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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shop Your Own Stuff – Storage and Organizing Potential

If you read the previous post in this series, you will remember that I’ve been challenging us to “shop our own stuff” more instead of buying something every time we have a need, or imagine that we do.  These suggestions are things that I’d already done, but they show the possibilities.


Repurposing things has been a habit in my family for years.  My dad was especially proficient at it.  I still remember his overhead storage area for screws, nails, washers and various small bits.  He took a lot of baby food jars (which were available in our home at that time) and screwed the lids to a board, leaving enough room to grab the jars.  Then he attached the board to the ceiling of our pantry/storage area, filled the jars with the small items and screwed them to the lids.  If you needed something in that line, all you had to do was look up and you could quickly see which jar you needed, unscrew it and retrieve you items.  It was a clever storage solution, and out of reach of little hands. :-)

Mugs make great pen and pencil holders. We have more mugs than we need, so I have several serving this purpose now. They not only keep things in one spot, they have a built-in, easy relocation system. If you are concerned about sharp or heavy objects (such as scissors) hitting the bottom and breaking the mug, simply trace the bottom of the mug onto one or two pieces of craft foam or cardboard. Cut inside the lines, then trim the circles down to fit the bottom of the mug to reduce the risk of breakage.

By the way, this is something that was a result of the “Get Rid of Fifty Things” challenge.  Not only did I get a mug out of our crowded cupboard, but I also got rid of a tin can that I had long been intending to cover with fabric or contact paper.  The mug looks nice, and using it saved me from covering the can – so I abandoned an unnecessary project too. :-)

An extra large Altoids® tin makes a great holder for paper and pencils in the game drawer.  You could repurpose some other type candy box.

(A good idea if you live where there are spiders or scorpions – keep garden gloves in a sealed plastic bag or jar. That way when you go to put them on you can be sure they are critter-free.)

Plastic containers (a lot of these came from peanuts and pretzels purchased in bulk), can be repurposed for organizing and storage instead of buying a lot of “perfect” boxes ($$$) like the professional decorators/organizers do. In certain situations I do buy containers because this method wouldn’t work, but in the above situations it was fine.

An old suitcase or trunk, with or without a coat of paint, can serve as decorative storage, or even a coffee table. We use an old trunk of my grandparents’ as our coffee table/foot-rest/sometimes-seat and it also stores most of our games and puzzles.  My brother and sister-in-law did the same thing with a newer trunk of theirs (pictured above).  The great thing about this is you don’t have to worry about bangs and bumps from the kiddoes’ toys or adults’ shoes because it’s already “rustic”. ;-)

I bought this popcorn tin on clearance, but you may have one left from a holiday gift.  I use mine to store the garbage bags right next to the kitchen bin so it’s quick and easy to reline it, but looks nice at the same time.  It would work well for other storage purposes also – maybe cookie cutters or canning supplies.

You can also reuse tins like this to make gift “baskets” or to pass on food gifts to others.  Just be sure to put the food in food safe bags or containers.

Hopefully this gives you some more ideas of ways to shop your own things.  I hope you enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to be inventive with me. :-)

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