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Turn Old and Unconventional Items into New Storage

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Let’s face it; all of us need a storage solution as some point. Over the years, there has been hundreds of TV shows and articles I’ve seen, not to mention the searches I’ve done, on organization and storage solutions. I noticed the trend for most of the publications seemed to focus on large homes, closets, garages, etc. What about storage solutions for small and average homes that are commonplace among the population?

Don’t get me wrong. I have lots of store-bought storage containers, but buying them is not always budget friendly or the right solution. Have you thought about what you already have? You might be surprised at what you come up with if you truly start thinking “outside the storage box.”

Below several storage solutions, some of which I use on a daily basis to help combat the clutter and basic disorder of life. Keep in mind that you can decorate and embellish any of these items to fit your décor and needs.

Living Room

Pet toys lying all around – A cardboard box with a low (product viewing) front does the trick. It’s easy for your pet to get the toy he/she wants, and it’s FREE!


Wood for the fireplace is messy – Use a pet crate (any size) for storage. You can attach small buckets on the sides with zip ties to hold matches, tender, fire starters, etc.


Pot lids missing or scattered all over the cabinet or kitchen. – Use an old, small wire dish drainer to keep the lids together and organized. No more searching when you are cooking and in a hurry.


MYO Recipe needs permanent home. – A 1-gallon condiment or pickle container is the perfect fix – not to mention it is basically FREE! Decorate the container as you wish for easy identification.


Need to store bulk dry goods (flour, sugar, etc.) – Use a 5-gallon bucket, BUT make sure it is food approved! You can usually get these anywhere from FREE to just a couple of dollars from a local bakery or deli.

Need an easy way to sprinkle powdered sugar. – You can use an old spice or cheese shaker container.

Measuring cups and spoons go MIA in the drawer. – The basket from a fruit basket gift is my go to solution. This basket has its own place that is easily accessible from my cooking station.


Baking papers getting squished and ruined. – Store them in a plastic ice cream container or your cupcake carrier.


No room in the regular refrigerator for bulk liquid items. – No problem! Store a portion of the item in an empty powder or liquid creamer container and label the container. Store the remaining portion in the extra fridge or the freezer (if applicable).

Packets – gravy, muffins, biscuit, taco seasoning, etc. – all over my cabinet. – A shoebox will fix this problem. It is easy to remove the box from the cabinet, check for contents, and replace.

Making your own shredded cheese saves money, but are you throwing those savings away when you throw away the zip-top bag you store it in? – Use the plastic container your shortening or coffee may have come in. These containers also make great containers for freezing family size soup and chili leftovers. If odors from the original contents seem to be a problem, add 2 Tbsp. baking soda and warm water to container and let sit for 15 minutes. Wash and dry thoroughly before using.


Can’t find your small canning equipment, seals, and rings. – Store them inside your canner. You will always know where to find them, and they aren’t taking up any space in your kitchen drawers & cabinets.

Potholders and trivets scattered all over the kitchen. – Attach hooks to the side of your refrigerator (magnetic or tape kind) or small screw-in-type hooks to the back underside of your upper cabinets.

Where to put the produce that doesn’t go in the refrigerator so it’s used, eaten, and out of the way. – Use a hanging planter (the coconut mat kind) or a large basket you can add chain or rope to and hang it. Add a towel to the bottom so the produce will be able to breath and last longer.


Keep losing your family and clipped recipes? – Use either a 5-subject spiral bound or 3-ring binder notebook. Label the sections (Ex. Appetizers & Beverages, Meats & Mains, Veggies & Sides, Goodies, Other Good Stuff) and use the first 2 pages of each section for your table of contents. Number your pages and write, tape, or staple your recipes on the pages. Write the recipe name and page number in the table of contents at the beginning of that section.


The shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and body washes are creating havoc in my shower. – A mesh hanging shoe organizer is the trick. The mesh will allow the items to drain/dry, and you can throw it in the washing machine on laundry day. Just use the removable tape-type hooks to hang.


Make-up is making a disaster of my dresser or dressing table. – Old desk organizers and kitchen utensil trays are great for tidying up these spots. You can also use old muffin tins that have been spray painted.


Switching out Summer and Winter clothes. – Use your large suitcases – you know the ones that get used only once every few years – and store them under your bed.


Messy desk drawer. – Spray paint an old muffin pan and fill with all the little things floating around the drawer.


Outdoor Fun

Picnic and outdoor entertaining supplies. – We love eating outdoors, but honestly, packing up all the stuff you need and hauling it is a pain. Use a long basket and a cardboard 6- pack package to organize your entire picnic needs in one spot.


Going camping, backpacking, or picnicking and need to take your spices with you? – Pack your spices in a divided pillbox and add a label to each section identifying the contents.


Need storage for multiple small items (beads, cake decorating, buttons, etc.). – Use an old tackle box (especially the kind that have divided storage boxes – I found mine at a yard sale for $3). If using for food, be sure to run it through the dishwasher using the sanitizing option. Another option is to use an old spice rack.


Going grocery shopping and your bags are never in one place. – Store your shopping bags inside a small, rolling cooler. Take both with you for food safety and easy unloading when you return.

Too many blankets, sheets, pillows, etc. that are taking up needed closet space. -Buy (at a yard sale or flea market) or make your own beanbag-type chair covering and fill with the blankets, sheets, pillows, etc. as the stuffing. You can use an old sheet or soft blanket to make the beanbag-type cover.

Rolls of paper gone awry. – I use my crock, but another great fix is to use a 5-gallon bucket, plus it’s usually FREE!


