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Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days 6: Where to "shop" for boxes

Along the way, it has occurred to me that I am constantly telling you to shop your home for boxes to organize with, but I haven't told you how to go about doing that.  Just because I have an old box from this or that doesn't mean you will.  So today I will share with you where and how I "shop" my home, and other places, for organizing boxes.

To find the right box, you must first think outside the box.  Pun intended.  There may be an option that you would not normally consider.  To open your mind, you must first start with the blue pill.

Just kidding.  The first thing to do is figure out the size and shape of box that you need.  Storing hats?  Look for something round.  Anything other than that usually requires a square or rectangular shape, because they waste less space when grouped together.

Your next requirement is strength.  For most situations, a flimsy box is not going to do the trick.  Especially if you are going to pretty it up.  More on that later.

So with these restraints in mind, go forth and search.  Don't limit yourself to empties!  Often there is a box perfect for what I need being used for something that it's not so perfect for.  I happily switch it out and go in search of a box that is more practical for that application.  Shuffling can be key to creating functionality in your home, because you are always looking for a better way to create function.  Here are some recommendations for strong, useful boxes that are "free."

iPhone and iPad Boxes
These things are perfect drawer organizers.  They are super sturdy and very straight, and are very easy to decorate.  You can cover them in paper, add washi tape stripes or borders, or even paint them to pretty them up.  At work, I order and set up iPads for people.  If they don't want the box, I keep them!  They usually don't.  So you're not the designated iPhone/iPad setup person for your office?  Ask the person who is, usually IT.

File Boxes
Sometimes you can get these things for free at work when they're being switched out - there's only so many times you can write on them and reuse them before new ones are requested.  They are easy to cover and come with lids.

Grocery Boxes
I've seen a lot of posts where people use cereal and snack boxes for drawer organizers.  While the shape and size are right for the job, the strength is not.  They will be replacing those things pretty soon.  I'm not a glutton for new projects, once I do something I do not want to re-do it for a while.  (I don't even decorate for seasons unless it's Christmas, folks.)  So I won't recommend that.  What I will recommend is using other free packaging from your regular groceries for storage.  Diaper boxes are AWESOME for cubby storage and can be decorated with shelf paper or even colored duct tape.  Coffee cans can be spray-painted and used to hold all kinds of fun things.  I have baby wipe boxes all over my house used for everything from small baby toys to little diaper-changing kits in all the cars to first aid kits.  I even saw a great post for grabbing free Aldi boxes and covering those.

Glass Jars
Don't forget those glass spaghetti sauce jars (or even paper-covered cans) for holding pens, pencils, cosmetic brushes, and craft supplies.  I use baby food jars for all kinds of home made remedies and test concoctions for my Etsy shop.  For bigger items, sometimes I will buy some mason jars from the thrift store or Old Time Pottery (not just cheap decorating stuff, but a great place for cheap organizing supplies.)

If you have searched your home for all of these things but are still coming up short, and the thrift store is out of great finds, try some of these choice spots for bins and boxes:

Target One-Spot
If you haven't walked the Target One-Spot aisle, we can't be friends.  Just kidding!  Maybe.  So here's the dish: everything in this section is either $1 or $3.  And when it goes on Cartwheel?  It can be from 5% to 30% off!  They usually have some great little plastic bins, boxes, or cans in pretty colors.  Every time I see some good ones in my go-to colors, I grab a few.  I will never run out of ways to use these, from pantry storage to closet cubbies.

Old Time Pottery
I always think of Old Time Pottery as the mothership of the dollar stores.  Most of the stuff is cheap and off-brand, but they do have some good stuff if you know where to look.  While I wouldn't buy linens or furniture there, I do buy mason jars, plastic bins, baskets, and cheapo frames occasionally.

Dollar Store
If you don't have an Old Time Pottery or Target in your town, try the Dollar store.  The good stuff can be few and far between, but if you shop there with the same mindset as shopping your home, you may find something that works.

Oh, how I wish we had an IKEA in my town.  I always see people post great finds from IKEA, in simple styles that can be easily modified to match your decor.  If you are blessed enough to live within driving range, this is a great spot to shop.

Now that we've covered the "where" and "how" to look, I thought I'd post some cool ideas on decorating our fun finds.  Check out my Pinterest page for more!

As if I needed another reason to love what about you?  Where do you "shop" for organizing materials?

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