Introduction: Modular Water Jug Storage Bins

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Around here I have more odds and ends than I know what to do with. I used to keep it in piles strewn about our tiny apartment until my fed up girlfriend came up with a solution to make the room a little more organized.

It basically involved drinking a lot of bottled water and using the jugs the water came in to store stuff. Using her method, not only do you get a $2 rugged modular plastic storage bin, but you also get 2 gallons worth of drinkable water for free. I highly advocate such a storage system. Especially if you are overrun by small parts.

Step 1: Drink Water

Before you can even consider starting to store stuff in the plastic water jugs, you have to drink the water they're holding. It's recommended that you drink 8 full glasses of water a day. However, drinking a little more than that will not hurt you and may, in fact, be beneficial. If there are two people drinking water from the container, you should be able to go through one in about two to three days.

Step 2: Cut the Jug

When you are done drinking, cut open the jug. You should do this by slicing away the label on the front side of container. You don't want to make too large of a hole or the container will lose it's structure. You also don't want to make too small of a hole or it will be hard to put things inside. Make the hole just right (see below).

There may be a little water left inside. You can shake this water out in the sink and then let it air dry for a day or two before putting things inside. If you're really in a rush and don't care about moisture, wipe out the inside with a dry rag.

Step 3: Bundle the Jugs

Once you have completed four water jugs, you want to start bundling them together so that you can begin stacking them without worrying about the whole thing collapsing.

The 2 gallon jugs fortunately have two grooves that can be used to tie them together. I used some basic white string that I got at the hardware store.

I wrapped the string completely around the outside of the front groove on all of the four containers. On one end of the string I tied a loop using a figure-8 knot (although, any old knot should do). With the other end, I cut the line a little long and pulled the extra string through the loop I just made. I made sure the string was in the grooves all the way around the four containers. Then I folded the string all the way back and tied it onto the taught part of the string using a slipknot. I pulled this knot to make sure the bundle was very tight.

To begin with, I would then glue the slipknot in place using hot glue, but I later realized that this wasn't necessary.

I then repeated this process for the other groove until there were 2 taught bands wrapped around the whole bundle.

Step 4: Put Your Junk Away

Finally! The time has come to start organizing and putting your stuff away into your new cubbies.

Step 5: Reinforcement

The nice thing about this is that you can expand cheaply and efficiently to your heart's content.

A tip:
Once your shelving is of a considerable height and width (say 10 wide by 4 high), you are going to want to tie the whole thing together with two long strings.

See the image below to see what in the heck I'm talking about.

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