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Recycled Storage Ideas

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Recycled storage ideas for your bead stash

I bought bungee cords yesterday -ooo! Handy though they are, the acquisition of glorified rubber bands would not usually rate a blog post. But as I picked up scissors to do my usual thing with the packaging, I thought y’all might like to see some of the recycling ideas that I’ve found practical enough to adopt in my beading studio.

The scourge of plastic packaging!

My bungees came in plastic with a little dish molded into it. I’ve gotten into the habit of trimming the excess off the ‘dish’ and using these trays for all kinds of stop-rolling-around-on-the-table-type applications. When trimming, keep a bit of a lip for structural integrity and round the corners – the cut plastic corners can be a little sharp.

Getting a little more mileage out of plastic packaging.

My shoebox full of recycled trays has a good variety of shapes and sizes, including two of my favorites: Gerber baby food lids, and the tops of Swarovski Elements clamshell packages (front and center in the photo, with the recycling  triangle in the corner).

A tray for every occasion!

Extending the idea – where there are cats, there are cat litter containers. A box cutter and a good scrubbing turns these into handy organizing bins on my bead shelves (where you can also see some of my re-purposed plastic egg cartons in action).

When you’re cutting the cat litter boxes it helps to know that the plastic isn’t the same thickness all the way around. Your knife will require a lot of pressure to move very slowly through the reinforced points near the handle/spout and base, and then will zip surprisingly quickly and possibly not in the intended direction through the sides. Just remember to reduce the force you’re applying as you feel the plastic start to yield more easily. My label stickers are made with leftover self-adhesive shelf lining (a.k.a. “contact paper”) – it stays put but comes off easily when you want it to, and Sharpies work great on it.

Cat litter containers sliced in two between the handle and spout make surprisingly useful storage bins.