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Milk Crates

Milk Crates
Those plain blue, square boxes used to transport milk. Ever thought that milk crates could probably be used for more than just transporting milk? Well, here is how you can be innovative with these storage boxes.
Tulika Nair
Made of wood or plastic, shaped either square or rectangular, these interlocking boxes are used to transport not only milk but also other dairy products. Milk crates, when they first came into existence were made of wood, and even steel, but sometime towards the latter part of the twentieth century manufacturers started making crates from plastic. Known as bottle crate in European countries, it is known by the former name despite the fact that it may be used to transport many different products other than milk.
How to Procure
The dairy industry uses plastic crates to transport products to retailers before the shelf life expires, who then resend these crates for reuse. What many people remain unaware of is that picking up crates is actually an illegal activity, punishable by law. In fact, each of these storage boxes should have the name of the dairy that uses the same, and a warning to consumers. Every year million of dollars are lost due to the theft of these crates. Most people who steal these storage containers use them to either recycle them for the plastic or to make different products out of them. If you need to use crates for your personal use, then there are different places that you can procure them from, legally.
One place that you can definitely contact in order to obtain milk crates, is your neighborhood supermarket. If they do not have any crates, then inquire about their dairy supplier, who should be able to provide you with these crates. Another place to search for these storage boxes are fast-food joints. They usually have cartons in storage and you can buy them from the restaurant. If you are looking to get used them for free, then contact big discount stores who are looking at offloading their crates, to clear out storage space. Gas stations also may often have these containers that you can buy from them. If you are looking for old wooden crates, then search online or check thrift stores. You may be able to buy them from these resources for very little money.
How to Use
So, you may wonder why people would steal crates? After all, at the end of they day they are just storage containers right? Well, the fact of the matter is that there are many different innovative ways in which you can use these containers. There are different arts and crafts projects that you can try with these crates. Given below are some ideas that you can use.
  • Use four differently colored milk crates fixed together with wire, or drilled together, and wire them with fairy lights or hanging lights to create chandeliers. This can have a beautiful effect in a room that is looking for a kitschy effect. Do ensure that your room has a high ceiling. Such a chandelier can work very well in a dorm room.
  • You can use a milk crate as a bathroom towel holder. Use the different wire grids in the crate to squeeze in towels tightly. If you have space remaining, you can accentuate the effect by placing miniature shampoo bottles, or even decorative elements.
  • There are many people who have made a business out of making furniture from these containers. You do not have to be a master at woodworking to create the furniture though. Use three crates and stack them up evenly. Place cushions in the milk crate and create a comfortable sitting space.
  • You can also very easily create a book shelf from crates by placing three of them one on top of the other. Use them to store stationery, books, or to just get things organized.
  • It is also possible to create a laundry hamper using a milk crate. Sew colorful fabric together and line the outside. If you reinforce one side of the milk crate with plywood, you can also use the same as a night stand, with space to keep books and other knickknacks.
These are just some of the simple ideas that you can use to create innovative products with the help of these crates. You can also use them as step ladders and simple storage containers. While creating different products with crates, just give a free rein to your imagination and go wild.
Milk Crates
Blue Milk crate