Versatile Uses for 6 Essential Storage Items
Repurpose these six iconic products and you’ll be thinking outside the box, for less.
Bathroom: Hang over a door and fill with combs, brushes, hair spray, antiseptic spray, and bandages.
Car: Place over the front seat and stow toys, games, pens, and snacks.
Entry closet: Store gloves, mittens, scarves, and hats in winter; in summer, stuff with flip-flops, sunscreen, and bug spray.
Utility closet: Use to stash vacuum attachments, extension cords, cleaning supplies, and dust rags.
Nursery: Fill with clothes, diapers, shoes, and infant-care supplies.
Basement/garage: Stow spray-paint cans, tubes of caulk, paintbrushes, rollers, and pints of paint.
Closet: Round up phones, iPods, cameras, cords, and chargers.
Bedroom: Free up a drawer. Use the hanging bag for socks and underwear.
Clear plastic boxes: These handy boxes—some with adjustable dividers—have up to 24 compartments. globalindustrial.com sells the largest size in lots of five for $31.50 plus shipping.
Office: Stash paper clips, rubber bands, and adhesive notes.
Child’s room: Stow Barbie’s accessories in one place.
Crafts: Buttons, beads, glue sticks, needles, thread, and other supplies stay handy and portable.
Office: Professional organizer Donna Smallin likes these for stowing tax returns—records you must keep but don’t access often.
Recycling: These bins make a trip to the recycling center even easier.
Moving: Many moving companies get several dollars for a cardboard box—and that’s not counting the tape or time it takes to construct one. The bins are sturdier and can survive a flood in the basement.
Clear plastic shoe boxes
My friend Sharon Danzger, a personal organizer, buys these by the case (of 20) at The Container Store, so the price for the ladies’ shoe box drops from $1.79 each to $1.49.
Bedroom: Stow rolled-up belts and your scarves, panty hose, and socks.
Office: Donna Smallin files all her incoming bills in one, along with a calculator, her checkbook, a pen,
envelopes, and stamps.
Medicine cabinet: Georgene Lockwood, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organizing Your Life,
assembles a “cold kit,” with everything needed to treat a cold or flu.
Refrigerator: Organize bottles and jars on fridge shelves.
Front door: Keep one by the door for library books.
Living room: Use one to carry in your firewood from the woodpile.
Closet: The medium-size carrier corrals cleaning supplies and lets you cart them from room to room.
Ziploc bags : After using these for years in the kitchen, I found the large (three gallons), extra-large (ten gallons), and extra-extra-large (20 gallons) sizes, with handles and zippers (about $6 to $10 for five large, four extra-large, or three extra-extra-large).
Gym: Keep sweaty clothes separate from other items in your gym bag.
Garage: Put beach towels and toys in an extra-large bag now, and you’ll know where to find them next June.