If your New Year’s resolution this year is to get organized, you’re not alone.  While sorting your craft supplies and tools may be a tedious undertaking, the effort will pay off when you know exactly where that pink gingham fabric went and you can tell at a glance if you have enough E600 glue left to finish a large project.   Retailers offer a bunch of storage solutions, but what if you don’t have any extra cash to spend on plastic totes and other organizational products?  Here are a few ideas for organizing your stash using things that may otherwise end up in the garbage can.

1.  Linen  bags

Many household linens, including curtains, sheet sets, and tablecloths, typically come packaged in zippered plastic bags.  These bags are great for storing fabric, yarn, or other soft supplies.  The clear bags make it easy to tell what’s inside at a glance while keeping the contents dust-free.  I like to use them to keep all of my skeins of yarn for specific projects packaged together.  As an added bonus, it also keeps my kitties from getting at the yarn and making a “project” of their own!

The size of these bags varies greatly, making them perfect for all kinds of applications.  Smaller bags, like those from curtain panels or pillowcases,  are great for keeping fabric scraps.   Large bags from comforters are great for storing fabric yardage or open packages of polyfill and quilt batting.  The bags are nice for long-term storage as well, protecting the contents from both dirt and moisture.

2.  Spice bottles

A while back, I found a 32-bottle, wall-mounted spice rack at one of my favorite dollar stores.  Score!  Since then, I’ve been saving empty bottles from herbs and spices as I use them up in the kitchen.  The bottles are perfect for holding all kinds of small supplies: buttons, beads, gemstones, googly eyes, and so on.  Remove the labels from the empty spice bottles before filling them with craft supplies so that you can easily see the contents.

Other types of containers will fit in spice racks as well.  If you have little ones, you already know about the wonders of baby food jars.  Supplies that come in appropriately sized bottles, like craft paints and glues, may also fit nicely into a spice rack for easily accessible storage.

3.  Plastic food containers

We’re avid recyclers around our house, and anything that is made from #1 or #2 plastic typically goes straight into the recycling bin.  However, I prefer to reuse things first if possible, and sometimes I also end up with other types of plastic containers that (despite having a recycling logo on them) are non-recyclable.  Some of these food containers, like the kind that many bakery and produce items come in, are ideal for storing all kinds of supplies.  (Wash them out first, of course!)

Note that some of these containers, especially ones that come holding fruits and veggies, may have holes in the bottom for drainage, so  they may not work well for tiny odds and ends.  Use smaller containers to hold things like pom poms and flat glass marbles; larger containers are great for items such as colored pencils or spools of ribbon.  Additionally, if you use several of the same size container for storage, they stack nicely together on a shelf or workbench.

What other kinds of recycled storage can you think of for craft supplies?