The stuff I keep my stuff in: creative storage solutions

January 10 | Guest post by Lauren

2-The-Tooth-TeacupLooking around my house, I realize I have a lot of stuff, and I keep that stuff in more stuff! Luckily the stuff I keep my stuff in is a bit more interesting than the stuff itself.

Clear? Possibly not.

For example, I keep my toothpaste and floss in a teacup — on its matching saucer and biscuit plate, of course. I picked this cute little set up for $10 from one of my local antique stores. I am thinking of getting a teapot to keep my toothbrushes in but I haven't found one I like yet.

Here is some of the other stuff that I keep my stuff in…

1 The Chess TableOn my little upstairs veranda, there is a chess setup: two beanbags and our chess table in the middle. That table is a plastic storage box with a sarong as a tablecloth.

It works well and provides a waterproof home for the chess set when the monsoon season starts (not to mention all of the other stuff in there).

3 The Bag RackMy handbags, hats, scarves and belts live on door, on an over-the-door hook that an old roommate left behind. My other half informs me the bag rack has somehow turned into an evolving work of art.

4 The Flower BoxesThese flower boxes have lived many lives depending on the dwelling we were in at the time. Prior uses included a wardrobe, bedside tables, and a kitchen bench. In our new, very bland, very white townhouse they have become the medicine cabinet and other bathroom supplies storage.

5 The Shoe BoxesI use these old soft drink crates to store my shoes. I picked these up from another quirky antique store, and have done many, many repairs on these boxes.

6 The Washing PowderI live in the tropics. Washing powder and the tropics do not mix. You invariably end up with a disintegrating cardboard box filled with powder so swollen and hard from the humidity you have to chip it off with a knife. Then my partner's mother gifted us with an old biscuit jar, sans seal. A few rubber bands later, and now I have the perfect washing powder jar. The downside is that it rattles on the spin cycle… oh well.

7 The Brass Pot of HoldingI call this "The Brass Pot of Holding." Anything and everything from the computer desk lives in here: pens, paper, lollies, CDs, and… bugs.

We'd love to see YOUR creative storage solutions. Perhaps you have a great idea or two we could all learn from. Get to submitting!

  1. Mason jars hold all my different loose leaf teas, as well as all my pantry goods. Super easy and they stack nicely :)

    5 agree
    • I have a pantry full of jars. A jar and a permanent marker and you are ready to go. Recyling and great storage all in one!

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      • Sounds weird but because of my weight loss surgery I use a big plastic jar of protein powder every 2-3 months and they are great containers but the amazing brand I use (Syntrax Nectar Whey Isolate) also has amazingly hard to remove labels.
        I decided to cover them with a very old fashion black and white dollar store shelf contact paper and put apothecary labels on them
        Here is my blog showing the steps from ugly bottle to I think cute canister…
        Cool canister from protein bottle – http://wp.me/pOb2Y-gR

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    • I also use this method http://mydesignfolder.com/design-blog/d-i-y-stained-bottles/
      and peasbo brand food safe glass paint (under $4 at Michaels and a thinned down bottle goes a long way) with acetone fingernail polish remover to paint jars then spray paint the top side of the lids and it makes for great storage. I used much darker colors for things like spices and tea that don't like light.

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  2. I have pretty tins of all sizes and shapes that hold earrings, bandaids, tea, safety pins, gummy bears, pistachios, and spices (like the parmeseam and red pepper packets that comes with your pizza delivery).

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    • I love my collection of boot sale tins and jars and all sorts of other pots where my earrings now live. My favourite Christmas 2012 present came from the in-laws this year – a ceramic trinket box shaped like a Melton Mowbray pork pie: http://www.jupes.co.uk/s/cc_images/cache_2414817280.jpg?t=1301064931 This is my partner's home town; I truly feel like one of the family now, and it sits amazingly next to my other jars and pots and boxes!

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  3. I love the tea tins from The English Tea Store. My craft room is filled to the brim with them.

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  4. My all-time favorite storage purchase was six huge white crates that collapse and fold flat. I bought them before starting college, and many moves later I still find all six indispensable! They've been bookshelves, shoe racks, under-the-bed bins, nightstands, closet storage, kitchen storage, moving boxes, craft storage, and more. They have held up to over eight years of hard use and still work great.

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    • I would love them! My flower boxes have changed purposes so many times it's impossible to count the ways. Fantastic for camping too!

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  5. Teacup toothpaste holder? The brilliance there is mindblowing. Especially with the idea of a teapot for the brushes. I may have to borrow that solution.

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    • :) Why thank you! Let me know if you find a good teapot. The only one I've found I like is on Etsy and it's something like $80 shipping… a little bit out of my price range for a brush holder!

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    • My only question regarding this is the lint/dust issue. Due to towel usage, bathrooms tend to get way more dust flying around. Doesn't that get all over your cute tea set and… Gulp… Toothbrush???

