Storage New Uses for Old Things
File organizer as dish dryer? Check out dozens of clever tricks.
To create a protective case for a saw, use the saw to shorten a pool noodle to the length of the blade, then slice a slit to the hollow core.
It's a cinch to keep belts organized and visible: Coil them into spirals and stack them on top of one another in a large clear vase. (Put favorite belts at the top for easy access.)
Sending Grandpa a shot of the all-star soccer team but don't want the postal journey to bend it (like Beckham)? Sandwich the picture between the large panels of a flattened box.
Bangles bulging out of your jewelry box? Slip them over a candlestick and let them accessorize your dresser.
Fill an antique gravy boat with a bar of soap to transform it into an elegant soap dish.
Prevent good china from chipping by layering paper plates between each piece of your formal dinnerware.
Fill that (clean!) old ashtray with soy sauce instead. The notches make a handy resting spot for chopsticks between bites of spicy tuna.
Slide empty toilet paper tubes over wrapping paper to keep it from unraveling.
Pack small amounts of your favorite spice (red pepper flakes, anyone?) in old Tic Tac boxes, to season food on-the-go.
Roll up pairs of stockings or leggings and wrap hair ties around them to keep the rolls from unraveling. It will be easier to find a specific pair on mornings when you're, well, tight on time.
One of the most popular kitchen tools also happens to double as a clean-up aid. Before draining the tub, use a colander to make scooping up small toys fun and easy.
With the cameras flashing and all eyes on you, there’s a lot of pressure to look your very best. Stash extra makeup—think lip gloss and concealer—in an empty glasses case and tuck in your purse for quick touch up’s throughout the day.
Kids can see inside the glass jars to find what they’re looking for, from crayons to pompoms. Leave off the lids for extra long supplies, like pipe cleaners or colored pencils.
Turn a tangle of ribbons into a neat presentation. Hang coordinating colors over the prongs of a tie hanger.
Use extra paper party hats to corral candy on a display table—or fill them with popcorn to hand out to kids.
To prevent balls of yarn from tangling, string the end of each through a colander hole.
More lovely to look at than the branded box from the store, but it still slides easily into the pantry for storage.
Keep extra travel-sized toothpaste, shampoo, cotton balls and other personal items in an old suitcase. With a trunk full of toiletries, you'll never run out of necessities. Plus, you'll save valuable shelf space for the things you use every day.
Put medications in a locked cosmetic case for an easy way to keep curious kids away from poking around the medicine cabinet.
Hook extra dish towels and pot holders on a belt hanger for easy retrieval.
Don't ditch excess confetti or shredded paper. Use it to cushion breakable items so they arrive in one piece.
Fall for new shoes, not in them. Rub medium-grit sandpaper over the bottoms to give slippery soles some traction.
Toting more than one bottle to a party? Slip a wristband over one to prevent banging or breaking.
Store chargers, power cords, and extra headphones in the clear pouches of a hanging jewelry organizer. You'll be able to find exactly what you're looking for and packing your tech is that much easier. Submitted by: jloper
Roll pool towels and store them vertically, so your kids can grab one before taking a swim.
Keep kitchen twine from tangling and jamming your drawers by using a glass sugar dispenser as a spool. Simply place the twine in the jar and thread through the open hole.
Use paper clips to keep wrapping paper from unraveling.
Avoid decorating mistakes. Tuck fabric, wallpaper, and paint swatches inside so you can ensure a perfect match.
Prioritize bills and mail in a rack positioned flat on a desk or countertop.
Help a purse or boots to keep its shape with tissue stuffed inside.
Don’t let your yarn get crossed. Use an empty baby wipes container to keep yarn clean and tangle-free.
Don't trash that plastic Easter grass (but do keep it away from your pets; it can be dangerous if consumed). Use it as packing materials for delicate items—so you won’t need to worry whether Uncle Bob's favorite Chianti will make it to his wine cellar unscathed.
Curb countertop clutter. Drop keys and bills on the stand instead.
For tangle-free jewelry during your travels, unclasp the chain, thread it through a plastic drinking straw, and reclasp. For a shorter chain, cut the drinking straw to the desired length.
