Gift wrap storage helps you save money

I love the holidays and Christmas in particular. Every year I go a little crazy with the wrapping, buying ribbon, loads of paper and other trinkets. I love making my own big bows and name tags — I think a gift means so much more when you put time into it, inside and out. It never fails though, my left over wrapping supplies get shoved in the closet come Dec. 26 and never survive the year.

Since I’ve utilized the proper storage for my wrapping hobby, my supplies last so much longer and I am not re-buying every year. It’s a huge money saver and I don’t feel so guilty about throwing out crumbled and bent up rolls of gift wrap.

Vertical storage

Gift wrap storage is nothing new, I know, but a lot of the organizers I have tried in the past fell flat — literally. I was really excited to find these awesome vertical gift wrap bins from Sterilite. The up-right design is great because it fits in closets and other tight spaces a lot easier. The organizer is very sturdy; the Sterilite design stands upright no matter how much or how little you have in it! The regular size is made to hold up 25 rolls of paper measuring up to 30 inches high. The larger size is made to accommodate rolls measuring up to 40 inches high. The large one even has a compartment in the lid for ribbon!

Horizontal storage

The vertical storage may not be as great of a fit for you as it was for me. Perhaps you prefer something to you can stash under a bed or on a storage rack in the basement. In the case, the wrapping paper storage box is a great solution. This classic design is a long plastic bin with a matching red lid. This bin also fits rolls measuring up to 30 inches in length.

Ribbon and bows

If you’re like me, you wrapping doesn’t end at paper. Having the proper storage for ribbon and bows is also a big money saver. This ribbon storage box and dispenser is a huge help all year long. Yes, it keeps expensive fabric ribbons neat, but it also helps dispense them when wrapping. This box is designed with a removable divider and a storage tray for scissors, tape and more.

If you prefer the peel-and-stick bows, you can get storage too. This latching bin is perfect for an entire bag of ready to go bows. This bucket style-bin has a latching lid with a handle so it easy to tote around the house, and the small size is easy to store anywhere in the home.


Painting plastic bins for chic storage alternatives

Photo courtesy IHeartOrganizing.BlogSpot.Com.

I use plastic bins throughout my entire house. They’re great storage and they’re always helpful to have on hand for projects, moving and so much more. But sometimes they can be an eyesore when you have to keep them out in the open. Plastic bins can be re-purposed to create fun and fabulous storage pieces.

  • Stencils: Simple modifications can make the most drab pieces exciting. Small storage pieces like counter top drawer sets are instantly classed up with some simple stencils or decals. Create your own stencil or purchase one from your favorite craft store, tape it in place and fill it in with spray paint, brush or even paint pens.
  • Chalkboard paint: Sometimes modifications are for efficiency. Have a lot of the same plastic bins stacked up in your basement? I do and I’m constantly rummaging through all of them until I find what I’m looking for. It’s frustrating. Adding labels with the use of chalkboard paint makes it super simple to
  • Jute: Ok, so it’s not paint, but covering plastic bins in hemp, jute or even fabric is a quick fix too. I love this cute tutorial from To do it, get yourself a large plastic tote, some casters and your choice of material.

How to make a compost bin with a simple plastic tote

“Compost is an organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer or soil amendment.”

Thanks, Wiki. But how do you make a compost bin? A quick Pinterest search can lead to premature exhaustion and overwhelming apathy. Do not fret, you do not need to go all out to create a simple home compost bin. Thankfully, there is an easy and inexpensive way.

I’m always trying to find new, unique ways to use those plastic totes that line my basement walls. As I watched the slowly changing leaves this weekend, it hit me: compost bin.

Here is a simple step by step process on how to make a compost bin:

Take your pick

Find a plastic bin fit for the job. Whether you have on laying around or must purchase one, make sure it is tall. At least two feet. And it must have a very secure, latching lid to keep our any curious critters.

Once you have a bin picked out, grab a drill or a hammer and nail to create air holes. Put at least eight hols in the bottom of the bin and in the lid. This will allow for proper air circulation and therefore even composting.

Fill it up

Back to those leaves. If you have them, collect some dry leaves from the yard and fill a quarter of the  bin with them. You can also use newspaper for this, but I really recommend the dry leaves for a more pure compost.

Next is dirt. You can buy some for a hardware store or just dig it out of the ground at home. Either way, fill the bin with dirt until it is half full.


Next, just add you food waste.  Every time you add waste to the bin, make sure to stir it gently with a shovel or hand spade. Then spray it lightly with water until it is moist — you do not want to make it too wet. Be gentle!

Finally, just place the DIY compost bin somewhere outside in the shade so it doesn’t dry out. Come spring, you will have the best fertilizer for your gardens. And the cycle continues!

