One thing folks discover once they begin to adopt a ‘thrifty’ lifestyle is that they tend to run out of storage space. Attending yard sales and stocking up on bargain kid clothes before school starts, finding brand new appliances (unopened, still in the box) for future wedding, birthday, anniversary or Christmas gifts. Or, perhaps you change your way of cooking and begin to stock up on some of the basic foods when they are on sale. In many homes, storage is a premium item.

Luckily, I have roomy closets. But most of them just have a single shelf above a closet rod, so they’ve ’tweaked’ to make the space more efficient.

A friend of mine, who claims to be “A total disaster with a hammer and a screwdriver” took it upon herself to add three shelves to the space above her daughter’s closet rod.  She measured the space and then went to the local hardware store to get shelf brackets, screws and some boards cut exactly to fit the length of her space.

She sanded and painted the boards before she put them up and color coded them for seasonal items like snow pants and mittens. After the shelves were installed, she and her 8 year old daughter proceeded to sort through all of the child’s clothing according to season and put the items in their proper places.

Instead of buying plastic totes, she went to the grocery store and asked for heavy cardboard boxes. She requested the lids be left on, instead of cut off with a box cutter. The store was happy to honor her request and she got enough boxes to fit on all the shelves. She had remember seeing some cardboard storage containers with wallpaper-like covering at a store. They made their own pretty boxes with some left over sticky-backed shelf liners, glued on some wrapping paper scraps and magazine pictures that her daughter had cut out. The boxes were then lined inside with plain newspapers and brown paper grocery bags to keep the dust away.

After seeing an advertisement for a ‘double your space’ gadget made from some plastic chain and a clear plastic rod, she went to the hardware store and got some rings that fit over the closet rod (four of them) and some small chain (like for small dogs), another piece of closet rod cut about half the length of the closet and proceeded to ‘make her own ‘space saver’ gadget. I’m thinking hers will last a lot longer since it’s made of those heavy rings and chains and the big closet rod. 

She hung it up and doubled the storage for her daughter’s clothing, and still has room for the shoes (in a rack purchased at a yard sale for a quarter).  They also took a couple more of the bigger boxes, lined them with the brown paper grocery bags and used them to store her boots; cowboy boots for riding, mud boots for chore times, and some ‘fancy boots with heels’ for church!

Do-it-yourself storage is a great idea. It’s a fun family project everyone can participate in, and save money at the same time!

Do you have any creative do-it-yourself storage solutions to share? Email your ideas to: [email protected]

Until next month,



by Paula Vogelgesang

Paula Vogelgesang is the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", and is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory.

Email her at [email protected]

Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.

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