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Use frugal storage solutions

By on May 22, 2010
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Warm weather motivates many of us to clean and organize. Storage containers can be expensive. While some can be well worth the cost (large Rubbermaid totes come to mind), others can be replaced with containers you already own or can acquire for free, such as baskets, boxes or a file cabinet. Ideally, you don’t want to run to the store and buy containers to organize all of your clutter. You want to purge what you can first, find a storage area for it, look for solutions around your home to help keep things tidy and accessible and then organize it. You might not even need to buy any storage containers. And if you do need to buy containers, you can cross-check free or secondhand sources before buying at a retail store. Or wait for seasonal clearance sales.
What types of frugal storage containers do you currently use?

Here are a few containers you can reuse rather than shell out for new containers.


They’re sturdy and stackable. They’re perfect for storing craft and office supplies, miscellaneous kitchen/pantry items, coupons, greeting cards, receipts, small toys or odds and ends in the garage. Or store health and beauty kits and accessories, such as trial-sized soaps and shampoos, free samples, toothpaste, toothbrushes and razors. Or use one for over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, cough medicines and vitamins.


Much like baby-wipes containers, these can be reused and stacked easily.

They come in larger sizes, so they can fit larger items such as jar spices, artwork, magazines, DVDs, CDs, cords, bills, school supplies or photos. They’re easy to label, and the outside can be covered with Contac paper or painted to be more appealing and decorative.


An advantage to reusing jars is that they’re clear and you can see at a glance what you have stored inside. This makes them wonderful to use for arts-and-crafts supplies and food items.
They double as a decorative storage container, but, of course, the downside is that they’re breakable.


Use them to organize small items such as golf balls, jewelry, craft supplies, baby socks, seeds, rubber bands, loose change, garden seeds, etc. Along the same lines, ice cube trays can be used for similar items. These fit nicely in drawers.


Plastic freezer bags and large plastic comforter bags have the advantage of being clear, waterproof and flexible. You can squeeze the air out of them and fit quite a bit in a small amount of space. They’re nice for storing assorted items such as costumes, recipe cards, game pieces, puzzles, clothing, activity kits for kids, craft projects, etc.


They work well for planting, and organizing washcloths, books, various tools and pantry items. They make nice gift containers, too.


Whether it’s plastic or ceramic, pots are useful containers for storing items that don’t need to be covered, such as pens, markers, combs, toothbrushes, hairbrushes or cosmetics.

Looking for larger storage space? Rent cargo storage containers instead.

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