Introduction: Spring Storage Hooks
While this is an excellent project for spring cleaning, the spring in the title is actually spring compression, used to hold the narrow, slippery boxes of food wrap and storage bags up and out of the way.
Much like under-sink storage area, pantry space is always at a premium. Initially I had tried standing the various boxes of plastic wrap upright, but they tend to fall over on their sides, taking up more than their share of space and invariably landing with the item I wanted to use on the bottom. When I was a kid, my mother had a rather gimmicky spring-loaded plastic device for holding the boxes in place. I've been keeping my eyes open for one, but 1. I couldn't find anything of the sort, and 2. the plastic tabs eventually grow brittle and break off. (Also 3. I don't really care for the avocado-and-harvest-gold colour scheme of the original device).
So, I decided to fool around with some supplies I already had on hand and see if I could replicate the effect. I started with wire coathangers, an abundant source of springy steel.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Tools you will need:
1. Vise grips
2. Pliers (one pair will probably be enough)
3. Drill and bits
4. Ruler (optional, you can also just eyeball it)
5. Crayon (optional, not shown, marks the wire better than pencil)
Materials you will need:
1. Wire hangers
Step 2: Straighten the Hangers
Grasp the hanger by the hook and grab onto the middle of the bottom with the vise grips. Yank the whole thing into a long oval. Use vise grips and pliers in opposition to straighten out the kinks where the corner of the hanger used to be.
Step 3: Acute Bends
Measure the hanger in relation to the box you wish to hang. Most boxes of kitchen wrap are around 11.5" long, but (aggravatingly enough) there is no standard. Starting at the bottom of the oval (what used to be the bottom of the hanger), mark off a loop slightly shorter than the box is deep, and bend it in at an acute angle. 70-80 degrees should do it, and use the vise grips and pliers to get a sharp bend.
Measure the box against the wire again. Mark off a portion of straight wire about a quarter-inch longer than the box you have in mind. Bend the hook part of the former hanger in toward the center in the same way, and at the same angle, as the original bend.
Step 4: Compression Contact Points
Re-curve the bottom part of the hook up so that it will make contact approximately at the middle of the box you wish to hang. If your hands are strong enough, you may want to use them, rather than the vise grips, for this step. The idea is to get a gentle curve that will make contact with as much of the box as possible. The hook will not fit squarely around the box; instead, the slight gap between the acute angle of the wire and the square edge of the box gives the spring some leverage.
Repeat the step for the top of the hanger, then bend the hook backward to be parallel to the straightaway. This is tricky, but ensures that the whole device will hang neatly when you're done.
Step 5: Adjusting for Non-standard Boxes
Bearing in mind that the bottom of the hook should be slightly shorter than the box is deep, and that the straightaway should be slightly longer than the box's length, this design is adaptable to a variety of different boxes. Also, given the forgiving nature of spring steel and the low cost of wire hangers, you can tinker a bit. If you come up with something better than I have, I'd love to see!
I found that boxes of baggies can't take as much spring compression as boxes with an internal core, such as boxes of plastic wrap.
Step 6: Success!
Cup hooks work well to suspend the spring storage hooks in unused space- in this case, the door frame inside the pantry. I found that the total length of the spring storage hooks I made was about 17", so I left 18" between the cup hooks. They are not on-centre to the door frame, they are on-centre to the part of the door frame behind the maximum depth of the fan-fold door.