January 22nd, 2017 8:58 AM by Jackie A. Graves
These DIY storage ideas transform stuff you already have
your old stuff freeload! Put it to work. Use that old suitcase, file cabinet,
magazine rack — even items you might ordinarily pitch into the recycling bin —
to help organize your home. You’ll save money, and your family will benefit
from unique storage solutions that fit your lifestyle.
Go on: Unpack
your creativity and pack up your clutter into old stuff you never before
thought to use as storage.
Tin Cans Become ... Winter Gear Storage
gloves and boots, oh my. With three young children and a small entryway, Clare
Fauke gets desperate to see her floor each winter. “I needed a way to contain
things in a spot everyone could reach,” she says. While cooking chili one day,
she had an aha moment. “Those 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes were the perfect
size to [use for stowing] a couple of baby gloves,” says Fauke who lives with
her family in Chicago.
out the cans and made sure there was no torn metal around the edges. Then she
screwed the cans to a piece of scrap wood and attached the whole thing to the
wall by the door. “It really helps discourage the kids from throwing their
things everywhere,” Fauke says. And the cost is minimal if you wait until those
tomatoes are on sale.
Old Strawberry Containers Become ... Organizers
Mickey Mansfield of suburban Charlotte, N.C., found himself knee-deep in
plastic strawberry boxes. He decided to use an empty one as a first aid kit in
the garage. Like berry vines, the idea grew.
Now, he uses
them to store crayons, markers, and craft supplies. “They’re ‘free’ (just the
cost of the strawberries), easily replaceable, and see-through,” Mansfield
says. “The kids can see exactly what they’re grabbing.” He finds they can hold
up for years. They’re stackable and strong enough, he says, to store batteries
and Matchbox cars.
“I even leave
the cars in the container, which has holes, and dunk the whole thing in a
bucket filled with a solution of water and bleach to disinfect them,” he says.
“Then I just tip them over to drain and dry.”
Old Suitcase Becomes ... Charging Station
deserve a nice home. With four kids ages 7 to 17, Brenda McDevitt was finding
chargers, tablets, cords, and cell phones all over her suburban Pittsburgh
home. She wanted a centrally located storage center and looked no further than
the perfect-sized container that happened to already be in her home: a vintage
suitcase she was using in a decorative display.
loved the look of them,” says McDevitt, who admits to collecting old suitcases
from mostly roadsides. “I’ve never paid for one, and I always have a couple of
suitcases laying around for things like magazine storage. Or I’ll put them
under a bench or on top of a cabinet.”
this vintage case with a cheery fabric to make the inside of the charging
station as chic as the outside. She then drilled some holes in the back for the
cords to exit and left a power cord inside so everyone can plug in their
devices out of sight.
Plastic Magazine Racks Become ... Freezer Organizers
has ever had something fall out of the freezer onto his toes knows the dangers
of rifling through bags of frozen vegetables, packages of meat, breads, and
leftovers. The fix is so simple — plastic magazine racks. (If you don’t have
some lying around, you can find them at an office supply store for $6 or less.)
Slide them in your fridge and fill them up. Your toes will thank you.
Window Frame Becomes ... Hanging Bathroom Storage
Who says a
window can’t be a door? Erica Hebel wanted to create a rustic-looking storage
cupboard for her “itty bitty powder room that is ridiculously shaped and hard
to get into” in suburban Chicago. She began with a $3 wood window purchased at
a barn sale. “A bit worn, but that adds to its character,” she says.
the wood and the glass panes. Then she built a cabinet box with three pine
boards for shelves, plywood for the back, and a few small hinges using a brad
nailer, a stud detector, and a Kreg jig.
Stool Becomes ... Gift Wrap Organizer
cardboard box housing Sarah Ramberg’s wrapping paper finally gave out, she
remembered a photo she had seen of an upside-down stool used to corral fabric
bolts. That led her to an idea.
Greenville, S.C., “biologist by day” spray-painted an old stool, slathered on a
coat of sealant, and put four casters on the seat so she can “wrap and roll
from room to room.” Ramberg cut a “crazy print” thrift store pillow case in
half to create catch-all pouches to attach to the side. “It’s a ‘low sew’
project,” she says. And low-cost, too: The stool was from a Habitat for Humanity
ReStore, and four swivel casters cost as little as $6.
Filing Cabinet Becomes ... Garage Workbench
Fuller of Midlothian, Va., got a chain saw for Mother’s Day. Where to put it?
When she saw how expensive a new tool storage solution would be to buy, she
thought of an old lateral filing cabinet stuffed with junk sitting in her
spray-painted the cabinet with grey Rust-Oleum and made two rectangles in
chalkboard spray paint for drawer labels. Then, she put inexpensive wheels on
the bottom. The top is a laminated countertop a neighbor had thrown away.
Fuller attached it with SPAX multi-material screws. Total cost of the project:
Kitchen Cabinets Become ... Dining Room Storage
unwanted oak kitchen cabinets plus old fence wood could equal a built-in dining
room buffet? Pulled from a kitchen Connie Harper’s husband was helping a friend
remodel, the cabinets fit perfectly along the wall in the Harpers’ Tyler,
Texas, dining room.
were in good condition, so the Harpers lightly sanded the doors, painted the
interior and exterior with white satin paint, and bought new, bronze-finished
metal hardware and hinges. The top is old pine fence board from a fence they’d
taken down. They laid the pieces side by side, sanded them lightly, and sealed
the top with a coat of polyurethane.
“It gives me
satisfaction to see something that’s headed to the dumpster, bring it home, and
give it new life,” Harper says. The project took about two days and cost $25
for the hardware.
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