Wheels and casters are mother's little helpers when it comes to storing things that migrate from room to room. Your back deserves the luxury of wheels, after all that bending to retrieve rogue socks and random blocks. Add wheels to a bin to hold the potted tree you park in front of a different window each season. Cram a wheeled box with seasonal cookware and slide it under the pantry shelf when not in use.
1. Best Blocks Bin
Sand any rough edges off an old apple crate, preserving painted or paper labels and as much of the distressed finish as possible. Spray or brush it with two protective coats of clear lacquer or polyurethane. Drill a hole in one of the short sides, a few inches down from the rim, and add a smooth handle attached to a short piece of rope, poked through the hole and knotted inside and out of the crate to hold it in place. Flip the crate and screw casters to each corner of the bottom. Short wood screws won't poke through the wood inside the crate to catch unwary fingers. Store the ever-growing collection of building blocks, small farm and zoo animals and tiny toy cars in the rolling bin.
The Clean-Up-Your-Room nag-fest goes on permanent hiatus when you make storage as easy as shoving everything under the bed. Salvage a couple of old dresser drawers from an attic castaway or a thrift store. Preserve their worn, crazed paint in a shabby chic-style bedroom, or paint them inside and out to match the decor. Measure carefully to determine the correct height for casters that will let the drawers slide easily under the bed. Screw casters securely into all four corners on the bottom of each drawer. If the drawers are especially large or long, you can add a caster under the center of the drawer for extra support. The wheeled storage bins hold a surprising amount of what is usually strewn all over the floor -- and they slide very neatly under the bed at a moment's notice. Use the knobs to pull them back out.
3. All Booked Up
Two identical dollhouses, hinged on one side so they open flat and close completely, are a movable home for craft supplies or books when you add wheels. Paint the insides in colors to match the playroom decor or just slick a few coats of low-gloss white over the interior. Get creative with the outside: Paint or add shutters, window curtains, a puppy sitting in the back doorway, the house number on the front door. Attach dolly wheels to the underside of the floor; if the house sides are deep, screw a set of small dolly wheels to each corner of each side -- four in all. If the dollhouses are narrow, attach the three-wheeled units to either end of one side and the middle of the remaining side. Add a latch to secure the two sides when they are closed. The dollhouse storage bin can be moved anywhere in the room, or your house, that needs a whimsical, mobile activity center.
4. Unbottled and Booted
Wood wine crates are terrific shallow bins for magazines -- add low casters and slide them under the coffee table -- and they make great catchall boot trays for the mudroom or entry. Set small wood blocks in each corner inside the wine crate and screw wheels or small casters to the bottom of the crate, securing the screws in the wood blocks for stability. For a boot tray, fit a clear plastic tray -- garden, paint or all-purpose household tray -- inside the wine crate. Set a plastic or aluminum grid in the tray. Put wet boots in the crate, on the grid, to drip and dry. Push the wheeled crate under the hall bench so the wet or snowy boots are out of the way.