Here are some pictures of my "Round 1" version of storage containers for the boys' rooms. I took regular printer paper boxes and trimmed off one corner. (The cut takes off 7 inches of the top of the box and about 4 inches off the front of the box). The tops aren't attached; they just add a tiny bit of stability, and they allow me to stack things on top.
They aren't gorgeous, I admit. But it's still Round 1 -- we're still testing the concept. If these end up working as well as they seem to (and two weeks into the experiment, I'm really pleased), it'll be easy to decorate these with paint and stickers.
Based on the criteria I listed yesterday, here's how well they work.
- The holes make it easy for the boys to put things away.
- The holes make it easy for the boys to take things out. Each box is for one kind of thing, and each box is portable, so a kid can carry it to where he's playing and get things out there, if he wants. It's also easy to see what's in the box.
- They're cheap. I salvage the boxes from work, for free.
- They're environmentally kind. When a box gets ruined (which will definitely happen), I can recycle the cardboard at work -- in fact, since these boxes would have been recycled anyway, I'm just postponing the inevitable.
- They're versatile. Like the cinder block/board construction of shelves that were popular among thrifty folks of my parents' generation, these boxes can be easily repurposed for lots of uses. I've started using them in my garage for lots of things (hazardous materials waiting to go to the dump; books to donate to our public library; gardening supplies). I've got a box or two in my towel closet now (one for light bulbs; one for ace bandages and heating pads). I've got another set of boxes in the closet in my sewing room now. I could imagine doing a similar thing with smaller boxes (like shoe boxes) to hold smaller items.
- Aesthetically, these aren't Martha Stewart. My boys don't at all seem to mind, but I'm still thinking about spray paint or other cosmetic changes.
- The boxes fit well on our closet shelves, which are deep, but they don't fit well on standard bookshelves. So I'm trying to decide whether I want to modify the boxes or the shelves they sit on. Based on how well this is working, I'm leaning toward building larger shelves.