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.
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
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 keep all of the large size plastic jars that cheese balls come in. I like to keep little things in them. Here is a picture of one I put an old calendar picture in. You can also place little metal baskets in the top, making it a double decker storage jar.
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 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
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
If you're not agile enough for a cabin bed, but you really could use the extra storage - consider sleeping in the bottom bunk of bunk beds, and storing your boxes up top. You can even dress the bunks up as a four poster, thus niftily disguising all the bits and pieces stashed overhead.
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.
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 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.
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.
My son 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.
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?
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
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
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
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 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 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. By Ann
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.
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
Check out your local Dollar stores for storage bins; for books, you can buy small open purse-like bins with handles that can store children's books and can be lined on a wall of a bedroom wall. Check out thrift stores for storage bins, baskets, etc.
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 know your dilemma. I've moved several times over the past 3 years and started out with 2400 sq. feet of living space and am now down to little to none. I am an avid crafter and as such, had massive amounts of "stuff". I have sold and given away so much, downsizing with each move, but I've managed to keep quite a bit also. I have free standing metal shelves (6' high) on my bedroom walls, bought at Menard's for $10.00 each.
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)
Because I've lived in super-tiny places most of my life, I have quite a few storage ideas:
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)
HANGING OR OVER-THE-DOOR SHOE ORGANIZERS:
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
Cut the top off a cardboard box, and cut down to a height that will fit under the bed. Put two holes in one side with a knife/scissors, and make a handle out of rope. This is practically free. Also works under some sofas and chairs. (03/08/2008)