Stop Buying Storage Containers: Strange Ways to Save Money

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.

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5 Responses to Stop Buying Storage Containers: Strange Ways to Save Money

  1. PrincessPerky says:

    I have been begging everyone I know for printer paper cases.

    they are all relatively uniform in size and just about perfect fit for the top of the kids closets. One or two boxes hold each size of hand me downs, easy to find the stuff, and looks half decent.
    I find a mishmash of different sized boxes looks bad no matter how organized the insides might be.

    When I do use different sized boxes, I like to get contact paper to cover them all in a coordinating color. costs about as much as one or two boxes to cover a whole shelf.

  2. TD says:

    I get plenty of use out of Rubbermaid, Pyrex, and Corningware containers I own.
    Issue I find sometimes is that companies not longer make the containers I like when I’m in search of replacement. Rubbermaid used to make some awesome 2.2cup containers, back in 2005-2006.

  3. Joan says:

    Our apartment had little storage space. Our extra bedding was placed in a banana box covered with “contact paper” (plastic). After we’d been in our roomier house a couple years, I was ready to throw away the banana box, but a neighbor asked for it. When she died her relatives inherited the house. Last summer I was in their house and was amused to see that banana box is still around, still being used for storage of soft goods. That cardboard box is 19 years old and still on the job.

  4. Wayward says:

    Great ideas! Regarding the holiday themed storage containers, if you don’t want to use Halloween (or other holiday-themed items) year round, try painting the container. I’ve done this a couple of times using leftover paint from our walls and now I don’t cringe in January every time I look at my 4th or July bargain baskets!

  5. Diana says:

    I have used cereal boxes to store magazines. Just cut them up like the ones you buy. You can cover them if you want to match your decor.

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