By Elizah Leigh on July 25, 2012

Shelving and storage, oh my! Did you know you can take old scrap pieces and recycle them into beautiful shelves and storage units?

One-stop organizational havens such as IKEA and The Container Store have some sort of magical power over people, and at least on the surface, our fierce loyalty seems justified. The reason is pretty simple. No matter what, these palaces of possession perfection always seem to know precisely what the chronically storage-perplexed population can’t live without.

Glossy, quadruple-tiered shelves are a perennial favorite, as are texturally alluring and infinitely stackable cubbies, but those items, while tried and true, pale in comparison to such mind-blowing, can’t-possibly-live-without-‘em innovations like highly customized corrals for our assorted cupcake sprinkles or day-of-the-week pet collars.

There is no doubt that amid their incredibly well-lit and spacious aisles, we are repeatedly asking ourselves how we managed to get by so long without a miniature fruit leather-drying rack or alphabetized energy bar caddy. Unfortunately, but by the time we navigate the 10,000 square feet of storage space, our shopping carts typically runneth over while our credit cards take a beating.

You know where this is going. Make that brilliant shelving unit yourself and chances are excellent that you will spend significantly less than a brick-and-mortar store retail price. Up the ante by using scavenged materials, and before you know it, you will be able to duplicate that storage idea you ogled at IKEA for nothing more than the cost of your sweat equity.

Oh, except that the ideas below are way cooler than what you would find at a big-box shop, not only in regard to the design concept, but also the eco-execution. Instead of your shelf being made out of VOC-laden pressurized particleboard treated with 16 potentially carcinogenic fire-retarding chemicals, it will rock a reincarnated glow made even more notable by the fact that it will be as unique as your own individual fingerprint.

recycled shelves

Make a wall-mounted shelf out of...

Make a freestanding shelf out of...

Reclaimed glass wine bottles and wooden boards

An old barn door or a conventional door cut in half and clamped at a 90-degree angle

A recycled wooden cable spool

Painted wooden boards separated with reclaimed tree branch ‘spacers’

Old skateboards

Window shutters

A ladder — modify it with wooden boards and wire crates for extra storage potential

A bookshelf… made of books (You can create a wall-mounted version as well.)

A vintage whiskey barrel

Recycled plastic container "cubby holes" embedded in rigid polyurethane resin

An upcycled vintage produce box mounted on casters

An old dresser fitted with vintage suitcases

Several stacked computer monitors or televisions; a solo TV will also work wonders

About the author

Elizah Leigh is an eco-inspired wordsmith capable of captivating readers in just the right manner to facilitate subliminal greenlightenment. If it hasn’t yet ha[...]
Learn more about Elizah Leigh

Related Articles

Comments

There are no comments for this post yet


Articles by Elizah Leigh

Fresh New Ways to Reinvent the Plastic Items in Your Recycling Bin

By Elizah Leigh on December 14, 2012

All kinds of plastic scrap can be repurposed into items for the home.

Eco-Rehash: How to Make Recycled Throw Pillows in a Flash

By Elizah Leigh on December 3, 2012

Any old pillow can benefit from some recycled DIY inspiration.

Bring on the Z’s with These Recycled Bedspread Ideas

By Elizah Leigh on November 30, 2012

Old textile materials can be recycled into eye-catching bedspreads.

Reuse Articles

Spring Cleaning: Recycle Your Denim

By Kara DiCamillo on March 24, 2014

Blue Jeans Go Green transforms used denim into home insulation for those in need.

Give a Green Card This Valentine’s Day

By April Stearns on February 13, 2014

In order to help reduce Valentine’s Day waste, many companies have taken the initiative to create recycled cards.

Crafty Alternatives for Valentine Flowers

By Maggie Wehri on February 12, 2014

Do some different this Valentine's Day: reuse.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Long Beach, CA

By 1-800-RECYCLING on April 18, 2014

Long Beach's weekly curbside recycling program accepts items like polystyrene, plastic bags and paint cans.

461 Colleges and Universities Nationwide Recover 89.1 Million Pounds of Organic and Recyclable Materials During RecycleMania

By 1-800-RECYCLING on April 14, 2014

During this 14th annual tournament, updated weekly rankings allowed schools to track their performance in eight categories measuring their recycling rate.

Recycling Profile: Nashua, NH

By 1-800-RECYCLING on April 11, 2014

Nashua's single-stream curbside recycling program could be a model for other programs around New Hampshire.

Loading