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Cheap & Alternative Storage Ideas

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6 Reviews

Type: Storage Unit

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    6 Reviews
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      16.02.2003 16:09
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      Having recently set myself the task of installing a second networked PC in our home, and having got the technical side out of the way, I set about finding a desk to sit it on. (Just as soon as the categories appear, I'll be writing about the technical aspects.) We had agreed that this was to be a minimalist "workstation", i.e. just the PC case, monitor, keyboard and mouse. No printers, scanners, no nothing. In fact, the main case, being a mini-tower in format, would be sat under any desk, saving even more space. We also agreed that the only logical place to put it was in one corner of the dining room on as small a bench as possible. Ideally, this needed to be tailored to our needs, i.e. about 4'0" wide, 2'6" deep on the left, tapering to 1'6" deep on the right. That way, it wouldn't dwarf the small bureau next to which it was to sit, and blend more easily into the corner. The overall image I had in my head was of a table top, straight-edged at the back and sides but slightly kidney-shaped at the front. WHAT TO BUY It was fairly obvious that tables this precise shape are going to be as common as blue moons, as a perusal of the Brent Park branch of IKEA soon confirmed. However, what IKEA do have are free standing table legs, one called BYGSTE at £13 each, and the others, KAJ, £34 for a set of 4. The former are chrome-plated, and the latter a more subdued silver-grey paint-finish with a smart polished aluminium detailing at the top. They are both extendable to suit most heights from low dining table to high breakfast bar. My final purchase, the KAJ legs are marked at 1 cm intervals for ease of level set-up. It strikes me that these would be pretty useful if your table needs to stand on an uneven floor, or with one leg on thicker fitted carpet, such as that encountered by the skirting board. The tabletop was a dilemma in itself. What was needed was a material that
      was a) fairly decorative, b) strong and capable of taking screws, c) workable and d) affordable. Then I remembered some off-cuts of very thick (20mm) plywood I had in the shed. Whilst only a foot square each, they gave me the means to practice and test them for strength. No amount of standing on them, unsupported, would bend them to any extent. Also, putting a more decorative chamfered edge on them with my router plane was successful without causing any damaging rips to the edge. Oh yes, and they looked good when treated with a coat of matte varnish. Plywood has this amazing ability for being stronger than a similar thickness of real wood, which tends to be strong in the direction of the grain, and weaker across the grain. Ply-wood with its sequence of layers all at 90 degrees to each other, embodies equal strength in all directions, plus a resistance to warping. So 20mm thick ply it was to be. The sooner someone decides that we go "metric" in its entirety the better. I'm getting sick of talking about m.p.g., when I buy petrol in litres, and likewise a 4' x 4' piece of 20mm plywood is a nonsense too! PUTTING IT TOGETHER I jig-sawed the new board to the shape needed, having already decided which side had the more "characterful veneer", rounding its two front corners using that essential precision tool, a biscuit barrel for my markings! The circular-section legs would later be screwed down concentric to these curves to compliment the shape. My next job was to chamfer the main board's edges with my router plane, to make it look a little less utilitarian, and sand off any rough patches. Then I placed the board face down and screwed the 4 leg mounting-cups into place at each corner, using the 20 screws provided. The legs would later be fitted to those mountings. Then I measured out the base requirements for the PC case with a generous margin of about 5 cm all round, and cut the of
      f-cut of plywood to size. I drilled a hole at each corner of this plank, into which I placed 6mm threaded stud (this is like a very long screw with no head**, designed to be hack-sawed to length). Each of these four rods had to be tailored the height of the PC case (plus an allowance for some airspace above and enough extra to pass almost all the way through both sheets of ply). **If you smile at the thought of studs, long screws and "no head", then your mind is elsewhere and on no account should you be considering the use of power tools right now! Then I drilled four smaller pilot holes into the underside of the table top to match the spacing of the holes in the shelf, being careful to make sure the shelf would hang far enough forwards so that any overhang of the work top was not going to limit access to the CD-ROM drive. Turning the worktop over onto the "good" side, I enlarged these holes with a 10mm-wide hole-cutter down to a depth just enough to lose a 6mm nut and washer in, and still leave room to cover the finished item with wood-coloured filler. (A hole-cutter is a cheaper alternative to a wide drill-bit, but looks more like a rotating spade). The studs through the lower shelf were clamped into place with nuts and washers on both sides, leaving as little thread showing underneath as possible - you wouldn't necessarily want to catch yourself on the bare end of this stuff whilst grovelling on the floor one day, although filing it off smooth helps! With the shelf upright, studs facing skywards, I put 4 more nuts onto each stud followed by their washers. I ran them down the studs about 4 cm to begin with. Then I offered up the studs to the 4 holes in the underside of the worktop - you might want to do this with the main legs fitted to give you some elbow room under there. I put a washer and nut onto each stud as it protrudes through the worktop. Then I screwed t
      hem down, by the minimum number of turns required for a good "bite" without protruding above the level of the worktop. The final stroke was to bring the four lose nuts back up each stud until they clamped onto the underside of the worktop. Voilà - four dabs of filler, some sanding and two coats of matte varnish later, and I had my tailor-made workstation. OTHER REFINEMENTS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO TRY. If you find the threaded studs a bit utilitarian (mine were stainless steel, so they don't look that bad), you could always sleeve them in chromed wardrobe rods, cut to a suitable length. In fact, this would make screwing the whole shebang together a lot simpler as it would only require nuts at either end of the stud. Screw pressure would clamp the chromed rod into place and hold the shelf at the correct distance all in one go. Alternatives to the expensive chromed rod would be copper central heating pipe or circular plastic cable-trunking. This could be sprayed silver to match the IKEA KAJ legs If your own space needs dictate an even smaller tabletop, you can buy a sliding drawer for your keyboard (£15 in PC World), which means that the top only needs to house the monitor and mouse mat. I may fit one of these anyway. All bolts, washers, studs and the chromed wardrobe rail and plastic trunking are available from www.screwfix.com. All in all, it has cost me about £55 to build, and I'm aware that many PC workstations are available for this kind of money, but none fit the corner I had in mind so exactly. OK, you may have no interest in building a workstation at all, and if so, thank you for reading this far. However, this idea of a tailored-to-fit table, buying the legs, and finding your own tabletop could adapt to several applications. What about those mock-Swedish nicknames that all the IKEA items have, eh? Can't wait for the KRAPPSIT toilet seat and the BOGGRÖL toilet pape
      r dispenser. Apparently, the DILLDÖ coat peg was very popular, as it didn't need batteries. p.s. If anyone is interested in how it turned out, I'll happily send them a digital photo of the finished item.

