Even chargers deserve a nice home. With four kids ages 7 to 17, Brenda McDevitt was finding chargers,
tablets, cords, and cell phones all over her suburban Pittsburgh home. She wanted a centrally located
storage center and looked no further than the perfect-sized container that happened to already be in her
home: a vintage suitcase she was using in a decorative display.
“I’ve always loved the look of them,” says McDevitt, who admits to collecting old suitcases from mostly
roadsides. “I’ve never paid for one, and I always have a couple of suitcases laying around for things like
magazine storage. Or I’ll put them under a bench or on top of a cabinet.”
McDevitt relined this vintage case with a cheery fabric to make the inside of the charging station as chic as
the outside. She then drilled some holes in the back for the cords to exit and left a power cord inside so
everyone can plug in their devices out of sight.
4. Plastic Magazine Racks Become ... Freezer Organizers
Anyone who has ever had something fall out of the freezer onto his toes knows the dangers of rifling through bags
of frozen vegetables, packages of meat, breads, and leftovers. The fix is so simple — plastic magazine racks. (If you
don’t have some lying around, you can find them at an office supply store for $6 or less.) Slide them in your fridge
and fill them up. Your toes will thank you.
5. Window Frame Becomes... Hanging Bathroom Storage
Who says a window can’t be a door? Erica Hebel wanted to create a rustic-looking storage cupboard for her “itty bitty powder room that is ridiculously shaped and hard to get into” in suburban Chicago. She began with a $3 wood window purchased at a barn sale. “A bit worn, but that adds to its character,” she says.
Hebel cleaned the wood and the glass panes. Then she built a cabinet box with three pine boards for shelves, plywood for the back and, a few small hinges using a brad nailer, a stud detector and a Kreg jig.
6. Stool Becomes ... Gift Wrap Organizer
When the cardboard box housing Sarah Ramberg's wrapping paper finally gave out, she remembered a photo she had seen of an upside-down stool used to corral fabric bolts. That led her to an idea.
The Greenville, S.C., "biologist by day" spray painted an old stool, slathered on a coat of sealant, and put four casters on the seat so she can "wrap and roll from room to room. "Ramberg cut a "crazy print" thrift store pillow casein half to create catch-all pouches to attach the side. "It's a 'low sew' project," she says. And low-cost, too: The stool was from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and four swivel casters cost as little as $6.
7. Filing Cabinet Becomes ... Garage Workbench
Yay! Renee Fuller of Midlothian, Va., got a chain saw for Mother’s Day. Where to put it? When she saw how expensive a new tool storage solution would be to buy, she thought of an old lateral filing cabinet stuffed with junk sitting in her garage.
Fuller spray-painted the cabinet with grey Rust-Oleum and made two rectangles in chalkboard spray paint for drawer labels. Then, she put inexpensive wheels on the bottom. The top is a laminated countertop a neighbor had thrown away. Fuller attached it with SPAX multi-material screws. Total cost of the project: $35.
8. Kitchen Cabinets Become ... Dining Room Storage
Who knew unwanted oak kitchen cabinets plus old fence wood could equal a built-in dining room buffet? Pulled from a kitchen Connie Harper’s husband was helping a friend remodel, the cabinets fit perfectly along the wall in the Harpers’ Tyler, Texas, dining room.
The cabinets were in good condition, so the Harpers lightly sanded the doors, painted the interior and exterior
with white satin paint, and bought new, bronze-finished metal hardware and hinges. The top is old pine fence
board from a fence they’d taken down. They laid the pieces side by side, sanded them lightly, and sealed the top
with a coat of polyurethane.
“It gives me satisfaction to see something that’s headed to the dumpster, bring it home, and give it new life,”
Harper says. The project took about two days and cost $25 for the hardware.