Stylish storage doesn’t have to come from a store. Items found in your attic (or at flea markets) can be repurposed to help cut the clutter. Here are 20 clever ideas to help inspire you to organize now, starting with these wall-mounted mail organizers made from recycled metal grates.
Messages, keys, cards and school reminders all find a convenient place to be displayed in this recycled wood shutter organizer. Envelopes and cards tuck neatly into the slots, and clothespins help secure photos, art, and assorted paraphernalia. Best of all, it makes great use of narrow wall space. For more shutter uses, check out 5 Things to do With...Wood Shutters.
Magazines and books are great but keeping them over time can pose a storage problem. The solution? Stack 'em. Take a nylon strap with an alligator clip (available online) or repurpose an unused belt; the magazine stacks become useful stools or side tables. To add more books or retrieve one, simply unclip the belt.
On the Rocks
If you have spare ice cube trays, don't throw them away! Instead, use them to easily and instantly de-clutter a desk, craft room, or tool box. Perfectly pre-shaped forms keep paper clips, erasers, staples, push-pins, rogue buttons and nails neat and organized.
Sleep on It
Turning an unused mattress spring into a stylish idea board is an ingenious way to give it new purpose. The graphic nature of the spring construction and abundance of wires makes it ideal for affixing note cards, photos, memorabilia and even tools. Simply stand it on end, lean it against the wall, and start pinning.
An old rake gets new life as a streamlined jewelry organizer—with room for all your necklaces, bracelets, and a scarf or two if you like. Wash and scrub the rake before putting it to use, then simply hang it from a nail on the wall. All your accessories are now fashionably displayed and fabulously accessible.
Wooden crates are readily available at flea markets, garage sales, and wine stores. Stack a couple together using screws and "L" brackets from the hardware store and you have an instant and interesting bookcase or storage tower. Add some castor wheels to the bottom and it just became your very own mobile storage unit.
Vintage letterpress trays make great collectible displays with all their various nooks and crannies, but they also provide useful organization for small and varied items like spools of thread and jewelry. Lay it flat and it becomes the perfect desk caddy with cubbies for pens, pencils, clips, tapes and more.
No Luggage Fee
Luggage takes up tons of room and is inevitably stored in hard-to-reach places. Relinquish it from the back of the closet or attic and place it front and center. Stack a few on top of each other to make a bedside table or add some furniture legs from a hardware store to elevate it to the next level. Best of all, you can store things from linens to seasonal clothes inside.
Under the Sink
A simple $2 tension rod can do more than just hold up draperies. Put it to use under the sink as a hanging rod for spray bottles, freeing up cabinet space for other items. Be sure to use a heavy-duty rod and secure it tightly. You can do the same by permanently installing a wood dowel inside the cabinet.
jengrantmorris via Photobucket
Every year, the kids want a new lunchbox, so what to do with last year’s? Repurpose them into clever, collectible storage units that can hold everything from chargers and camera accessories to journals and instructional manuals. Place an indiscrete label on the side so you’ll know what's inside, then put them on display—or away.
This repurposed sink drainer offers clever storage for the home office. Perfectly sized to keep file folders upright, the utensil caddy serves as the perfect pencil/pen holder. The rubber coating—and the bold color—make it stylish and durable too.
Vintage toast caddies may have fallen out of style at the breakfast table, but they are still useful for holding small letters, invitations, notes and stamps. Most have a carrying loop so moving your stuff from place to place is handy. Look for these caddies at flea markets and antique malls.
A "Pull" that Holds
A cup pull handle, typically found on drawers and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms, finds new life here as a chalk holder. Attached upside down, it becomes the perfect receptacle for chalk where it is most handy, right on the chalkboard itself.
halfpintsalvage via Etsy.com
Bench Times Three
A single bench is useful for sitting down and putting on shoes, but three benches stacked on top of one another become an entirely different piece in your home. Instantly, three shelves are available for organizing your collections and books. To do: Paint the benches all the same color and secure them to each other with the appropriate hardware.
Old library catalogues can hold items other than those Dewey Decimal cards. This one was repurposed to hold wine and liquor. Use the labels on the outside to identify what’s on the inside. And when it's time to host, use the pull-out surface originally intended for books as your makeshift serving bar.
Usually relegated to the garage for storage and organization, a trusty pegboard above your child’s desk will help make organization a breeze. You can paint in a fun color, stencil it, or add decals. You can even identify where everything needs to go. For more pegboard inspiration, don't miss Pegboard Storage: A Classic for All Time.
As cribs are outgrown and converted into beds, parents are left with pieces like side rails that just take up space. Turn it end up and prop it against the wall, and it instantly becomes a magazine rack that's ideal for a guest room or family room, any place a good read is desirable.
Up the Ladder
Don't pass up old ladders. Even rickety ones like this make perfect displays for blankets, linens, towels and vintage textiles. They are also in plentiful supply at garage sales and flea markets. For more ladder repurposing, check out 5 Things To Do… With Vintage Ladders.
Be a Doll
Super cute and architecturally sound, this dollhouse gets a major renovation in being repurposed as bathroom storage. The rooms are perfect for housing everything from towels to toilet paper. Use anchors, brackets, and heavy-duty hardware to secure the house safely to your wall.
Children’s bedrooms and playrooms are a challenge to organize but some simple wire storage keeps toys off the floor and saves space. These garden baskets can be mounted low on the wall within reach of little ones so they can tidy up after themselves.
Instead of tossing out the old door from a recent renovation, cut it into an amazing corner shelf. Attach some simple circular shelves with brackets and spray paint with a bright color. Switch out the doorknob to match your décor, but leave off the back knob to keep this lovely shelf flush against the wall.
Piece of Cake
This fantastic 3-tier tray can hold anything from art supplies to kitchenware and with its compact size can work in almost any room. It’s easy to bring this look home by spray painting shapely candlesticks and gluing them to old cake pans.
Willing to Travel
If it’s time to retire that vintage suitcase, bring it to the next level as a wall shelf. After removing the lining, cut it in half and fasten it atop a wall-mounted wooden panel. Anchors will help shelf will stay put but the look is going places.
A simple box is transformed into a secret storage solution that will fit right into the shelves of your personal library. Collect old and broken textbooks and novels, remove the spines, then hot-glue them to one side of the box. Now your bookcase can be more versatile than ever!
For more amazing storage ideas, check out:
7 Easy Ways to Boost Bathroom Storage
8 (Truly) Unexpected Storage Spots
Clear Clutter Quickly with Our Top 12 Storage Ottomans
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!