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        18.09.2001 04:51
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        As I have probably mentioned recently I have recently been in a car accident and so am off work getting better but bored. You know how it is boredom and being stuck in the house you begin to notice things that wouldn`t normally bother you. And so that takes me to our garage, not that I am stuck in the garage you understand!! Our garage leaks..that is an understatement, the bricks are crumbling and things get really damp in there. So we decided the time had come to sort things out. It was when the builders came to do the estimates I realised just how much junk we kept in there "just in case it came in!!" Anyway 6 car loads to the tip later we had a pile of stuff we wanted to keep and no where to store it as the rotten, second hand cupboards had made their last journey… to the tip!! And so to the purpose of this opinion …. shelving. I looked through various catalogues trying to find a suitable product. Ikea looked favourite but there shelving was wooden, could go rotten you see.. and it involved going to an Ikea to store.. a prospect that does not fill me with glee. So I searched through the Argos catalogue and spotted Keter shelving made of tough "plastic" requiring no maintenance… just what we needed. The unit we bought is a 4 tier unit. Size (H) 132.5 cm, (W) 69 cm, (D) 30 cm. It is light weight and easily assembled in minutes.. so it said! No bolts or screws involved and will not bend or buckle. Each shelf can hold up to 20kg provided the weight is distributed evenly. The package was small and light weight when we collected it from the store and came in black/grey. The assembly the is required is just fitting the supporting posts between the shelves, a process so easy that our two daughters (5 & 8) could do!! Once assembled the shelves are sturdy and very easy to carry. They are now laden with paint can, tools, oil cans etc and have sorted out our storage problem beautifully…..no al
        l I am waiting for is the garage to be repaired!!!! The shelves cost £9.99 in Argos but on a recent visit to the local B&Q warehouse I bought myself another two sets for £7.98 each. So if you are looking for some shelves I can highly recommend them

