More Plastic Storage Containers

Gatorade® Drink Mix Canisters

These boldly colored canisters are among my favorite plastic storage containers. The idea of just tossing out these tremendously sturdy containers makes the borderline environmentalist in me cringe. They’re so potentially useful!

Granted they’re orange, which in my mind disqualifies them as displayable storage. But they've got handy screw on lids, and they’re just the right size for storing all sorts of little doodads around the house.

Here are some of the many items we keep organized in these repurposed storage containers:

  • Screws, nails, nuts, bolts, hinges and sundry small hardware items
  • Buttons or beads
  • Padlocks (Don’t ask me why, but we have a collection)

Above: An empty Gatorade®  container stores a collection of Alan wrenches in the garage.  Below: A collection of Gatorade® containers house various screws, nails and other hardware.

Nestle Quick Canisters®

Like Gatorade® containers these yellow canisters are a bit unsightly.  But as far as free plastic storage containers go, these canisters are oh so versatile! Here are just a few suggestions of things to store in them:

  • seasoning packets (ex. taco seasoning)
  • drink mix packets
  • tea bags
  • bulk dry goods
  • cookie cutters
  • cake decorating supplies
  • crayons, colored pencils, or markers (the boxes never hold up)
  • other children’s art supplies (scissors, glue sticks, etc.)
  • alphabet magnets
  • rubber stamps
  • marbles


Other Drink Mix Canisters (such as Kool-Aid® or Country Time®)

These opaque white canisters are suitably attractive to be used as displayable storage containers. Place a collection of them on a shelf in a craft room or office filled with a variety of small supplies. Stick fun labels on the front to dress them up and unify them.

The nice thing about these plastic storage containers is the deep lid.  Whether you're storing beads or screws, you can shake a few out into the lid to work with as needed.  

Plastic Soda or Juice Bottles

We don't typically think of soda and juice bottles as plastic storage containers, but there is one thing they are perfect for storing: water.

With major storms and other natural disasters regularly knocking out power for days at a time, it’s always a good idea to keep some water stored in bottles for emergencies. Soda and juice bottles are food grade, so they are safe to use as water storage.

Water Storage Stash

It's a good idea to rotate stored water once a year, especially water you've stored yourself. Algae and bacteria can grow and develop over time.  Your water may be perfectly safe, but who wants to take that gamble in an emergency?  

Just use the stored water on your lawn, flower beds or garden or wash your car with it.  That way the water doesn't go to waste and you can be more confident that your water is fresh and safe for consumption.

TIP: How to Store Water

Of the two types of bottles listed above, juice bottles are preferable to soda bottles for the simple reason that they have a wider mouth which makes them easier to refill from any size spigot. This can be important in an emergency. In addition, they are more ergonomically designed and therefore less slippery (especially when wet) making them easier to tote around if need be. It’s a good idea, however, to store water in various containers as they become available.

To prepare your bottle for water storage, simply fill it about half full with warm water and add a drop or two of dish detergent. Cap the bottle and shake it vigorously multiple times. Dump out the soapy water and rinse thoroughly.  It doesn't hurt to boil some water and swish it around inside the clean bottle to further sanitize it.

Once your bottle is sufficiently clean, fill it with regular tap water and add 4 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water – that’s just 2 drops for a 2 liter or half gallon bottle.

Do not use plastic milk jugs to store water. The type of plastic used for these jugs degrades quickly.

Before you spend a lot of money on fancy plastic storage containers, look in the recycle bin. Anytime you come across a particularly serviceable container, consider ways you might put it to use as a free storage container in your home.

A word of caution, though: don't get carried away! Remember our ultimate goal is to declutter. Collecting cool containers for the sake of collecting is counterproductive to our cause. The point here is to save money (and as a bonus the environment) by repurposing.

Have A Great Idea for a Free Storage Container?

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