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Get Creative: Storage Solutions That Don't Break the Bank

This post originally appeared on LearnVest, where smart people learn to manage their money and live their richest lives.

Kids generally aren't so great with the concept of minimalism.

Somehow, they always seem to require new possessions: new clothes, new shoes, new school supplies, new toys ... until it's easy for your living room to double as romper room.

And we know how important an uncluttered house is to keeping your sanity. When everything is where it should be, we spend less time searching for the lost remote, turning the house upside down for the pacifier and apologizing to last-minute guests when they trip over Tonka trucks.

Which is why we've found these genius storage solutions to hold everything from Legos to stuffed animals. And the best part is that every solution uses either a container repurposed from elsewhere or requires a purchase of less than $20.

Clear Canisters

You could go two ways with clear canisters: You could either buy some, with handy tops and reassuring uniformity ... or you could wash out empty tomato sauce and pickle jars headed for the recycling bin and achieve the same effect. Jars and canisters are great for storing small pieces, be they Legos or bouncy balls. The clear glass means you don't have to hunt for what you need, or even create labels - you can tell at a glance what it holds. 

Clear Kitchen Canisters: Free (post-spaghetti dinner)

Storage Ottoman

Another longtime favorite, the storage ottoman is fantastic, concealed storage for any room of the house. In kid colors, like the one pictured, it suits a child's bedroom or playroom, and in adult colors, it can easily serve as spare seating in the living room. Watch out, though - adult-friendly storage ottomans can easily cost $200

Storage Ottoman, $17

Hanging Pails

Pails make great storage solutions because they're transportable from room to room for easy play and easier cleanup. Repurpose the sand toys your child no longer uses (or even just give them a purpose in the winter) or purchase plastic pails in late spring, when they're in every drugstore summer aisle. 

Hanging them from the wall or the side of a bookcase keeps them out of the way and easily accessible, but make sure to use strong enough hooks - we like these adhesive hooks ($2.69), available at any drugstore. 

Plastic Pail, $2.50 
Metal Pail, $5.25 

Lunch Boxes

What happens to the lunch boxes of school years past? If you can't keep using them (they've sprung a leak, gotten cracked or inspired an anti-box whining), transition them to storage for toys, games or accessories. They're durable, easy to open and close and, with a little permanent marker, easily labeled. 

Lunch Box, $18

Pizza Boxes

We know you love every splatter painting and line drawing your kids create, but piles of paper around the house can get a little unwieldy. Instead of letting the artwork pile up, label pizza boxes with a year, season or medium (pastels, for example) to keep your child's artwork flat and organized. Worried your used pizza box is too gross? Ask for a spare the next time you're in the pizza parlor - but make sure you're purchasing something as well! 

To see another four ideas, check out the original post on LearnVest

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