Most places I’ve lived in my life, both in the US and in Mexico, have an abundance of wooden crates.
In the US I never made use of wooden or fruit crates, mostly because I was never in need of furniture. In Mexico, one often finds cheap deals on apartments without furniture. With an abundance of cheap fruit boxes, you can make virtually all your furniture if you can be a little creative.
I took advantage of empty space and decided to follow some Pinterest ideas I’d seen a few years ago.
I feel a little silly having been surrounded by these boxes all my life without realizing their usefulness. The majority of my furniture is made up of these crates because they are simple, modular, and customizable.
So if I decide I don’t like how my furniture is, I just break it all apart and reorganize. For someone who likes a constantly changing creative space, this is ideal. The best part is fruit boxes are lightweight but still sturdy. I can carry 6 of the big ones at a time and I’m not a very big human.
They’re also incredibly affordable at less than a dollar a box usually, and available everywhere I’ve lived in Mexico so far.
You can apply the same concepts to milk crates, something I did do growing up.
In Mexico “milk crates” are not the same, much flimsier and less worth it for the purpose of modular furniture.
All it takes to build with these is an understanding of space, the things you have to store, and your needs.
For example, this table of sorts that doubles as storage, keeping things not commonly accessed out of direct sight and providing a surface for a cute indoor garden (if my cats don’t keep trying to kill it that is). This could be broken down into a shelf and still used for a garden surface if I wanted.
To comply with my cat’s obsession with being window side I converted this to a cat bed, just after writing the first draft of this post. Just to show how adaptable this is to changing needs. If something doesn’t work, it’s easy to change. No longer will I sacrifice baby succulent plants to my sadistic cats.
This is how you can adapt the use of these crates with the furniture you might have access to.
This area is my craft corner, where I generally do most of my sewing and keep all my supplies. I mainly just use these boxes for organization’s sake, some on display, one not.
This is what to do if you want to have a closet but are cheap like me.
Get yourself 6 large fruit crates, arrange them like this, and lay a piece of bamboo across the top to make a place for clothes to hang. The cool thing about this is as you add your clothes the whole thing becomes more stable. It also looks pretty inspiring as well.
This is a simple shelf that I’ve seen all over Pinterest.
Before I built the closet, this is where I kept my clothes in these boxes to show you the evolution as well as possibilities for this furniture. The center area is both pretty and functional. Now I use it as a multi-use shelf that is likely to grow as I get more books and things.
Time for a bit of honesty here because I honestly didn’t realize how much of my space was affected by these simple boxes.
This is my bathroom shelf, where I display everything from hair ties to feminine products. Just two boxes stacked on top of a tote of stored clothes makes a surprisingly elegant shelf.
Like any tourist during my travels, I’ve been picking up little things here and there from artisans. I have gathered some of my favorites in this little bedside window box. It keeps my delicate keepsakes safe despite the fact that I live with two very energetic cats while also keeping it in view in a pretty way. This used to sit on my desk and has since been replaced with a zen garden I have to write about eventually.
Back home I used to garden in milk crates.
Mostly because you had to pay for fruit crates but could always find milk crates suitable for gardening on the side of the road for free. Carrots grow amazingly in boxes in my experience, partially because you can move them if you need to without hassle. Here I’ve been growing cute succulent gardens in the smaller boxes. Just work with what you have, basically.
In some areas, you can find used fruit boxes for sale too.
Those are best for gardening but keep in mind will also likely break first. I just buy them brand new because I want them to last as long as possible. The only downside is possible splinters from the rough Mexican boxes. In my experience, the ones in the United States are much smoother in texture for both a nicer appearance and safer touch. I’m not afraid of a few splinters though when it comes to really cheap furniture that looks awesome.
Like this DIY idea? Try this tutorial for a DIY pallet teepee.