Author Topic: Is it OK to use cardboard boxes for storage in the living room and bedroom?  (Read 1182 times)

Coiny

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I can't afford proper shelves, bins, drawers etc. unless I dip into my emergency fund. The cheapest option is to buy a bundle of cardboard boxes from Home Depot. Is it OK to use those as storage just like normal people use bins? Is it true that cardboard attracts bugs?

I'm thinking of just stacking them in a corner neatly.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 09:34:27 AM by Coiny »

dreams_and_discoveries

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It depends on where you live climate wise.

Fine in the UK, less ideal in the tropics.

IKEA has some pretty cardboard storage boxes as well.

pbkmaine

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Rather than cardboard boxes, why not ask friends, family and coworkers if they have an extra dresser they aren’t using? My husband furnished his entire first apartment from attics, basements and garages of people he knew.

martyconlonontherun

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Goodwill probably will have ugly dressers. Buy some paint at a habitat for humanity resale store and I bet the costs will be similar with you getting a sturdier product.

ketchup

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I've used copy paper boxes (10 ream boxes) taken from work that would have been recycled otherwise.  See if you can scare up some of those (free if someone is already buying paper).  They are super sturdy (paper is heavy after all).

lentil

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I store many things in cardboard boxes, and have no issues with bugs (but then, I am in an area with cold winters...other climates may produce different results).

You should be able to get free cardboard boxes from many places. I usually just go to my supermarket when they are stocking shelves and ask if I can take some empty boxes (inspect them for spilled food and for residual odors first!). I prefer boxes that held canned goods, or similar, which are both sturdy and odor-free. You can also call businesses that are local to you and ask if/when they set out boxes for recycling. My food bank always has a ton of boxes, because they get boxed donations; offices that use copy paper often have paper boxes; liquor stores often have wine or beer boxes free for the taking; and my "health/natural foods" type stores set boxes out for customers to use in lieu of bags...lots of ways to find free boxes!

Also where I live: there is free furniture on CL, as well as groups like Buy Nothing (on Facebook) or Freecycle (on yahoo groups). Several of my local thrift stores have very low prices and/or 1/2 price days, so that I can find furniture for under $5 (sometimes it's pretty crappy furniture, sometimes it just needs a little cosmetic repair). I realize this varies by location, and that you may not have a car, but things like plastic bins or wire shelves can be transported on a bike or bus pretty well. If you have a college near you, then dumpster-diving during the weekend when students move out (or for all of finals week) can produce shockingly good free stuff. Just to give you an idea of a few places to look, though YMMV. Good luck!

Coiny

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It depends on where you live climate wise.

Fine in the UK, less ideal in the tropics.

IKEA has some pretty cardboard storage boxes as well.
Thank you so much, I'm in Canada so hopefully it's OK. The IKEA boxes would work if I could afford them.

Coiny

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Rather than cardboard boxes, why not ask friends, family and coworkers if they have an extra dresser they arenít using? My husband furnished his entire first apartment from attics, basements and garages of people he knew.
Thank you, that's a good idea except I need to move the stuff around a lot, sometimes I need to empty the room for another purpose, and I can't lift heavy things. I was hoping the boxes would be easier to move. I'll keep your suggestions in mind!

Coiny

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Thank you Lentil and Ketchup! Great ideas! I am enjoying your stories!

Coiny

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Thank you Marty, this would work if I had a car. I appreciate your input!

socaso

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Check whatever freebie lists exist in your area. In mine it's Craigslist or Freecycle. I see shelves and dressers on those all the time.

Catbert

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You can always throw a tablecloth, throw, or length of fabric if you're concerned about the pile of boxes look.

lizzzi

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I use a heavy-duty bankers box as a "business" box under the Parson's table I use for a desk. It is the only cardboard box I use for storage. (Don't have much, so don't need much storage. The best way to store things is not to have them in the first place. lol) This bankers box has my most important desk paperwork that I want to keep handy...takes the place of a filing cabinet. I live in a four-season climate, so bugs and humidity are not normally an issue. (Upstate NY.)

elaine amj

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I've never had a problem. And a tablecloth/fabric hides many things :)

That said, I find those cardboard boxes quite expensive. It's often cheaper just to buy a cupboard from Walmart or something. I also like those plastic drawer towers and have a bunch of them around my house. Not so pretty, but functional, cheap, and lightweight.

partgypsy

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Better to buy some Rubbermaid containers which are not much more money than cardboard boxes. They are air tight, waterproof, so you don't have to worry about bugs, moth, dust getting on your items. I personally would not store clothes, books etc long term in cardboard boxes.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 02:32:29 PM by partgypsy »

lizzzi

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Better to buy some Rubbermaid containers which are not much more money than cardboard boxes. They are air tight, so you don't have to worry about bugs, moth, dust getting on your items. I personally would not store clothes, books etc long term in cardboard boxes.

I have noticed in my apartment complex that many people use the Rubbermaid type of large storage bins. They seem to be very practical, and easy enough to move from apartment to apartment--I've seen several people moving in or out with those big bins in the back of their vehicles.

HipGnosis

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I am in a small house w/o a basement, so storage is limited.  Due to that, I have cardboard boxes in every room except my kitchen - and that's only due to the small size of the kitchen.
I don't put them directly on the floor.  I have some cheap rubber/plastic door mats and a carpet runner I've cut up.
I also don't put them directly against the wall. 
They are easy to decorate with (cheap) wrapping paper or contact paper.  Don't bother decorating the sides that aren't visible.

