Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Small Item Storage

Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Small Item Storage
Craft storage doesn’t have to be pricey – look around the house for unused items!

Who’s up for an inexpensive and easy-to-find storage solution?

How about a simple solution for keeping items in drawers sorted and accessible?

We’ve got a “Now why didn’t I think of that?!” solution for you…

Ice cube trays!

Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items - Ice Cube Trays! (image)
Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Ice Cube Trays

Not only do their compartments have sloped sides, making it easy to retrieve tiny items (just place your finger on what you want and slide it up the side!), they’re also short in stature, meaning they’ll easily fit into shallow drawers (drawers that often go unused because nothing fits in them!).

You can find ice cube trays for a dollar or two at household goods retailers like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as at dollar stores, garage sales and thrift stores.

Heck, you might even have a few lying around from the days when our refrigerators didn’t automatically make ice and dispense it for us!

Here are just a few suggestions for items that could be stored in an ice cube tray:

  • sewing machine bobbins (filled or empty)
  • sewing notions (hooks, snaps, small safety pins, buttons, buckles, etc.)
  • calligraphy pen nibs
  • stitch markers and row counters for knitting and crocheting
  • papercrafting embellishments (including the small leftovers from opened embellishment packs)
  • beads (most sizes will fit in the compartments and you could use the compartments for holding your beads as you “design” a piece)
  • jewelry findings (jump rings, spacers, short headpins, bead caps, cabochons, charms, etc.)
  • metal stamping supplies (stamping blanks, letter stamps, etc.)
  • leathercrafting supplies (grommets, studs, small buckles and zipper pulls, tool bits, etc.)
  • clay art supplies (small shape cutters, etc.)
  • even found treasures (pebbles, tiny dried flowers, bottle caps, etc.)

Now, you may be concerned about items falling out (like they might if the tray is tipped or dropped), right?

Well, if that’s a concern because the tray may need to be transported (or ends up in the hands of a little one), simply purchase lidded ice cube trays.

Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items - Lidded Ice Cube Trays! (image)
Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Lidded Ice Cube Trays

The lids either slide or snap on and will protect your items should you or someone else bump, tip or drop the tray.

Now I do want to point out that, depending on the style of lidded ice cube tray you buy (or find at home), the lid may not fit tightly against the top edge of the individual compartments (see the image above) – this means that items in the compartments may get mixed together if the tray is tipped on its side or dropped.

Another option is this tray below which has grooves in the lid that align with the compartment edges, providing a “seal” to the compartments:

Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items - Ice Cube Tray with Lid That Seals the Compartments! (image)
Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Ice Cube Tray with Lid That Seals the Compartments

Are you a craft class teacher?

Ice cube trays could be a wonderful solution for you two!

Count out small supplies and place them in the tray’s compartments.

Then place the filled trays down the centers of the tables where your students will sit – you’ll know you have enough supplies for everyone and your students will have easy access.

Perhaps you own an Etsy, Big Cartel or Artfire store and you could use an organizing and storage solution for your small, finished goods, a solution that provides easy accessibility when packing orders?

Or maybe you always include a little surprise for your customers?

Consider ice cube trays!

But wait, there’s more!

What about using the compartments for mixing paints?

Just add a few drops of the colors you want to mix and start stirring – a custom paint pallet is just seconds away!

And if you use lidded trays, or wrap the trays tightly with plastic wrap or place them in zipper baggies, you could even store your paint in these trays.

Hate putting away items after creating, but need to make sure you can easily find them when you need them?

Consider an ice cube tray as a “catch-all,” a place to keep your small leftover items until you need them, or have time to put them back where you found them.

Now you might wonder why a former organizer would recommend such a thing, right?

While I do subscribe to the “put it where it belongs when you’re done using it” school of thought, I’m also realistic.

I know that many creatives hate putting away odds and ends when they’ve just enjoyed a great creative session. (Confession: I sometimes fall in that camp too!)

Because the compartments in these trays are small, I’m not worried that you’ll use this as a permanent dumping ground. Eventually, you’ll either have to use the items, put them away or get rid of them – all good options for keeping your space from being overwhelmed by stuff!

To close, here’s one final tray recommendation…
If you enjoy junking like I do, keep your eyes open for the old-fashioned ice cube trays (they’re aluminum and have a lever which you pull to release the ice cubes – remember those?) – they are rather cool looking and could be easily painted to match your craft space decor.

The one below is a replica of an old-school tray I recently spotted at the Austin City Wide Garage Sale:

Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items - Retro Ice Cube Tray by OXO (image)
Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Retro Ice Cube Tray by OXO

Of course the replica shown above is quite a bit more expensive than the “real” one I saw (it was only $3 and this one is $24!), but this is an option if you want to add a vintage vibe to your crafting space.

OK kids that’s it for today’s budget storage suggestion.

We hope we’ve given you some food for thought –
drink in these ideas (pun intended!) and consider how
YOU might make use of ice cube trays in your crafting space.

And please share your thoughts with everyone.

We know y’all are creative and
we bet there’ll be some great ideas!

Thanks for tuning in today and happy organizing,
Steph & The CSI Team

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2 thoughts on “Craft Storage Ideas: Repurposing Household Items – Small Item Storage”

  1. Great tip! They really do hold all sorts of little things nicely so that they are not floating around on your work space! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Barb,

      We’re glad you liked this solution. I have some shallow drawers and they are filled with adhesives. I am considering swapping those items to another solution and adding ice cube trays to the drawers. Then, I’ll fill ’em with colorful goodies!


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