People spend a lot of money on various sorts of storage containers. Walk through any Wal-Mart or Target and you are confronted with an array of storage containers for everything from food to clothes. There are big containers and small ones in materials ranging from plastic to wicker. They are nice, but the price of storage can quickly add up. If you’re creative or a little crafty, though, you can satisfy many of your storage needs with many free options.
Sandwich meat tubs: Several brands of sandwich meat are now sold in plastic tubs. These are great storage containers and they’re just like some of the ones sold in stores. You can use them for leftovers or small items. Deli containers also work well.
Old kitchen ware: Do you have some old Tupperware (or other plastic containers) lying around your kitchen that you rarely use? Maybe you’ve stopped using it because it’s old and breaking down, it’s cracked, or the lid no longer seals well. This makes it unsuitable for food storage, but what about other uses? You can use this old plastic to organize drawers or cabinets, to hold toys with tiny pieces like Legos, or to corral small items on your desk.
Jars: Glass jars are great storage containers. Clean them out well and you can use them to store dry goods, cookies, and many other food items. You can also use them to store other household items, or turn them into things like pencil holders or vases. If you belong to a warehouse club you can score some huge jars when you buy your pickles or mayonnaise. Plastic jars work just as well for storage, although you might not want to store food in them since the plastic will break down after a while and is harder to clean out.
Boxes: They aren’t always attractive, but for storing things in places people don’t see, boxes are wonderful. If you order a lot of items online, you probably get tons of boxes in a year. I keep some of mine and use them for storing things in closets, under the bed, or in the attic. For small items like Christmas ornaments, I take small boxes and cut them to make inserts for the larger boxes. This keeps the small items from knocking around. If you’re really crafty, you can decorate boxes and make them pretty enough for public view. Old shoe boxes, nicely decorated, make good storage options for photos, DVD’s or CD’s.
Baskets: Not a holiday goes by that I don’t receive a gift basket of some type. I keep the baskets and use them for pretty storage around the house. A large basket I received with housewarming presents now holds TV pillows and a blanket in the living room. Several smaller baskets sit under the coffee table and hold remotes, DVD’s and games. Tiny baskets hold small shampoos and soaps in the bathrooms. If your basket is plain, you can decorate it with ribbon or paint to dress it up.
If you do need to buy storage containers, you can save a lot of money if you aren’t picky about the designs. Many containers are made with holiday themes and colors (think Halloween and Christmas). If you can live with using a themed storage container for everyday use, you can save big money when the holiday items go on sale for fifty or seventy-five percent off.
Of course one of the best ways to save money on storage is to simply buy less stuff to store. The less you have, the less storage you need. But if you do need to store things, there are quite a few free options if you’re willing to re-use some of what you already have.