Store your hairdryer in an ice bucket to add a decorative touch to your bathroom and keep the counter tidy.
Show off. Display small photos and mementos, which look more important on a platform.
Organize coloring books in the main basket and corral crayons, pencils, and markers in the silverware holder.
Stash supplies for scrapbooking, knitting, or sewing in one of these sturdy, transparent pouches so all of your materials and tools are in one place.
Store delicate tree decor where the fruit once went to protect items from bumps and bruises. (You can also use wine boxes or egg cartons.)
Store sets of napkins clipped together and they’ll always be ready to set the scene at dinnertime. You'll restore order to your linen closet and save minutes searching for elusive matching colors.
Reduce handbag clutter by catalogging the family’s club cards and gift cards according to store name. Your back will thank you for toting a lighter wallet around.
When you’re on the go, leave the bulky pill bottles in the medicine cabinet and place only what you need in a plastic bag. You can keep your daily dose all buttoned up.
Neatly coil the cords of your small, tangle-prone cables and earbuds and tuck them into the empty plastic holder. If you have several, label each case with a sticker for clear identification. It'll be the end of crossed wires.
For a handle you can comfortably handle: Snip off a section of an old garden hose, make a slit down its length, and put it over a skinny bucket wire.
Catch the sticky stuff from bottles and jars in cupboards. No more shelves that require a full wipe-down after every spoonful of honey, slather of jam, or glug of olive oil.
Store your best-loved (and most frequently worn) necklaces and bracelets within easy reach on a wall-mounted coat rack. Bonus: they'll stay tangle-free when not decorating your neck.
Sort cookie sheets, cutting boards, and jelly-roll pans in the kitchen for easy access (and no more cymbal-crashing sounds) in an overstuffed cabinet.
Hang a clipboard on the wall (or inside a cabinet) to clamp down on place mats—and that old “I can’t find them!” excuse from the person setting the table.
Give Easter eggs a year-round use (and save on resealable bags) by filling them with snacks like crackers or Cheerios.
An unused glasses case makes a convenient storage spot for nail files, clippers and other manicure essentials while on the go.
Showcase your gold hoops, pearl drops, and chandeliers with this clever caddy. Here's how to make it:
- Step 1: Gather a wooden frame (without the backing and the glass), piano wire, small eyelet hooks (two for each wire), pliers, and a ruler.
- Step 2: Mark where you want each wire to hang. Screw in the eyelet hooks. Using the pliers, pull the wire taut and twist it around the hooks.
- Step 3: Hang your earrings from the wires. Either mount the display on a wall or place it on a dresser.
Stretch a rubber band around an opaque container. Each time you scoop out the flour or coffee, move the band down to mark the supply level. No need to lift the lid while making your grocery list—you can see how much is left in a snap.
Coil strings of holiday lights round and round for knot-free hall decking. Your reward: You won’t blow a fuse trying to hang next year’s light show.
Corral bathroom essentials in an eco-friendly (but still pretty) caddy.
Shield stacked china from scratches and nicks by layering a filter between each delicate piece.
Use a wooden crate to store extra towels in the spare bathroom, so guests don't have to go hunting for the linen closet.
If fabric-softener sheets make your clothes smell nice in the dryer, just think about what they could do in your dresser. Slip a few fresh ones between folded clothes.
Prevent your beloved volumes from acquiring a musty smell by inserting a fabric-softener sheet between the pages.
Create a support system and help strappy garments stay on hangers. Affix a circle to each end, and your sundresses will stay off the closet floor.
Unspool stamps by cutting a slit in the side of a film canister and threading the end of the roll throught it.
Fill a terra-cotta pot with builder's sand (sold at hardware stores), then stir in some mineral oil—just enough to dampen the sand. The mixture will clean the tools and prevent corrosion and rust. (If the pot has a hole on the bottom, cover it with duct tape.)
Free up some counter space by using a clip-on high chair as mail catchall. Great solution for rounding up keys and stashing mail and permission slips.
