Every antique mall, thrift store, tag sale-loving person dreams of finding that magic piece of junk that they can convert into a repurposed masterpiece. If the words "One person's trash is another person's treasure" have ever crossed your lips, you've likely been stung by the upcycle bug. The trouble comes when you dream of upcyling, but you only have a small space to store your creations. The good news is, getting creative can solve your small space problems... and on a budget no less!
The issue with most small spaces is not necessarily having to live in a cramped area, but more struggling to find appropriate storage for belongings without having to spend a fortune on furniture. This is especially true for struggling college students, studio-apartment dwellers, and first-time homeowners. This is where upcycling projects step in and save the day.
These ideas can showcase your personality, even if you don't have a huge budget, and can maximize your storage potential.
The Pie Holder
Yes, bookshelves are the essential upcycling project because they can take on so many different forms. Books come in all shapes and sizes, and just about any vessel can hold them. Some people prefer beautifully constructed book shelves for their space, but this pie cooling shelf makes an excellent substitute for small space storage.
Most bookshelves span a rather large area and essentially look like big open boxes. The pie cooling shelf can hold small and large books alike. It's nice and short, so it can fit into areas with minimal wall space or low ceilings. It's highly stackable, not to mention- charming! The pie cooling shelf has character (notice the bakers note on this being the apple pie shelf).
Best part: it was only five bucks!
Ornament Jewelry Hangers
Ornaments are not just for the holidays anymore! They make great use out of small spaces because they create an opportunity to hang. The sales that take place after the holidays are the perfect time to load up on (functional) ornaments to upcycle.
Ornaments with holes or gaps create opportunity for hanging necklaces or bracelets. When you dangle them from the ceiling, you not only create a beautiful upcycled decoration, but also prevent tangling. It leaves a little extra space on your shelf for non-hanging items and a little extra sparkle for fun!
The Window Frame
Window frames have become a popular upcycling material because they're easy to come by and you can do so much with them. With a little wire and a little tape, you can be looking out a window into another world: a world of sweet memories. Use the window frame as a cheap alternative to expensive, newly purchased frames.
Alternatively, putting a landscape-type picture into your window frame also gives the illusion of a more open space where you can look out, especially if you live in a space without a view.
You can also use window frames to hang just about anything you have around the house—jewelry, scarves, dried herb, you name it!
The Upcycled Corner
Let's face it. Not only do small spaces lack ideal storage, but also sometimes the layout of the house just has little nooks that seem to serve no purpose. Introducing the Upcycled Corner!
Nooks in the home are not just for time-out anymore (although a creative time-out corner sounds like an upcycle project in the making). Instead, nooks should be treated like small space gold. It's a great time to take full advantage of an unused wall and get crafty.
It's also the time to sing the praises of a simple hook. Hooks can convert drab areas to colorful scarf walls. Hooks can hold hats that normally clog closets in clunky boxes.
The corner seen above is furnished with thrifty or upcycled materials. A 100-pack of small hooks found at a flea market for $1 is used to hold the scarves. The flower vase is actually from an science beaker kit, repurposed to hold flowers. The barrel is used to store board games, topped off with a vintage chessboard to keep it covered and do double-duty as a tabletop for a gorgeous, old-school typewriter.
Boring Old Mailbox
Simply spray painting a thrown-out mailbox takes a once everyday object and converts it to a fun way to store mail indoors. Junk mail and bills have the tendency to clutter a table or pile up in a fruit bowl somewhere in your house, right? Well, putting a funky painted mailbox into your home clears the clutter and makes it fun to sort through the mail you've been ignoring all week.
Think elementary school Valentine's Day desk mailbox. Who doesn't like looking through a special box with their name on it?
Plus, if you're really feeling spunky, slip in an encouraging note to yourself and throw it in. When you go to sift through the mail, you'll get a pleasant surprise— you upcycling genius, you!
Drawer turned Shelf
Moving into a smaller space can mean abandoning old furniture. Or, as you might have guessed, it creates an opportunity to upcycle! While a large dresser may not fit into a small space or awkward closet, but one of the drawers taken out might be a perfect shoe organizer.
The backbone of upcycling on a budget in your tiny space is to look at what you already have, or can obtain for a low-cost, and turn it into something functional. Simply taking a drawer out of a dresser or asking for a wooden wine crate at your local package store could solve your storage problems.
Get creative and reinvent the wheel with an upcycling storage project. You'll never look at a pile of junk the same way again!
H.R. Helm is an accomplished DIY craftsman. He has been DIY since childhood and is now a septuagenarian. He is experienced in wood and metal construction, having designed and built several houses and metal buildings. He built every permanent building on his current homestead and did all the plumbing and electrical work.
He has several years experience as a professional cabinet builder, and he is an accomplished auto repairman, having operated an auto repair business for many years. He currently has a home shop where he sharpens and rebuilds saws, repairs lawn mowers, mobility scooters, hydraulic jacks, and anything else that comes along. He also builds custom tools for metal working.
Invention prototypes are another of his many accomplishments. He owned and operated a manufacturing business building Compact Utility Vehicles for homeowner use. H.R. enjoys making jams and jellies during fruit season along with cooking meals. He is committed to outdoor cooking in a Bar-B-Q pit he welded together several years ago. He maintains fruit and nut trees along with helping his wife with a vegetable garden. He farmed commercial garden produce for several years. It helps to have over 50 years of farming and ranching experience.
ASE Certified Master Auto Technician
Cross country truck driver -- over dimensional freight
Design Engineer/Project Manager for injection molded plastic company
Bus Driver/Substitute Teacher
Inventor with two patents (weight training &ndash; anti-rollback for manual wheelchair)
BS in Industrial Technology