I have all sorts of tiny crafting materials (wiggle eyes, acrylic jewels, needles, beads, etc) and not a lot of space to store them, we live full time in our camper. I tried looking for storage boxes but the compartments were either too small or too large for most of the materials. Then I found some unique alternatives that were a perfect fit.
If you are as unfortunate as I am in the health arena and find yourself taking many medications, use your old medicine bottles to hold some materials.
If you suffer from diabetes and test your blood sugar using test strips that come in a vial (rather than a drum or disc), use the empty vials to hold crafting accessories.
Or, if you still use camera film, use the empty film cases to hold the supplies that boxes don't work for.
In the end, I also have the option of keeping them in different craft bags instead of trying to fit a larger box into a space and having to take the whole box out when I only need one type of supply at a time.
Tops from laundry detergent or softener, spray cans etc, make good containers for small amounts of paint or glue. A fishing tackle box is an excellent place for tiny items. And let us not forget the most neglected storage item of all... the wash pan you get when you go into the hospital. I wanted to use the six urinals we got from each of DH's hospital stays last year but he wouldn't let me.
Egg cartons and plastic ice cube trays are good for storing little bits and pieces.
The vials that are used with fresh flowers to keep water around the stem work well for little things also - needles, small stuff like that. most beads will stay in even with the little slits in the rubber cap, but you can close it with a piece of tape of you need to.
Tackle boxes work for storing small items. You can get them pretty cheap.
If you like the idea of using empty film canisters; almost any Walgreens, CVS, and those types of stores will give you all of their empty ones if you just ask; some of them are white and you can sort of see through them.
Also, I frequently see people on www.Freecycle.org post Offers and Wanteds for empty prescription bottles, empty baby food jars, etc. We all like to do our part when it comes to recycling.
My DH and I use recycled jars, cans, bottles, etc. for just about everything! We've put sugar in a large, recycled plastic jar; we reuse our large peanut butter jars for storing rice, etc. Just this week, I gave our daughter in law some homemade soups in recycled coffee cans. That way she doesn't have to worry about returning the dishes, and she could use the cans if she chose to.
I'm a crafter from way back. I've learned to recycle pillow cases, sheets, etc. I don't throw out much!! Problem with that is, I have to discover more storage ideas!
Thanks for your ideas. I love this site.
I found a great storage container at Big Lots in the hardware section. It consists of 5 round containers with a center hole (like a doughnut) and a snap on lid. Each container is divided into compartments (5 or 6 - I don't have it in front of me & can't remember exactly). The 5 "doughnuts" fit onto a tube with a carry handle on the top that can be used to store longer (but not too long) items. The whole thing measures about 8" across and 8" tall. I use one ring for jewelry findings, one for wiggle eyes, etc. and can put different sizes/colors/sorts in the different compartments. When I bought the unit (for about $5) it was filled with screws, nails, hooks, etc. If you have no use for them, donate them to a Goodwill or Habitat Homestore, but who can't use an extra nail now and then!
Your idea of using little canisters like film and pill canisters is great...except that you don't have a clue what's in them unless you glue one of the little items on the outside of the canister. I prefer to use clear containers as much as possible, so I use the tiny little food bags you buy for homemade candy or jewelry. They take up much less room and I just store them in a shoe box. I, too, live in a camper, but only part-time. The shoebox takes up less in room in our camper.
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