and use the boxes there also, but put the bottom box in a large plastic bag, just in case of dampness. If some items are large and you have some outside space, get a pallet or two and stack on them and cover with a painters tarp ( Menards for about $5). I wish you luck on the storage nightmare.
Maggie O. in Bloomington, MN (02/26/2008)
I keep dirty clothes on the bottom half of the cubes and clean folded towels and sheets in the top half. I have a curtain that covers the front. In my room, I have a 3 cube high x 3 cube wide stack of them that sits on top of a long table. The grid-cubes are filled with clear plastic shoe boxes and since I'm one of the few women that don't own many shoes, I have the boxes filled with sewing supplies. In my craft/sewing room I use these wire/grid/cubes to hold skeins of yarn and plastic dish pans (from the dollar store) as "drawers" to hold my craft supplies. In the garage I use the same grids lined with Masonite to hold my power tools and because they are "grids" you can hang tools from "S" hooks on them. I bought some of my grid/cubes at Costco and some from the thrift store. They are also sold online.
I hope you can use some of these ideas, as they've been very helpful to me living here in my super-tiny home. If you can only buy 2 tools to help you build storage systems and things around the house, buy a drill and a Jig-saw. You can buy both of these for under $50. If you only use them only once in a while (like I do) you don't need the best. (02/26/2008)
I use an over-the-door shoe organizer that has pockets on the inside of my pantry closet door to hold small items like sauce or seasoning packets, pasta packages and other small, light-weight items. My pantry door is narrow so I cut the shoe organizer down to size, folded over the raw edge and straight-stitched it flat. I also undid a few of the pocket seams so that I had some larger pockets, i.e., 2 pockets made into one larger one.
Besides shoes, these over-the-door organizers can be used in your:
If you set aside the over-the-door hooks, and instead hang the organizer on a wall, you can use it to store small stuffed animals/dolls or store frequently-used supplies near your desk, sewing machine, craft/hobby area, workbench.
I have seen these hanging shoe organizers available in fabric and plastic/vinyl. I have even seen something similar made of mesh fabric that you hang on your shower curtain rod to hold shampoo bottles or bath toys.
If you have small window that needs covering, you could hang one up as a curtain and put items like silk flowers in the pockets to decorate.
UNDER OR BEHIND THE COUCH/SOFA
BEHIND A BOOKSHELF
UNDER FURNITURE WITH ONLY 2 OR 3 INCHES OF SPACE UNDERNEATH
RE-PURPOSE OR DUAL-PURPOSE ITEMS
A FEW MORE IDEAS