20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates

Before IKEA began selling faux milk crates to use as storage containers, we had to track down the real deal from our local grocery stores. Milk crates were perfect for keeping vinyl records organized; they could be turned upside down to sit on when friends came over; and they made colorful, stackable cubbies for clothing. All fine applications, for sure, but those are just a tiny fraction of the many ways milk crates can make your life easier. Check out 20 more brilliant ways to use milk crates right here. (See also: Another 36 Uses for Tin Foil)

1. Bike Basket

Avid cyclists will benefit from strapping a milk crate to their ride so they can take packages to the post office, carry groceries from the market, or pack a lunch board for an afternoon of fun in the park.

2. TV Stand

When you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on an entertainment center, position a few milk crates on the floor with the open ends facing out. You can put your TV on top of the crates and organize your media and cable boxes and game consoles within the crates. There are even holes in the back for the cables to snake through!

3. Planters

Create an urban garden using milk crates lined with plastic. Fill the crates with dirt, plant your seeds, and watch your garden grown.

4. Pet Dens

I have two dogs that love to nap in their crates or under the covers. If you don’t have a secret spot for your pets already, turn a milk crate on its side, lay a soft blanket in the bottom of the crate, and drape another blanket over the top with space for the animal to walk in and out. They’ll love you even more now that they have a private sanctuary of their own.

5. Stepstool

No need to pick up a dedicated stool when a milk crate will work just as well. Use it to reach high cabinets when your tippy toes won’t cut it. Store it in your pantry so it’s out of the way when not in use.

6. Donation Box

Keep a milk crate in your closet or bedroom and store your unwanted stuff in it. When it’s full, make a trip to the local donation center and get rid of it.

7. Shelving

There are lots of ways you can turn milk crates into shelves. You can stack several of them vertically to create a large bookshelf, or you can screw the crates to the wall in a pattern to create shelving that doesn’t take up space on the floor.

8. Chandelier

You’ll need a bit of engineering prowess to turn milk crates into a lighting fixture, but it can be done. Take a look at this example of a cool milk-crate chandelier from Down Under.

9. Ottoman

You can make an ottoman out of a milk crate the lazy way — by just placing it in front of your chair to prop your feet up — or you can go the extra mile to make it fancy-schmancy like this milk-crate ottoman.

10. Trash Bin

Line an extra milk crate with a garbage bag, and you’ve got an instant bathroom trashcan.

11. Filing Bin

Did you know that the hooks on most file folders fit perfectly onto the sides of milk crates? Get organized with this DIY filing idea today.

13. Car Trunk Organizer

Instead of throwing your junk in the trunk, place it neatly in a milk crate so you can find it more easily when you need it.

14. Rec-Room Table

Don’t have a place for the kids or your friends to play board or card games? Double stack a set of eight milk crates for an instant game table that will keep them from ruining your more expensive furniture. For a flat surface, cut a piece of plywood or cardboard and affix it to the top.

15. Scooter Seat

Even though these might be the laziest kids in America, the idea is kind of genius.

16. Door Prop

Keep a milk crate near a door that won’t stay open to use as a prop so you don’t get locked out.

17. Sports Target

Practicing your soccer goals or golf accuracy? Use a milk crate as a target to aim for when playing.

18. Recycling Bin

Line a couple milk crates with clear plastic bags and use them as recycling bins. Use one for paper and the other for glass, tin, and aluminum. When it’s time to take the recyclables to the curb (or the collection center to make some extra cash), simply tie up the bags and be on your way.

19. Produce Bins

Give your apples, onions, and potatoes room to breathe by placing them in a milk crate on the floor of your pantry. It’ll do you well to line the crates with newspaper to avoid getting muck on your floor.

20. Money Maker

Don’t have any use for the milk crates lying around your house? Sell them! There are lots of crates listed on eBay that are selling for more than you’d think, but if you don’t want to fuss with shipping, turn to Craigslist. Somebody somewhere wants a milk crate with which to do one of these 20 cool things.

Have other ideas on how to use milk crates? Let me know in the comments below.

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20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates

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Guest's picture

Garden stool

Guest's picture

The stepstool is a REALLY bad idea. It slips on flat surfaces and is not designed to support your weight. You could get seriously injured from falling off of one of these.

Guest's picture

My fiance' & I use them as step stools outside to fill our hummingbird feeders that are on the window & hanging ones. Since he's 6' & I am not, I stack them one on top of the other. When he does it, he just unstacks one. He weighs 220lbs.

Guest's picture

While we appreciate the clever repurposing of milk crates, they are not free. Theft of milk crates is an issue taken very seriously by the dairy industry. Dairy companies lose 20 million milk crates a year to theft. ($4/crate=$80 million loss/year) Our industry has thin margins; it hurts the bottom line and costs jobs. If you need crates for projects, retailers Target, Fred Meyer and Home Depot sell them. Read more info here: www.gotmilkcrates.com Please, return stolen milk crates to their rightful owners.