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          17.07.2001 22:41
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          I have just been having a general look around Dooyoo and have come across the category about storage ideas. As this was a problem to me when I first moved into the house I now occupy I thought I’d pass on the solutions I came up with. I thought I’d split them into the rooms where I have used them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t be used elsewhere of course. They aren’t necessarily cheap either but, as with most DIY, they can be done more cheaply or more expensively depending on your taste and pocket! Lounge In here I had got a hi fi unit with the hi fi on top and the records underneath, a bookcase, a TV on a stand and the floor space, which isn’t a lot, was very cluttered. A friend suggested moving my storage up onto the walls, and proceeded to give me some ideas about this. I now have two custom built cupboards, which fit exactly into the recesses either side of the chimney breast with two shelves over each. The cupboards are about 3 feet high and the first shelf is a couple of feet above that level and the second a foot or so above that. The storage is as follows – I have the TV, Playstation (in a special unit), and video (on top of the Playstation unit) on top of the left had cupboard with videos inside. I have part of my collection of Lilliput Lane cottages, books, ornaments and pictures of my Goddaughter on the shelves. I have the hi fi unit and CD’s on the top of the other cupboard with record, cookery books and audio cassettes inside. I have the rest of my Lilliput Lane cottages and books on the shelves above. This meant that I was using the previously wasted space in the recesses and I was able to get rid of the bookcase and the floor standing unit on which the hi fi previously sat. I had the cupboards and shelves built for me as I lived on my own at the time and it was not the sort of job that I would have been prepared to tackle. If youR
          17;re any good at DIY you could do it yourself and save on the cost. Kitchen The only storage in the kitchen, which isn’t conventional, is the jars that I recycle for staring dry goods. I have some nice coffee jars, which hold my dried fruit and some large Horlicks jars for my flour. I also have a set of Kilner jars, which I use each year when I make my own mincemeat. Bedroom I store my suitcases one inside the other like a set of Russian dolls, on top of the wardrobe. I have double drawer divan beds in each bedroom and the drawers are full of spare bedding, Christmas decorations, handbags, games, books, photographs etc. I don’t know what I would do without them! Study Our third bedroom was turned into a study when Ave came to live with me as we both have computers and both work on them regularly. We bought some cheap shelf unit from Ikea, which we have used for books, teddy bears, videos, and other sundry items such as the ghetto blaster, reel to reel tape recorder, sewing box etc. We also have a shelf containing all the toiletries we get for Christmas and birthdays so when we run out of something we go and get the next one off the shelf! It’s like having our own branch of Boots! General I store the items for my car boot sales in those plastic collapsible boxes so that when I don’t have much hanging around to be sold I can flatten the boxes and store them away. They were only about £4 for three in Asda last year and they have been invaluable. I also store a lot of the breakable items in a shopping trolley (the sort that older people tend to take out to carry their shopping in). It makes it neat and tidy for storage and I just have to put it in the car to transport all the stuff to the car boot sale. Shed I have put my old kitchen units with a couple of old bookshelves on top in the shed for storing all the smaller items such as paint, brushes, plugs, nails, seeds etc. There ar
          e nails in the walls on which hang things like the secateurs, rake, hoe, hacksaw, spade, lawnmower etc. There are two nails in the ceiling with a length of string tied to each one in the form of a loop. The garden canes are threaded through the loops so that they don’t have to be stored on the floor where they kept falling over. You can also nail the screw top lids of jars under the shelves in the shed and then put your nails in the jar and screw the jar onto the lid for under shelf storage space. I must just say here that I have Dave to thank for the tidiness of the shed – it was never that tidy when it was my responsibility! The other thing is that it is good Feng Shui to have an organised clutter free space in which to live. You’re all going to think I have a very tidy house now aren’t you? Sadly you’d be wrong – the intentions are there, but …… what’s the old saying? Oh I know – the spirit’s willing but the flesh is weak!!