Always have your pencils and PTA notes (or toddler’s crayons and doodle paper) in the same spot: Just punch holes along the nonzippered edge of a sandwich bag, then click it into a three-ring binder.
Store game pieces, play money, or other priceless rainy-afternoon distractions.
Superglue the lid to the underside of a cabinet and gather bits and pieces—thumbtacks, say, or nails—into the jar itself. Then screw the jar into the lid to whisk clutter up, up, and away.
Those little boxes are so sturdy and tidy that you hate to throw them out, so don't. Instead, clip them together to create a neat divided storage area for pens and pencils, lipsticks, plastic flatware—whatever it is that clutters your drawer.
Keep shampoo from crossing unauthorized borders by packing toiletries in a sturdy lunch box in your luggage.
Safely deliver fragile trinkets by wrapping them in bubble wrap, tucking them into a clean carton, and pinching the top closed.
Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box.
Fold a packet inside the tin to keep tissues dry and intact in your purse or beach bag.
File frequently used business cards in a brag book (two will fit in each slot) for a purse-ready Rolodex.
Organize delicate jewelry by placing necklace chains, charms, and small earrings in individual vellum envelopes inside the box.
Contain rain-boot runoff by placing a tray near the entryway when wet weather descends.
Construct an outdoorsy coat rack. Use a polyuerthane-based glue (try Gorilla Glue) to attach rocks to old drawer knobs, then screw the knobs into a plank of wood and mount it on a wall at eye-level in an entryway.
Give unattractive filing cabinets the boot and store all bills and documents inside shoe boxes covered in decorative paper.
Trim off the edges of a shoe box lid and wrap string lights around the flat cardboard. Then slide the whole thing inside the box. This will keep lights untangled and tidy during the off-season.
Arrange gift wrapping supplies so you can easily locate bows, ribbons, scissors, and tape.
Organize the spice cabinet by transferring canisters to the pockets and mounting the holder inside the pantry.
Sort and hang scarves by threading them through rings hung on a closet rod.
Insert an empty one-liter plastic bottle into a tall boot to keep it from sagging, creasing, or toppling over. Bonus: Upright boots create space on your closet floor to fill as you please (hmm…more boots?).
Use these squat, clear-topped jars (sold at kitchen supply stores) to keep all those loose bits cluttering your desk drawer—stamps and Post-It notes, thumbtacks and rubber bands, safety pins and stickers—under control.
Rest your soles. Store shoes on the tiers of a stool in the closet.
Keep off season linens and other decorations in a suitcase when you're not traveling.
Contain plastic bags in a drawer or under the cabinet by stuffing them into an empty tube and pulling out as needed.
Help the remote from getting swallowed up in the couch cushions by adding Velcro to the device and on the side of the TV.
Roll several cloths and stack in the box in a guest bathroom so no one has to poke around in your cabinets hunting for them.
Preserve the shape of tall leather boots by placing a bottle into each one's shaft for reinforcement.
Roll up the most recent issues and slide into the spots usually reserved for your favorite reserves.
Dispense ribbon for wrapping gifts. Untwist the hanger—or pop out the cardboard-tube bottom of a hybrid hanger from the dry cleaner—and slide on spools for easy storage.
Keep track of your earrings while you hit the gym (or the spa). Place the studs through the holes on the watch strap and then attach their backs.
Fend off pressed powder by storing your purse compact in a securely zipped plastic bag.
Stockpile soup by pouring extra portions into baggies, then laying them flat in the freezer. Once hardened, you can stack them up and save them for a rainy day.
Cushion precious cargo in a box. Before closing it all the way, slide a straw into the top, and inflate. Then remove the straw and completely seal the protective bubble.
Dispense yarn or twine at a craft station by placing the spool inside the funnel and pulling the end through the hole.
Gather loose bolts and nails in the garage by sticking them to a length of tape and layering another piece of tape on top.
Preserve family-size packages of snack foods. Painter's tape is best because it allows you to seal and reseal a cereal or chip bag without losing its tack.
Ward off wrinkles in silk scarves by wrapping them around the tube between wearings.