Find products for this project and more at




How to build a cat shelter with plastic bins

Winter weather can be deadly for our feline friends.

If you’re  a cat lover like me, it can be difficult to ignore the feral kitties that come begging for food. Sometimes these felines come knocking, but for whatever reason we just cannot welcome them into our homes. That doesn’t mean we can’t help.

The colder months are creeping in on us. Whether you have feral cats that roam your yard or just prefer letting your pets explore the outdoors, plastic bins can be used to make some inexpensive, very cozy kitty homes.

How to build a cat shelter

The easiest way to create a DIY cat shelter is by stacking two different sized plastic bins. Use a large plastic bin as the main unit, cutting  entrance and exit holes. Then place the smaller bin inside and cut matching holes. From here, fill the space between the bins with your choice of insulation to help maintain body heat. Put the lid on the smaller bin and place more insulation on top. Next, put the lid on top of the large bin and – voila – kitty house!

Ideas for insulation include: blankets, foam insulation and straw. If you’re not sold on the plastic bins, consider:

  • A styrofoam cooler
  • Picnic cooler
  • Storage bins

What to keep in mind

When building an outdoor shelter for family or feral cats, remember:

  • Keep shelters away from dogs!
  • Keep shelters out of sight from any indoor cats you may have. When indoor kitties get a glimpse of other strange cats roaming around their domain, it may trigger some aggressive behavior inside the home.
  • Consider cutting two entrances so cats have an escape if confronted by opossums, raccoons or other rodents.

Photo courtesy

 Find a wide selection of plastic bins at


Go paperless with the help of plastic bins

The idea of a paperless kitchen can be overwhelming — and usually it inspires the same thought process. “A paperless kitchen,” the first thought typically is, “… that means more laundry!”

How does this relate to plastic bins? Bear with me.

Yes, if you decide to make this transition, you will be using – and washing – more linens. But if you utilize the right pieces and organize yourself, you will be only be doing laundry just as often as you were before. The easiest way to keep laundry at a minimum is giving yourself somewhere to throw kitchen rags when you’re done with them – some sort of plastic bin, perhaps.

I cannot recommend the Cabinet Door Mount Waste Bin enough. This handy bin hides out of sight while keeping dirty rags covered and consolidated. The handy design mounts to the inside of any standard cabinet door. Add one – or two – to control kitchen clutter.

Find this product and more like it at

Plastic Bins to Keep In Your Car

Collapsible CrateWe all sing the praises of how useful plastic bins are for storage around the home, but what about in the car?  Turns out they can help with so many things outside of the home as well!

Here is a run down of how to pick and what to use for different types of plastic bins in your car:

  • Collapsible Crate – These fold flat and can be used for everything from keeping grocery bags upright to eliminating your use of grocery bags all together!
  • Lidded Plastic Box –  A small, file size lidded plastic box is a wonderful thing in the trunk of a car.  There are a million plus uses for it.  Here, just a few that I can think of:
  • Extra Shoes – after a day in the mud (or after an unfortunate step in doggie waste), you can rest assured that your carpet and upholstery will remain stain (and stink) free thanks to extra shoes and a container in which to put the dirty ones.
  • Hiking/Nature Kit:  If you find yourself spending more and more time outdoors these days, why not stock your car with essential tools for enjoying nature such as a frisbee, binoculars and sunblock.
  • Emergency Kit – This goes without saying, every car should keep a fully stocked emergency kit for both roadside emergencies and weather emergencies.  Toss a first aid kit in there as well for last minute injuries and illness.
  • Kids Kit – Not just for the trunk, plastic bins find uses all over the car.  In the front passenger seat, moms and dads can set up a kids kit for unexpected delays in the car.  Stock it with items such as snacks, water, coloring supplies, toys, and a few good kids music CDs.  Next time you find yourself in traffic, you will be thankful to have all of this stuff on hand to avoid messy tantrums that are caused by bored, tired or hungry little ones.

Now that you have your home storage under control, get a grip on that car where we spend more and more time these days with some handy, compact plastic bins!

Plastic Bins WITHOUT their Lids…what to do with them?

reg-44212Maybe you have an old plastic storage box lying around but are missing the lid.  Or maybe  you have an old keg bucket with rope handles that you don’t need anymore for its original use.  Or perhaps you stumbled upon an old plastic garbage can in the garage that you don’t use anymore.  If you find any of these treasures lying around the house, inside or out, and want to do the responsible thing and reuse them, instead of throwing them away, you are in luck.  A beat up old plastic bin can serve many purposes around the home.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.   Collect Rain Water – On the west coast, we are living with extreme drought conditions.  So whenever we get a chance of rain, I line up a few of these old plastic bins (ones that do not have holes in them) outside to collect precious drops of water, which I can then use a few weeks down the road for watering my veggies when the ground turns dry.

