When you feel like clutter is taking over your home, it's temping to run out and buy plastic bins and storage systems for your organizing projects. Unfortunately, these products are often made from petroleum (a non-renewable resource), may not be recyclable, and can be pricey. Instead, why not try using the containers you already have on hand, or getting new ones made from recycled materials? Look for the following items — some might even be in your recycling bin — to store everything from makeup to computer cables:
- Egg cartons or old ice cube trays are ideal for storing earrings, buttons, paper clips, thumbtacks, nails, or stamps inside a drawer. Baby food jars or metal mint tins can also hold knickknacks like AA batteries, safety pins, hairpins, rubber bands, or matches.
- Glass jars or small drinking glasses are perfect for sorting q-tips, cotton balls, makeup brushes, lipsticks, or emery boards in a medicine cabinet. Vintage bowls and saucers make great holders for soaps.
- An old metal wine rack or wooden wine crates can also be repurposed for bathroom storage and used to hold rolled up towels, shampoo bottles, and other supplies.
- Stash greeting cards, photos, computer games, DVDs, or CDs in shoeboxes. Shoeboxes also make good drawer dividers.
- Old ceramic flowerpots make decorative holders for hairbrushes, kitchen utensils, pens and pencils, loose change, or craft supplies like rulers and scissors.
- An over-the-door hanging shoe organizer can be used to store computer cables, power adapters, and other gizmos in your home office, art supplies in your craft room, or hats and gloves in your hall closet.
- Baskets of all sizes are amazingly versatile — use them to hold toys, mail, remote controls, cleaning supplies, or as even recycling bins.
- Drawers salvaged from an old dresser can be painted and converted into a customized modular storage unit.
- When you are shopping for new containers, look for ones made from recycled materials. There are many baskets made from unique materials — keep an eye out for baskets made from (for example) repurposed newspaper, discarded plastic food wrappers, reclaimed wine barrels, and even the scrap foam rubber from flip-flop factories. They all make stylish catch-alls, and some are big enough to even hold newspapers or firewood. However you use them, they will definitely give new life to materials that would otherwise be trash.
- Best of all are organizing products that can be easily recycled, like magazine files and storage boxes made from 100% post-consumer recycled fiberboard, which can eventually be recycled right along with your household paper.
Americans spent $7.2 billion on home organization products in 2008, according to a study by The Freedonia Group, a business research firm.
Can you recommend ways to repurpose containers you already own or storage products made from recycled materials? Share them with us by commenting below.