Cheap Storage Solutions

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.

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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

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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.

Clear Strawberry Containers as Storage
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    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.

    Decorated Storage Jar
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      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

      Cereal box storage covered with green and white fabric

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      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:

      • Storing owner's manuals in the garage.
      • 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

      Recycle Cake Pan for Storage

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      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

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      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.

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        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.

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        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

        A plastic storage container covered with a white cloth and used as an outdoor table.

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        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.

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        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.

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        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.

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        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?

        Thanks.

        By Diane

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        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.

        God Bless.

        Trish in CT

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        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

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        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

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        If you are storing long-term, do not use cardboard boxes. Anything can happen to them, be it roof leakage or bugs or mice.

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        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.

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        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

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        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.

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        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

        Answers:

        Frugal Storage Ideas?

        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)

        By WandaJo

        Frugal Storage Ideas?

        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)

        By gardenlady58102

        Frugal Storage Ideas?

        Because I've lived in super-tiny places most of my life, I have quite a few storage ideas:

        1. Raise Your Bed Up: on wood blocks, books or tiles that are taped together with masking tape, this will give you an extra 6 - 8 inches of extra room to store boxes with lids, bins, and other things.

        2. Metal Wire/Grid/Cubes: I'm posting a picture of these so you'll know what I'm talking about. These grids come in many colors and can be configured any way you like. I especially like the way they can easily be broken down to fit into a small box for moving. (I like to use a rubber mallet). They can be hung from a wall, set on a table or stacked directly on the floor. Each cube is 13 inches square. I use these in many places of my home. I use them in the hallway in front of the washer and dryer. (5 cubes high x 3 cubes wide)

          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.

        3. Stacking Plastic (vegetable or toy) Bins: These can be stacked all the way to the ceiling as long as you secure them with wire to a stud in your wall so they won't fall over. Mine are filled with all of my heavy tools.

        4. Pegboards: Need I say more? They can be cut to any size and you can hang anything from them, tools, rolls of tape, or craft supplies, etc.

        5. Plastic Bins with Locking Lids: Be sure to get locking lids on your storage bins when you buy them. They may cost a tiny bit more, but will keep moisture and dust out much better.

        6. Add shelves everywhere: There are places you can hang shelves that you would normally not think of hanging them. For example above your washer and dryer there's usually room for one or 2 extra shelves. One more additional shelf can also be added above your closet. Also, right in front of your windows you can hang shelves. I know this sounds like a crazy idea, but it's a great place to store clear or colored glassware and potted plants and herbs, but remember it's moist in front of windows.

        7. Small Stacking Wire Shelves: (like Rubbermaid brand) These wire shelves are made for use inside kitchen cupboards. These small stacking shelves are made for the kitchen are wonderful because you can store twice as many things. Your canned goods can be stacked over and under a shelf and your plates can be on a shelf and your glasses under the wire shelf. You'll get twice the kitchen storage if you use these.

        8. Shelves Above your Computer Area: If you're looking for more storage space, go up. There's more space on your walls than you'd think.

        9. Spring Rods: These handy little rods can be found in the "Curtain" and "Blind" area of your favorite department or Home store. They're wonderful because they need no hardware to hang them. They are adjustable by turning on one side until they "grow" or "shrink" to fit the area where you want to put them. They work like a spring. You can simply hang a curtain, a tablecloth or a nice piece of fabric over a spring-rod to hide the things you've stored on your shelves or on your wire/grid/cubes.

        10. Plastic Dish Pans: When you store cleaning supplies or linens under a cupboard, store them in plastic dish-pans from the Dollar store. That way things don't make a mess and you can simply pull the whole dish-pan "drawer" out to see what's in it.

        11. Under the Stairs, Crawl Spaces and Attics: Sometimes you can find extra storage space under your stairs. Some builders will frame the area in because it's quicker and less expensive to do so, than to build a closet, shelves or drawers. Look around your home for these little nooks.

        12. Corner Nooks and Corner Shelves: Sometimes we have room in the corners of our rooms and hallways. I store my wrapping paper upright in a small plastic trash can ($1 store) in a back corner of my hallway.

        13. Window Seats and Kitchen Booths: Sometimes there's room to build storage in the way of window seats. You can also buy or build a "booth" with storage under the seats in your kitchen or dining area. This will give you a lot of extra storage space, unlike a kitchen table with "regular" chairs.

        14. Extra Bath Tubs: I know it sounds strange, but I've seen people build a make-shift seat (w/fancy pillows) over a bath tub by upholstering over a piece of plywood covered with foam. Some people are fortunate enough to live in a home that has 2 or 3 bathrooms. If you have a tub you never use, why not turn it into storage. You can either build a "couch" with storage under the plywood (inside the "tub" area), or you can simply build a set of shelves over the tub area. Once you draw the shower curtain, you'll never see your storage area.

