Think Inside the Box for Extra Storage

Diy Storage Boxes

Now that your household has officially overdosed on desserts, extended family and traditions, and the veil of holiday cheer has lifted, you see that your home has been taken over by unchecked mail and new toys. There’s so much junk that the boxes and old wrapping paper seem to be multiplying. It’s time for an intervention.

We all need a little help after the holidays to bring order to the new gadgets and goodies and help organize our lives a little, but before you hire a professional organizer or purchase organization devices, take a look around your house for everyday items to help you put things in place. You’ll be surprised at what sanity-saving solutions you can come up with from a few items you already have or can get for free, plus a little elbow grease. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Shoeboxes for easy storage

Shoeboxes are an easy storage solution because most of the work has already been done. No building, no gluing, no hassle. If you have a large family, you probably have a collection of shoeboxes in varying sizes that can work well for storage inside drawers, in the garage and under sinks. Another option is to decorate and label the boxes for pretty, quick and efficient under-bed storage. These can help family members organize and store toys, books and even clothes in a space that’s often overlooked. Because shoeboxes are traditionally shallow, they fit under most beds.

What to do:

* Make sure the box is clean and sturdy.
* Cut off any extra tabs and remove stickers.
* Decorate the box as you desire.
* Add a label and/or dividers, if necessary.

(See the d.i.y. crea|tivi|ty blog at under Community and Blogs for step-by-step instructions on making dividers.)

The shoebox top will keep out the dust and dander that lurk under the bed.

Postal boxes for under-bed storage

I am a big fan of free U.S. Postal Service (USPS) priority mail and flat-rate boxes. They work amazingly well for many projects. The next two projects make good use of this resource.

What to do:

* Start with a large USPS rectangular priority mail box. Close all the sides and seal.
* Cover and decorate as desired.
* Cut out a large flap on the top of the box, leaving one side attached for closing. Depending on how you decorate your box, you may want to cut the flap first, then decorate.
* Add a label and/or dividers, if desired.

Personalized file caddies

Personalized file caddies store notebooks, mail, magazines and more. Use them in living/family rooms, bedrooms, offices or even kitchens. They can be different sizes and decorated to fit any personality or d├ęcor. These are great for helping your children organize books and papers by school subject or school year.

What to do:

* Start with a large USPS rectangular priority mail box. Close all the sides and seal.
* Cover and decorate as desired.
* Measure/cut box in half to create two identical file caddies. The goal is to create caddies with a bin at the bottom to keep files from slipping out while having a tall back and sides to keep files from falling over. When cutting the box, leave a deep enough bottom to hold things in and cut a diagonal slope along the sides leading to a tall back. You may want to pencil measured lines on a practice box and cut it first to create a template for the good boxes you decorated.
* Add a pocket in front for labels (directions below) and add any additional decorations.

Directions for front label:

* Measure the front section of your caddy and record the dimensions.
* Cut a slip of paper to twice the width and the exact height of the front section. For example, if the front of your caddy is 3 inches wide by 2 inches high, you need to cut your paper 6 inches by 2 inches.
* Fold both width sides of the paper in to the center until the sides overlap by one-half inch.
* Fold the bottom of the paper up one-half inch.
* Apply double-sided tape to the folded side and seal your pocket, open side up, to the front section of your caddy.

Try using boxes of different sizes to make caddies for various sized items. For example, a smaller box would work well as a caddy for CD or DVD storage.

Tivi Jones is a 20-something writer and marketing professional who lives in Durham. She’s a d.i.y. enthusiast who also shares her tips, tricks and projects on a blog at

Categories: At Home, Home