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            17.07.2001 19:44
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            If you live in a small property you will probably get frustrated at either lack of space and / or the resulting untidiness. I have put together some ideas therefore for making better use of the space you do have. Items in open storage look best when placed in size or colour order. A mish-mash of colours can never look as neat as colour coded. By putting all red or blue items together you immediately make the place look tidier. It is often unnecessary to buy containers to store items as all sorts of shapes and sizes of containers are simply thrown away every day. Boxes, large glass jars, plastic cases, sweet jars. All go to the dump if not rescued by you. If you have lots of hats, or jewellery why not make a feature of them? Hang them on your bedroom wall as a piece of 'art'. Use underneath the bed as a useful storage area. My daughter's bed is a divan, but has only a frame. I cut a slit in the side fabric and store all her larger toys *in* the divan part. The valance covers the slit. Use furniture that can be used as storage. Footstools, blanket boxes and benches have space inside hold many 'bits and bobs.' Hang pans, containers with handles, kitchen implements and the odd bunch of dried flowers on hooks from a ceiling clothes airer. Very fashionable. Wicker baskets can be picked up very cheaply on market stalls, and filled with clutter, stacked in neat piles they can actually be made into a feature and not just a storage solution. What about those old travelling trunks too? If you are lucky enough to pick one up at a car boot sale you can always decorate it with a paint effect or stencilling, or leave it as it is in it's 'distressed' condition. Apart from acting as useful storage space it can also be used as a beautiful piece of furniture in any room in the house. Hope some of these ideas help.

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              02.06.2001 04:28
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              After leaving home at the ripe old age of 18, straight into unemployment and with only a mattress and television to call my own I had to learn to live quite frugally. The problem is that I find it quite hard to kick the habit (but having an Ikea in Bristol helps!). Over the years I have used bricks under railway sleepers to make a television stand, I’ve used wooden pallets as a base for my bed and saved as many jam-jars as humanly possible. I hope the following suggestions are helpful and if you add any new ones to the comment section I’ll update once in a while to keep it the ultimate guide! Keep all of those small ‘wet-wipe’ type boxes, the label can be removed and you can cover with pretty wrapping paper to keep your jewellery nice and safe. Keep your jam-jars and use them in the garage, glue the top of the lids to the underside of a shelf and you’ll be able to keep all those spare nuts and bolts that come from the flat pack items you make but never use all of. Jam-jars are also great as penholders (decorated with either twine or pretty corrugated paper) and cotton ball holders in the bathroom. If you have a large front room (one that goes from the front to the back of the house) using a decorative screen is a popular way to redefine a room without building another wall. Don’t forget though, you can add fabric pockets to either side to pop in your magazines, unopened mail, dried flowers or even that needlework project you’ve been promising to finish! Don’t break up your old wooden ladder, cut it down (so you have about 5 rungs left) and carry it into your bathroom, so you can keep your towels all nice and neat. You can also add canvas pockets to each rung and use it as a magazine rack in the front room (or living room if you’re being posh). For a bulletin board or picture frame, find one of those old cork tiles that everyone has (or buy a pack from B&Q
              for a couple of quid) and glue to a piece of plywood so that it’s still light. Instead of using a bedside cabinet, try using a window box….. There will be enough room for all those nick-knacks and will free up space underneath for other things. To make an extremely cheap ‘walk in wardrobe’, buy two matching armoire-type cabinets and place them in either corner. Add a floorboard along the top to secure both cabinets and run a closet rod between them. Add a length of curtain wire along the top (attaching a hook in the middle to keep it there) and buy some cheap cotton saris as curtains – bingo! Right then chaps, your turn!

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                20.11.2000 17:01
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                I am rather pleased with my bedroom. It is predominantly cream and white with light-toned woods. It isn't frilly, but with generous amounts of creamy light material on the windows and other furnishings with interesting textures such as silky or sheepy feels (sheepskin), it is not austere but cosy. The whole thing took two years to do on a budget. Now that I had finished, I decided to treat myself to some nice accesories for it. Two of the things I tried to obtain were containers for cotton wool face pads and buds. Mundane, I know, but I'm a great believer in concentrating my time and money in the things I use the most, rather than what another might see more of. In an effort to getting the most optimally functional and pleasing containers, I scoured numerous catalogues, glass shops and department stores. I couldn't believe some of the prices. I seem to recall some perspex contraption costing £39.99. Even then it wasn't quite right. I came across the solution by accident, coming across some never-used glasses whilst spring cleaning. They were cheap cylindrical glasses about 2.5 inches high. One is now filled with circular cotton wools pads, which fit perfectly, and the other choc-a-blok with cotton buds standing vertically. This fulfils the two criteria, the first criterion being that of easy accessibility, otherwise I would never cleanse my face, get spots and have my chocolate supply cut off. The other is that it actually looks good, just like the ideal picture in magazines. I would include an image, but haven't had much luck with getting images included. So there you have it. It's a wierd topic, but presumably a storage solution for something that many across the land use daily.

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