I thought I would replace them (at least the bottom ones) with plastic storage bins, but it's been years, only one box sagged and I have more boxes than I know what to do with from buying things on amazon.

galliver

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I don't like boxes sitting out from an aesthetic perspective, but I (and my mom, since I was a kid) had things sitting in cardboard in closets and under the bed for years with no problems.

Best places for getting good boxes free, IME, are bookstores. They are sturdy, clean, and a good size. There may be a day or time they have boxes picked up, so if they don't have any at a given time, ask when they might!

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pbkmaine

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Rather than cardboard boxes, why not ask friends, family and coworkers if they have an extra dresser they aren’t using? My husband furnished his entire first apartment from attics, basements and garages of people he knew.
Thank you, that's a good idea except I need to move the stuff around a lot, sometimes I need to empty the room for another purpose, and I can't lift heavy things. I was hoping the boxes would be easier to move. I'll keep your suggestions in mind!

You can put any dresser on wheels or casters. Locking ones might be ideal for you.

BTDretire

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Why pay for the boxes?
I like banana boxes for storage, I do add an extra piece in the botton to cover the hole in the center. Best to glue it in place. Roma Tomato boxes are smaller and still have a top.
 25 years ago, my immigrant brother in law had his kids put all their daily clothes in cardboard boxes. All his money went to savings and funds to build his business. He's very well off today.
  A story about boxes, My mother was a cub scout leader and then a girl scout leader. She also never drove a car. She used cardboard boxes for storage and transport of the scout supplies.
 One day she found her walking to a meeting carrying a Beer Carton in her girl scout atire.
It was painted the next day. I remember that yellow box 50 years later :-)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 10:19:43 AM by BTDretire »

ketchup

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Why pay for the boxes?
I like banana boxes for storage, I do add an extra piece in the botton to cover the hole in the center. Best to glue it in place. Roma Tomato boxes are smaller and still have a top.
 25 years ago, my immigrant brother in law had his kids put all their daily clothes in cardboard boxes. All his money went to savings and funds to build his business. He's very well off today.
  A story about boxes, My mother was a cub scout leader and then a girl scout leader. She also never drove a car. She used cardboard boxes for storage and transport of the scout supplies.
 One day she found her walking to a meeting carrying a Beer Carton in her girl scout atire.
It was painted the next day. I remember that yellow box 50 years later :-)
Not paying for boxes is ideal.  I know a guy that years ago built a PC using spare parts and a box of MGD as the case (he really didn't want to buy another case):

Maenad

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You can always throw a tablecloth, throw, or length of fabric if you're concerned about the pile of boxes look.

I still remember the day in my childhood when I lifted up the tablecloth from the side table and found that the table was made of cardboard. I do recommend having a single piece of plywood or something as the top, so that if you set anything on it the weight will be more evenly distributed.

jooniFLORisploo

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Yep! My peeps, too, have been doing this for years, in extremely dry and extremely wet climates, no problems. I love the versatility, and the compactness for moving.

Some drape fabric from the thrift over them.

I recently switched to pretty, coloured, plastic filing milk crates from Staples and love them even more -pretty as they are, stackable, convert well to shelving/tables/desks, can put hanging files in them, etc.

FI4good

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I bought a box of those tumble drier sheets so my clothes don't smell too much of cardboard .

wallpaper, decoupage and paint are ways to brighten things up .

MrsPete

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No, I wouldn't want cardboard boxes as semi-permanent storage -- no matter how neatly the boxes were stacked.

When I was young and poor, I created a stack-up dresser from plain boards (wrapped in pretty fabric) and milk crates.  It wasn't wonderful, but I could everything, and it worked. 

I like someone else's suggestion to get an old cheap dresser from Goodwill or a friend.  I really think you can get a dresser for $25-50, then paint it. 

jooniFLORisploo

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I really think you can get a dresser for $25-50, then paint it.

It's not necessarily about cash, though, in those of us choosing boxes/crates. I can't stand dressers, or any heavier, bulkier, nonconfigurable furniture. My last place came with dressers, beds, etc... I sent it all out and put nice crates in :)   It felt like a dramatic improvement, and visitors all exclaimed about how much roomier and fresher the place was.

stashgrower

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Cardboard seems to work ok with no problems. I use recycled boxes.

Sibley

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Obviously, whatever your storage solution, do some decluttering to get rid of stuff you don't need. Less to store!

Dicey

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I can't afford proper shelves, bins, drawers etc. unless I dip into my emergency fund. The cheapest option is to buy a bundle of cardboard boxes from Home Depot. Is it OK to use those as storage just like normal people use bins? Is it true that cardboard attracts bugs?

I'm thinking of just stacking them in a corner neatly.
The cheapest thing to do is not to buy boxes, but to look for free options, as others have suggested previously. There is so much stuff out there. Just put the word out and it will come. Good luck to you on your journey to FI.
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Freedomin5

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If you're in Canada, definitely search Craigslist or Kijiji for free furniture/boxes. Also, not sure what part of Canada you're in, but in Ontario at least, Price Chopper, Food Basics, Valumart, etc. are all grocery stores that have sturdy boxes you can take for free.