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Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I know, it's a dreadful pun
I have a bit of a 'thing' for reuse, slightly eccentric aethetics, and no money-
so there's loads of repurposed, er, 'indidual', cheap things with things in them at my place!
Here's a few:

wooden wine boxes make great 'shelves' for cooking gear-my cast iron finally has a home off the stove

After fruitlessly trying to buy some holder thing to keep my dishwashing gear off the bench,
I bent a stainless steel (no rust) sieve to a usable shape.
It even has a handy dishbrush holder!

Beer crates are really handy; my garlic's in another one.
Also, old cold water pipes don't rust and make good towel rails .

Polystyrene's a menace, but it can be useful: I germinate seeds in icecream containers, in polybins-
When I need to water, I just tip it into the polybin.
And metal Venetian mini-blinds make great plant markers-write with pencil, wash off and reuse forever

My seeds are stashed in vintage breadbins-dark the way seeds in storage like, but easy access.

Who's got handy, random, inventive storage ideas to share?


 
William Bronson
Posts: 1414
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Nice ideas. My contribution is cans as shelf supports. I use the big institutional sized cans, empty them and use self tapping screws to affix them to the wall. Two side by side colums make a shoe holder, a horizontal row makes a shelf if tightly spaced,support for a shelf,or places to hang yard tools.
The insides of the cans are cubbyholes for anything you can think of.
 
C. Kelley
Posts: 31
Location: zone 4b/5a Midcoast Maine
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Milk crates. We own a bakery/cafe in an area where furniture of any reasonable quality costs the moon (think $800 for a clothes dresser AT THE SALVATION ARMY.) and our house is full of them - doubly so since we moved from a 1000sf farmhouse with a barn to a 600sf apartment (without getting rid of any farm stuff, the apartment is strictly temporary). They are bookshelves, sewing/art supply storage, and supports for the pallets I cut down to use as a platform for our mattress. Stack the crates on their sides, use zip ties in a few strategic spots to hold them together if they're in a high-traffic area/holding heavy stuff/likely to be knocked in to regularly, and fill.

Yeah, yeah, "THEFT OF THIS CRATE IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW" yada yada... Making nice with the dairy guy at the grocery store goes a long way - many distributors are real crap about picking up the empty crates, and lots of dairy managers are wicked short on space and more than happy to let you free some room up for them. Quietly.
 
Antje Cobbett
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Great suggestions for storage especially the ones about using tins. I've got to use them up!

We live in the mountains in Spain and there is a lot of humidity and often a few rats. Both tend to destroy just about everything! Then we saw the solution at our neighbor's! We wondered why he had fridges in his bedroom, fridges that are not connected! One day my neighbor asked me to fetch a packet of crackers from the fridge in the bedroom and all was revealed! They use old fridges without the plumbing in the back (which makes them very light weight) for storage of clothes, food, anything really.

We thought that was a great idea and went to the recycling place in our town to fetch a few old fridges. No more rats - no more humidity! And then there was this new paint that looks like wood when it's dry. So the fridges actually look quite "decent" now!

Off to build the tin shelves ......
 
Isa Delahunt
Posts: 14
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Those big shallow plastic trays used in bread delivery are awesome for seed starting trays or drying wool or herbs or what have you. I line mine with a fine mesh screen and put soil blocks on them, easy to carry them to the garden for transplanting, they stack up for germination.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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William Bronson wrote: cans as shelf supports

Cans rock
The Italian tomato ones with cool labels make funky herb pots for selling at fairs etc.
Just bang a few holes in the bottom with a nail.
Italian restaurants always have millions!
C. Kelley wrote:Milk crates
So stackable. Sigh.
And it's kind of amusing harbouring illegal storage systems...
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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Just a note about grocery store dynamics, because I work in one. Your store might be different, but this is what goes on in mine.

Every few days, a milk order comes in and all the empty dollies go back on the truck... Because it just isn't financially responsible (nevermind environmentally responsible) to drive a emtpy truck or purchase new crates because a driver is too lazy to return the empties.

Every two to three days, grocery, dairy, egg, and ice cream orders come in on plastic and wooden pallets. When the grocery load comes in, all the pallets, plastic wrap, and cardboard bales go back on the company truck and go back to the distribution center to be reused or sent to recycling.

