When most people plan on celebrating Earth Day, they are not looking at their self storage facilities for inspiration. This is a time when we look to the skies and to nature, when we come together with entire communities to show support for environmental protection to preserve our world for future generations.

But self storage and Earth Day might not be so far removed as you think. Smart storage—whether in a rented facility or at home—is a great way to avoid throwing things away for future use. When we work and live with limited storage options, it becomes easy to buy disposable items, or give things away only to buy a new item. It might also seem like a good idea to buy shelves or other storage ideas.

However, instead of going to the store to buy more plastic, more materials, more everything, why not try a few innovative, eco-friendly storage solutions? Not only will you help work toward saving the planet, but you might save a few bucks, as well. Here are a few ideas collected from Pinterest and our creative teams at Storage.com.

  • Eco-Friendly Materials: Skip the hardwood bookshelves and plastic storage bins to opt for something made from recycled materials. Many indie retailers and larger chain stores offer recycled cardboard storage options or even specialty plastics made from recycled grocery bags.
  • Hanging Hooks: If you have ever seen bicycle enthusiasts in small apartments, you will probably note that they hang their bikes from hooks reinforced in a garage or entryway ceiling. That is because when you use hooks, you can get large, bulky items up off the floor and store them horizontally. Hooks can be used for a multitude of storage purposes, and generally only cost you (and the environment) a few small pieces of metal.
  • Speaking of Horizontal: One of the fastest, easiest ways to recycle a bookshelf and create more storage is to get the shelf up off the ground and make it horizontal. If you have a standing bookshelf but need it to become more functional as storage, consider moving it to another location, turning it on its side or even fixing it to the wall and moving it up a few feet.
  • Reuse Pallets and Milk Crates: When large items are delivered by businesses, they often come on a wooden pallet or in those plastic milk crates many of us remember from our childhood. With a little repurposing, these items can become chic desks, shelves and stacked storage options.
  • Egg Cartons and Shoeboxes: Though not exactly the type of eco-friendly home storage options we want to showcase in our homes, egg cartons and shoeboxes can make great organizational tools for things like beads, art supplies, electronics, batteries and other small items you want to keep separated.

Of course, some of the best environmentally friendly storage options are ones that individual users come up with on their own. What kind of repurposed storage solutions have you used in the past? We would love to see you stop by our community page to share your step-by-step instructions and photos of what you have done to make the most out of recycled materials and your home storage.

And because environmentally friendly living should happen more than just once a year on Earth Day, we hope to keep this conversation going. Connect with us on Pinterest, where we found the great photo examples for this blog post, and where we are always looking for great storage ideas that reduce, reuse and upcycle.