2.  Yardwork – If you live with  lots of weeds, as do I, you know that they do not pack down into a small footprint.  Weeds, as their name suggests, are wild by nature, and when you try to fit them into a small container, they simply bounce right out.  Save yourself some trouble by putting that large old garbage bin to work.  Roll it over to your weeding site and back up to the yard waste bins when you are done to avoid too many trips.

3.  Garage Sorting – These big bins, although not great for longterm storage anymore, can be used effectively as sorting stations in the garage.  For example, you might have three of them lined up at the side of the garage.  One says “Dump”, one says “Give Away”, and the other says “Sell”.  This allows you to keep the garage somewhat neat and tidy!


Plastic File Boxes for Tax Time

reg-1250203058-17740It’s almost that time of year again when those W-2s start rolling in!  Be prepared for taxes every year by using a special box designed just to hold tax information.  One of the best uses of  plastic bin is as a file box, and never fear, there are, of course, plastic file boxes designed to hold hanging files, so you don’t have to worry about simply shoving all of your important tax related documents into one big plastic box (although you can if you want to, it is not recommended for obvious reasons).  There are many different types of plastic file systems, here is a run down to get you started, mentioning all types that are readily available on the market:

1.  Plastic Drawer Systems:  Oftentimes, the bottom drawer of a three drawer plastic drawer system will be equipped with tracks built in to hold hanging files.  If you choose these, they are a great storage option in the home office, but be sure to find one with a caster that rolls with the file drawer (so the whole unit should have five casters total).  This ensures the drawer will roll smoothly under the weight of all those documents!

2.  Large Plastic File Boxes – For the average home, you will need 3-4 of these file boxes but they are much more affordable than a traditional metal file cabinet and, best of all, they are portable.  What I love about this is that you are not tied down to the office when it’s time to tackle that filing pile – simply take the appropriate box with you into the living room and file away while enjoying some television!

3.  Portable file boxes – Like the Iris Flip Lid Letter File Box, you can take it with you down to the accountant’s office for help with your taxes or down to the office – wherever you need it most!

Plastic Bins for Cat Boxes

reg-1274823109-139090Did you know that plastic bins make great litter boxes in a pinch?  Here is how I know this:  About a week ago my cat came home with an abscessed wound from fighting.  So of course he has to stay inside for a few weeks.  The problem is that he is normally a mostly-outdoor cat, running around the property and keeping the rodent population down.  Since I already have an indoor cat, and the outdoor cat needed to be kept in the laundry room for his inside stay, I had to come up with a second litter box on the spot.  So I went out to the garage, grabbed and older plastic bin from the corner that was not being used, filled it with litter and stuck it in the bathroom.  And guess what, the cats love it!  And when my outdoor cat’s indoor stay is over, I can simply recycle the old plastic bin.

What unusual uses have you found for your plastic bins over the years?

Plastic Bins for Christmas

Plastic Storage Box with Wing-top Lid If we are going to talk about a “season” for plastic bins, Christmas has to be near the top of that list.  Besides the summer, in which we see a huge influx of demand for plastic bins and boxes due to people cleaning out their sheds and garages, December (And more importantly January), demand for plastic boxes soars!  Why?  Because in January people are taking down their holiday decorations and scratching their heads, trying to figure out where to put them!  Plastic bins serve a very important role when it comes to holiday storage, as they provide rigid hard sides and edges to protect seasonal decorations, which tend to be both sentimental and breakable simultaneously.  My pick this year for best in Christmas Storage is the  Wing Top Plastic Box (shown above).  This multi tasking wonder features that important rigid plastic like we were talking about, and has many other features to get excited about:

1.  Removable Lights Storage – Included with the box are corrugated cardboard reels for winding Christmas lights around to keep them tangle free.  If you don’t need special lights storage at the moment, read on…

2.  Ornament Storage – These hard plastic boxes are absolutely essential for holding your breakable holiday decorations.  Wrap any breakables carefully in bubble wrap to avoid breakage while stored in here, and don’t store glass globes as they are simply too breakable – a specially designed ornament holder is much better for those.

3.  Stackable – Easy to stack, these wing top plastic boxes can be kept in the back of a closet, out in the shed or in the garage.

4.  It’s Red! That’s right, red = easier to find when the season comes around again next year!

5.  Easy close tops – the tops of these plastic bins are some of the easiest to open and close – no pinched fingers and struggling with a stubborn locking lid.