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Makeshift Shelf Ideas

Category Helpful Hints
Often we need to set up temporary shelves. Using items around the house to assemble them is fast and frugal. This is a page about makeshift shelf ideas.


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I don't have much counter space, so when I knocked off the umpteenth cup of coffee while trying to open the microwave, I said "that's enough"!

I had four cans of fruit juice that I transferred to other containers. After the tops were off, and cleaned, I hot glued on some fabric to match my kitchen. Contact paper, wallpaper, scrapbooking paper, or paint will also work.

I found a great board just the right size, and lifted everything up. Underneath, I place a basket that is perfect for my teas, cocoas, and ciders. If you need more counter space, you can do something similar. Hope this helps!

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Make use of the top of your microwave by adding a shelf made for the side of your cupboards. Once I forgot to remove my skillets from the oven (my old extra shelf), when my grandson was here. He will never let me live it down. He continually asks if I have figured out how long it takes to cook a skillet! No more of that!


As in the photo the skillets are stored on my microwave under the wire shelf. On top of the shelf I have a wicker basket that keeps our chips contained, also in the basket are a couple of hotpads to use with the microwave.

Here is another use for the wire shelf. When we purchased a new freezer we found that the shelves were too far apart wasting a lot of room. I found a wire shelf that slides onto a cupboard shelf, slipped it onto the freezer shelf and wired them together. Now I have twice as much room with no wasted space.

By Ann (latrtatr) from Loup City, NE

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I live in a complex that is 36 years old and just like we humans, things sag from time to time. The second shelf was bowing in the middle, and the flimsy little pegs that hold it up don't really help. So...

I found a single food container to use in the front, and two that matched the heights in the back. No cost, no chance of waiting 3 weeks for a maintenance request that couldn't really be fixed, and now I can put heavier things on the upper shelf.


Other things can work, too. An emptied 32 oz. bottle of vinegar without the lid, certain tin cans in combinations. You just need to get creative.


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I moved into an apartment that has almost no counter space, especially in the bathroom.

I took one of the spacers from a pressboard book case and cut it to fit the width of the back of the sink's counter. Then I covered two vegetable cans with contact paper, and then the board. It made a nice shelf for pretties against the back. Nothing would have fit, and now I don't have to worry about it!



By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

A makeshift shelf for the bathroom counter, covered in contact paper.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

Thanks everyone. I am doing the same thing this week to my kitchen counter, only with blue and yellow paper. Another cool way to support shelving boards is glass jars filled with colored glass beads from the dollar tree, or buttons, spools of thread, or marbles.


Anything small that you collect can be used, as well as colored water. N-JOY!

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Everyone received my makeshift bathroom shelf so well, that I did the same with the kitchen. Since I can't see outside while doing the dishes, I can at least enjoy my pretties. This board was 3 inches wide and $.30 per foot, at 6 feet it was only $1.80, and the cans were free, with the contact paper $.50 for a roll of 50 feet, so it was almost not worth mentioning! I hope this inspires someone to do something pretty and functional, too!

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

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Home and Garden Home Improvement Helpful HintsDecember 13, 2016
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