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  6. I love your tea set idea! I do something similar and found a pretty decanter bottle at a thrift store that I use to hold mouthwash.

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    • I love using decanters for other items in the bathroom as well. I store cotton balls, q-tips, bubble bath, and epson salts. I need to try it for mouth wash too!

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  7. I purchased a cheap vase and painted it to become our brush and comb holder in the bathroom. It's high enough that the brushes and combs don't tip out and it now looks pretty.

    My craft room (which I will finish eventually and give a tour, I swear) is full of unexpected storage that I got from various ideas. I have a weird window between my craft room in the porch and my husband's studio in the main house. So I hung an unused curtain rod over it and hang things on that for storage. I bought hanging cube organizers (like for your closet) to store my yarn. It's out of my cat's range, not getting mothy, and I can get at it easily. I also hung a jewellery pocket storage thing up and put buttons and other decorative oddments in it.

    2 agree
    • That is a good idea to use a vase to hold brushes! I bet it makes the counter look less cluttered and is much prettier to look at. :)

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    • I used to use a vase before the teacup solution but it's a glass vase so it was really hard to keep clean. Particularly with the toothpaste.

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  8. I used the plastic trays from the Lunchables meals my kids love to hold my earrings and rings on my dresser. I cannot stop putting things in things. A photo box holds all my nail polishes and accessories. A shoe bag (it's polka dots!) holds crafting supplies like scrap fabrics, buttons, etc. A big summer bucket meant for drinks holds the kids shoes because they bring home a sandbox a day. And I'm tired of cleaning up sand off the carpet.

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  9. I love to see different objects used in new and functional ways. :)

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  10. Rubber bands!! Of course!

    I love those glass or ceramic or metal jars, and since I get many of them secondhand, the rubber seals are not always in the best shape. Now I know how to replace them cheaply. :)

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    • That is, for casual storage (like pantry dry goods or laundry soap) that just need a closed lid but not necessarily an air-tight seal, not preserving.

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      • I used the REALLY BIG rubber bands. They are huge. I got four of them and they work perfectly. To start off with there was no rubber bands and the rattling noise the jar made when it was on the spin cycle was pretty amazing. After we laid in bed at night listening to the washing machine sing away downstairs I thought maybe it was time to fix it.

        1 agrees
        • Throw a doily or coaster under it, it won't rattle so much (the laundry room growing up was in the kitchen and there was often a load drying right behind my head during dinner, so I got pretty creative with making the Piles O Stuff stop bugging me).

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  11. I love the tea cup and saucers in the bathroom!

    I had just turned a "spa gift basket" multi-tiered caddy into a holder for vitamins and medication. I also have my disposable razors sitting in a wine glass near my tub like a vase of flowers (after all, they're the Daisy Razors!). Oh, and I use two-drawer filing cabinets as side tables where I store magazines and scrapbooking supplies.

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    • Woaaar! Wine glass! Totally stealing that idea. I might have to go a full 'kitchen' theme in my bathroom now. Actually I do already have a drinking glass in there holding all of my bobby pins and hair bands too. Perhaps I should have included that. I only just remembered.

      2 agree
  12. future forum idea here! just photos of all our cute "baskets" and organization solutions. :]

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    • Awesome idea. What about an 'I Fixed It' section as well for our little hacks?

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  13. Great ideas! I am planning on having a mermaid themed bathroom the next time we move. A teacup (which I happen to have a lot of, left over from our wedding) would be great to use to store things in on the counter! Reminds me a bit of Ariel and her collection. Thanks sharing!

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  14. Hi from Townsville! I love the tea cup idea. I've just repurposed a disposable plastic cup as a scissors-and-crochet-hooks holder, but the tea cup is FAR more adorable!

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  15. I have an old gumball machine in our bathroom that is filled with my nail polish.

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  16. I have an owl cup, dish and teapot that I got on major sale after holidays that I use in my bathroom. At first I was weirded out by using the teapot in there but then I thought "I can't separate it from the other owls!" So there it sits.

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  17. I use a vertical paper towel holder in the bathroom for a bracelet holder, a basket for rolled up rags, rhinestone covered tacks on the wall for jewelry and a loose knit scarf hung up for earrings and hair clips.
    I also have a far less attractive cut down shoe bag on the wall for extra stuff.

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  18. I love re-purposed storage.

    I don't know whether you can properly see it in this photo, but a couple of months ago we turned a cheapo wooden veg delivery crate on its side to solve ridiculously impractical high kitchen cupboard shelves. Best temporary shelf ever: http://instagram.com/p/QcKGnTEwjl/

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    • Have you thought of putting cup hooks on the underside there? You could hang tea cups or packets of stuff

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      • This is a great idea – thank you! Not sure the thin / light wood will take it, but I'm going to give it a go.

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