        15. Back and Front Porches: Yes, it's rainy, wet and cold on my front porch, but I still have a bit of room for a narrow set of shelves (painted to match my home) set behind a piece of painted lattice. On these shelves I store our bottled water and my gardening tools in a bin or basket.

        16. Garages: They have wonderful wall-slat systems for garages these days and the best thing about "wall slats" is they can be used and hung in garages that don't have sheet-rock hung. You just secure the pieces of the "slat-wall system" to several studs. Then it's possible to hang everything from bicycles to hardware from them.

        17. Courtyards: Sometime there's a tiny bit of room to build a small private courtyard outside. I built one in another home I lived in just outside of my bedroom's sliding glass doors and right at the head of my driveway. I made a "self-standing" courtyard with 3 pieces of fencing with a gate that set right on top of the concrete. This lattice "courtyard" prevented the neighbors from looking into my bedroom through my sliding glass doors when the draperies were open. Plus, it also gave me a place to put an outdoor glider to sit on and several potted plants. It was a great place to drink my coffee in the morning. A bit of privacy that only took up an 8 foot square area, right there on my driveway.

        18. Outdoor Storage sheds: What more can I say? We all need some place to store our lawn mower, tools and camping gear. But these sheds are also a great place to store our large plastic bins. Just be sure what you store outside can withstand the moisture and hot and cold of the weather.

        19. Quonset Huts, Tents and Military Surplus: You never know what you'll find, and if you can find something nice looking enough. You just might find yourself an extra bit of storage this way.

        20. Camper Vans, Etc: We have an large older conversion camper-van that looks nice enough on the outside for the neighbors, but we don't drive it much these days due to the high cost of gas. We can't get much money for it because of it's age, so we use it for storage, for tools and the like.

        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)

        By Cyinda

        RE: Frugal Storage Ideas?

        Frugal Storage Ideas?

        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:

        • Clothes closet (socks/hosiery, hair accessories, scarves, undergarments, etc.)
        • Bathroom closet (toiletries, washclothes, handtowels)
        • Coat closet (mittens, gloves, scarves)
        • Entryway/foyer (keys, outgoing mail, cell phone, beeper)

        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

        • flat items like large serving platters that are not used frequently, framed posters or pictures that you want to keep, but not use in your current decor, books not frequently used, but you want to keep
        • extra blankets and pillows stored in plastic or canvas bags can be tucked behind the sofa/couch if the back is not flush against a wall

        BEHIND A BOOKSHELF

        • Because of the base molding at the bottom of my walls, my bookshelves have half to 1 inch of space behind them. Again you can store flat items here.

        UNDER FURNITURE WITH ONLY 2 OR 3 INCHES OF SPACE UNDERNEATH

        • Telephone books, board games, puzzles

        RE-PURPOSE OR DUAL-PURPOSE ITEMS

        • Display your dishes and platters on the walls of your kitchen/dining room.
        • Use out-of-season clothing or linens as the stuffing for pillow shams.
        • Hang quilts or afghans on a wall to display and keep handy for use.
        (02/26/2008)

        By TJ

        Frugal Storage Ideas?

        A FEW MORE IDEAS

        • Display books with nicely illustrated covers as artwork in place of framed pictures or posters.

        • Hang necklaces and bracelets on a towel bar.
        • Place gift wrap rolls under/behind the sofa.
        • Add pockets to fabric covers for dining room chairs and store table linens in the pockets.

        • Drape folded towels or tablecloths over the backs of dining room chairs and then "cap" them with the fabric chair covers; now your dining room chair is pretty and has a padded back.

        • Curtain off the base of a pedestal sink with fabric and Velcro (hook'n'loop tape) and hide items like extra toilet paper, toiletries, cleaning supplies "under the sink".

        • If you have short legs like I do or a large dining table or desk, store items underneath towards the center or back (where your feet cannot reach them).

        • Store out-of-season clothing/linens in your luggage.
        • If you have fabric items in plastic bags, squeeze out the air before sealing the bag. This is the concept of the travel version of the "space bags".

        • Loan out items that a friend or relative could use. Best example: maternity clothes, baby gear.
        • I ditched my tea kettle and use my coffemaker (without the coffee grounds) to heat water for tea, oatmeal, etc.

        • If you don't use your oven much, store pots and pans, baking sheets, muffin pans, etc. in there. Just be sure to remove them before you do turn on the oven.
        (02/26/2008)

        By TJ

        Frugal Storage 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)

        By JanO

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        Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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        Organizing StorageNovember 2, 2011
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