We save boxes for customers all the time if there is room, but I've never been asked to save milk crates (or pallets), therefore I've never asked if we are allowed.

There's nothing wrong with asking, but if the crates do get returned, that means that for every crate you take out of the system, a new one needs to be made. But if you happen upon some crates going about your life, takes them and reuse them before someone throws them away.
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I like stacked chimney flues. Those recycled from gas fired equipment are best since they lack creosote. These ones are becoming storage under my masonry stove.

Retired car top carriers make great outside storage.

Free dressers and shelves abound on Used Victoria.
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allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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The manager of a couple of Dunkin Doughnut places, is where I used to get white food grade 5 gal buckets, He was complaining about a lack of space in
and around his shops, and how glad he was to have me come and get them -

A long story latter he now delivers them to the local fire departments for truck washing, he sees that the buckets were Actually empty when 'finished'
and it -and free coffee coupons, make the guys stop for coffee regular at his shops !

Do our fire departments need 3 wash buckets for every truck ? No, but they don't seem to build up and be a problem, and there is always a few handy
at the Station !
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1445
Location: Zone 6b
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I agree with making friends with a restaurant and getting their emptied 5 gallon pails; that is lovely. Also talk really nicely and get their used coffee grounds. Those are black gold in compost piles, they really add. If you find a good source though don't tell anybody else...

At some soda bottling plants they have white or blue usually, syrup barrels that are about 30 gallon size. Sometimes they give them away and sometimes the staff 'sells' them for reasonable amounts. We used to live in a city where there was a Pepsi plant and they sold them for about $10 each to pay for their Christmas party. These are massively useful for all sorts of things especially if you do ponds. The contents were food grade materials and no nasty chemicals...

Feed store here gets calf suppliments in big tubs about 18" high and wide. Sometimes they're free, sometimes they're a few dollars each. If you doublecheck about busted bottoms (unless you're going to cut them out and set them on ground or dig them in a bit as raised bed planters) these are some of the most useful containers ever outside. I drilled some with a few drainage holes and grow tomatoes in them; with no holes they are great for mixing potdirt mix for plant propagation or storing tools in to tote around, if you do ponding you can't get enough of them. I make compost tea in one. The two types I can get here are an offwhite/tan that are heavier and often the insides are scraped up, and black that are thinner but often have the bottom cracked. The first are better for ponding and the latter are better for container/raised bed gardening. A reciprocating saw with a fine blade and some patience you can cut the bottom out of one fairly easy, else a drill with a pencil sized bit, put 6-8 holes evenly spaced around the bottom and set on a trio of bricks and you will have free air space to allow drainage and not grow a generation of pillbugs of plague proportion under them. You can't sit on them though, they won't really take that. I even cut one a third across and half down for a very large litterbox that my really large kitty could jump in and out of and not kick litter all over or hang her rear over the side to do her business. (these are reuseable tubs, but sometimes the place doesn't care to lose a few as they get some back busted and some never come back, and at times they charge a 'deposit'. If you pay the deposit you can have them... I've never paid more than $2 each)



 
Kate Muller
Posts: 212
Location: New Hampshire
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Friends of mine use an old broken freezer chest to store grains for their chickens. It has a lock on it so they have zero problems with critters getting into the grain.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1414
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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The calf feed tubs sound awesome for the reservoir in 55 gallon sub irrigated planter!
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1445
Location: Zone 6b
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William, the best I can guess is they hold about 20 gallons; or if you DO stoop to buying commercial potmix (like metromix), they take one bag of metromix to pretty much fill up.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1414
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Deb Rebel wrote:William, the best I can guess is they hold about 20 gallons; or if you DO stoop to buying commercial potmix (like metromix), they take one bag of metromix to pretty much fill up.


Cool, I currently take free 55 gallon drums and cut the tops off, then cut 30 gallon drums around their midpoint and use each half, flipped upside down as the 15 gallon reservoirs. Getting 30 gallon drums is kinda hard, so an even bigger alternative would be great.

I basically like composted manure and a wicking medium for the containers, tried wood pellets for the wicking, not so good, peat is better, but unsustainable...
 
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