Large amount of pet food needs to be stored in small area. – If you don’t have room for a metal trashcan with a lid, you can use a wrapping paper container. These containers are tall, slim, and have a lid.

Emergency stuff rolls all around trunk of car or back of SUV and makes a mess. – Find a plastic milk crate or cardboard milk box (the ones that hold 4 gallons) and place it in your vehicle.

Mail and message center needed. – A small dish drainer is perfect for the task. You can create files for each person or individual topics (Warranties, Insurance, etc.). Add pens, pencils, scissors, etc. to the utensil holder.

Garage and Shed

Nails, screws, thumbtacks, hooks, etc. – A door-style shoe organizer – the plastic type so the items are easily recognizable and can’t fall out.

Yard tools taking over your shed? – Pick up a cheap, overly used golf bag for those implements.

What are your favorite repurposed storage ideas?

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14 thoughts on “Turn Old and Unconventional Items into New Storage”

    • :jar: Love these ideas

      Thank you Awesome5.

      guess I need to start saving the Gallon ice cream tubs I keep throwing away. Great ideas, thanks!

      fosterfamily5 – Thank you. I also use the gallon ice cream tubs for my cleaning solution/water when I do a deep clean of the house, wash the car, and whenever we need to paint something.

      I keep two that are specifically used for pet food and water when we travel by car.

  1. i just bought some plastic magazine holders from the thrift store and fastened them inside my cabinet doors for small boxes, sauce pouches, things that tend to get lost in the back of the pantry. they dont take up any extra room.

    reuse the gallon ice cream tubs for cleaning buckets.

    recycle junk mail and old papers to line critter cages. in the winter i shred it for the horse stalls instead of buying shavings.

    reuse clear plastic tubs from snack mixes for bulk items like nuts, vege chips, and seeds for the parrot. they line my window sill and look great.

    i re-use valentine chocolate containers for jewelry. the nice plastic ones with gold inserts and fancy velvet. keeps everything from getting tangled up like in my regular jewelry box.

    reuse large dog food bags for trash bags and recycle bag for plastics, ect.

    reuse a beautiful vase for your toilet bush.

    use a beautiful bottle (a small liquor bottle) on the counter for dish soap.

    my mom uses postal boxes. big one for dog toys and storage, small ones for organizing all their meds.

  2. MsDebbie,

    Those are great ideas. I especially like the magazine holder idea – to help get that mess off the shelf & out of the way.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. i keep these things knowing i will have a use for them…now i do..great idea’s! i use empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls for extension cords and cables. they don’t get tangled up when i put them in large shoe box.

    when i need on, i can look on the roll to see if it is a “long” or “short” cord.

    • I keep these things knowing I will have a use for them…now I do..Great Idea’s! I use empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls for extension cords and cables. They don’t get tangled up when I put them in large shoe box.

      When I need on, I can look on the roll to see if it is a “long” or “short” cord.

      KimCM – I love the extension cord idea! Thanks for the tip!

  4. i saw 2 posts on Facebook that had shower rod or pressure rod organizing…..

    1.) Put shower rod in over bathtub and use it to attach wire baskets to to hold stuff for the people who use the shower/bath – kids toys, loofah sponges, etc.

    2.) Put pressure curtain rod under sink to hold spray bottles ( IE: windex, 409, lysol, etc) freeing up the floor space for other storage needs.

    Incidentally with empty toilet paper rolls you can use them to grow seedlings that you just plant into the ground. Take an empty toilet paper rolls and cut it in thirds with each third cut four slits almost half way up then fold them under like boxes that keep themselves closed by overlapping the strips. Keep them gathered together in an empty egg cartons and fill with potting soil and vermiculite with a sprinkle of food safe miracle grow and water as usual they can be taken to the garden and planted as is the toilet paper roll returns to the earth and helps retain moisture to boot.

    cool, huh? :mornincoffee::jar::jar:

  5. luanna – these are all great ideas.

    i have actually used the curtain rod in the bath before, but i don’t recall ever seeing or hearing about using it for spray bottles – hmmmm, may have to try that one, soon!

    i love using toilet paper cores to start seedlings. they hold up pretty well during all that watering that is needed to germinate the seeds. i haven’t put them in egg cartons – i usually use those as seed starters as well.

    i put my toilet paper rolls in an old baking pan i no longer use for cooking.

    • luanna – these are all great ideas.

      i have actually used the curtain rod in the bath before, but i don’t recall ever seeing or hearing about using it for spray bottles – hmmmm, may have to try that one, soon!

      i love using toilet paper cores to start seedlings. they hold up pretty well during all that watering that is needed to germinate the seeds. i haven’t put them in egg cartons – i usually use those as seed starters as well.

      i put my toilet paper rolls in an old baking pan i no longer use for cooking.

      used muffin tins work as well. using 1/2 the roll and filling it 1/3 full for the seedlings will help keep unwanted larva from certain moths from getting to it. Just plant it to the top of the soil in the roll.

  6. i bought a few things from a dollar store to arrange my pantry. the baskets sure help. the best was using short larger baskets in the refrigerator.

    so much easier to take out one basket to clean and if anything spills, it doesn’t leak to the other shelves. lots of containers at the dollar store and i can afford a few of those now and then.

  7. i use ice cream containers for left over soup and small pet food containers. a five lb bag of critter food fits perfect. has a handle for carring and can stack for ease.

    i have also used the container for freezing my soup, only keep a soup in the freezer about a month. if longer i seal in a freezer bag placed inside the container, so my bag doesn’t get ripped when teenagers are looking for real icecream.

  8. Love these idea’s. I wish I could get my sister to organize. There is stuff everywhere!!!!!

    It doesn’t help that I have OCD tendencies


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