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6 Quirky storage solutions

6 Unexpected storage container ideas

When you’ve got a house overflowing with stuff that you just can’t part with, it’s tempting to simply stash it all in unattractive plastic storage containers -- which will most likely wind up stuck in some out-of-the-way closet. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find and use items that have been buried in out-of-sight bins. Instead, keep your stuff on display in an attractive way with these six quirky storage ideas.

1Old-fashioned wood & metal milk cratesOld-fashioned wood and metal milk crates

The days of milk bottle deliveries to your door is a thing of the past -- which means there are thousands of unused milk crates floating around at flea markets and thrift stores. While record collectors have been using plastic milk crates as vinyl album storage for decades, the original wood and metal crates offer a more attractive storage solution. Stack them on their side as a makeshift rack perfect for holding small wine bottles, food jars in the kitchen or as a magazine rack in the living room.

2Repurposed office organizersRepurposed office organizers

Bags and cases are a great way to pack beauty products for travel, but at home it presents a problem when you need to find your favorite eyeliner in a hurry. Office organizers work well to keep your dresser looking organized while keeping brushes, eye shadows and all your products within easy reach. Out-of-date phone stands give extra height to makeup mirrors, while space intended for the phone book fits small organizer trays.

3Dressed up shoe boxes Dressed-up shoe boxes

Shoeboxes are the traditional go-to temporary storage container for random papers or odds and ends, but barcodes and company logos make them unattractive to look at long-term. Make the sturdy containers pretty enough to display by wrapping them up in a non-seasonal designer wrapping paper that fits your décor style. Wrap the lid and box separately so you can open and close them easily. For a more durable covering, use contact paper with an adhesive backing for the shoebox exterior. The makers of contact paper have dozens of designs in patterns, woods, metallics and more. You can even get chalkboard contact paper so that you can change the label of the box's contents easily.

4Etsy Shop, Dingaling - Vintage suitcase coffee tableVintage suitcases

Back in the day, the leather, hinges and brassy buckles on luggage exuded more class and style than today's vinyl and zipper versions. The fact that vintage suitcases are flat and hard-sided makes them a perfect stackable storage solution that you won't mind leaving out in the open when guests drop by. Collect an assortment of colors and styles to stack as a towering conversation piece or purchase versions that have been converted into coffee tables with plenty of storage under the lid. Remember what's inside by writing a summary of the contents on a vintage luggage tag.

5Reusing glass jarsReusing glass jars

Before you go chucking that spaghetti sauce jar in your recycling bin, take a look at the underside of its lid. That seal you see is built to last even after the contents are gone -- making it the perfect container to repurpose. Simply remove the label and cover the lid with fabric or paint to create a decorative container for storing dry goods in the kitchen or fasteners in the office. For more of a vintage feel, pick up mason jars with their raised glass lettering and attractive lids -- which are available both at vintage stores and local supermarkets.

6Boughs & branchesBoughs and branches

Boughs may not be strong enough to hold baby in a cradle, but they make great racks for clothing items. Mount large boughs upright in a pot to create a multi-branch rack for coats and hats near the front door, or suspend a single thick branch vertically as a DIY rod for hangers.

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