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Outdoor Storage Solutions

As the warming weather draws people outside, patios, decks, porches, and yards take on the function -- and fun! -- of indoor living spaces. Here are some ideas for stashing everything you need to live it up in the great outdoors.

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    • Hang 'Em High

      Don't overlook the vertical space on a porch or patio -- it's ripe with storage possibilities. Both high and low shelves made of weatherproof wood and metal stack scads of bulky items outside. A jaunty clothesline lifts bags and other lightweight gear so the items catch the breeze.

    • Bargain Bins

      Vintage locker bins, readily available at antiques malls and thrift stores, are no strangers to use and abuse, making them ideal storage containers for slipping beneath an outdoor bench.

    • Porch-Side Pantry

      This gorgeous bank of built-in cabinetry (complete with a sink and scads of storage) resembles an old-fashioned butler's pantry, but it was crafted specially for a sheltered patio rather than an indoor kitchen. Barn-style hinges and hardware, plus a slate countertop -- impervious to moisture and abuse -- nod toward the pantry's rustic function, and a pair of doors can enclose the area to protect it from inclement weather.

    • Stone Cold

      Carved into a massive limestone block and capped with a removable teak lid, this rugged outdoor coffee table hides a delightful surprise inside: a drink cooler! No wonder the sofa and chairs are gathered around -- it’s party central.

    • Shifting Seating

      Small garden tables, just the right height and width for a vase or cold drink, are lightweight enough to move wherever they're needed. They can even serve as stools for a large gathering.

    • Big Basket

      Nubby baskets with handles serve the same purpose outside as they do in: carrying items from one spot to another and corralling bulky pieces so they stay tidy. This big basket collects cushions and throws for cozying up on a couch or chair. Because they are susceptible to rain, keep baskets in a sheltered spot, such as a covered porch or patio.

    • Happy-Hued Hutch

      A tall kitchen hutch needs only a tweak or two to be suitable for the outdoors: a coat of exterior paint (the zanier the color combination, the better!) and a chicken-wire inset (rather than glass) in one cabinet door. Hooks on the doors and inside the cabinet extend the hutch's usefulness to hang gloves and hand tools, while a large base shelf stows a big metal bin of potting soil and tall rain boots.

    • Hose Hang-Up

      Just about every surface of this hutch is put to use. On the side, two metal coat hooks tame an unruly garden hose.

    • Hide and Seat

      This cheerful bench -- softened by a striped cushion -- provides more than a burst of bright color and a comfy seat on the deck. Its hinged top allows bulky outdoor items, such as garden tools and potting soil, to be stored inside.

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      Small-Space Dining

      This dinette set does double duty: The chairs scoot right into the table when not in use, so it looks and functions like a buffet.

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      At Your Service

      This handy piece acts like a butler, keeping cold drinks, plates, and extra glassware at the ready during parties. A plus: It's made of high-quality resin that's completely resistant to rain and harsh sun.

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      Polished Picnicking

      As well-appointed as an indoor kitchen island, this outdoor version features everything an active family needs for alfresco dining: plastic cups, plates, and silverware; napkins and towels; and bins for trash and recycling.

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      Handy Towel

      Outdoor kitchens require many of the same supplies as their indoor counterparts, from silverware and dishes to trash cans and stools. Here, no detail has been overlooked -- there's even a spot for a kitchen towel.

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      Cart It Outside

      Furniture meant for indoors can easily transition to the deck. This kitchen cart -- with its waterproof granite top and a coat of outdoor sealer -- transforms into a potting bench once outside, even providing hooks for garden tools and a bottom shelf for pots and drainage trays.

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      On the Move

      A compact bar cart can be a kitchen workhorse, whether that kitchen resides inside or out in the sunshine. Such a cart can deliver steaks and burgers hot off the grill to the indoor dining room, or it can tote silverware, plates, and drinks from inside to a fresh-air table.

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      Worn and Weathered

      An antique buffet might be too shabby for the breakfast nook, but its chipped paint and warped boards feel right at home on a patio. Plates and dishes of food cluster on its tabletop, while the lower shelf holds baskets filled with other essentials.

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      Glorious Garage

      The garage often collects overflow from both the house and yard, so it's essential that this transitional space be tidy and organized. Modular storage units -- with a mix of closed-door cabinets, open shelves, and sliding drawers -- gather indoor and outdoor necessities in one compact space. Slat-wall paneling, often used in retail stores to display merchandise up high, puts an otherwise blank stretch of wall to good use holding hand tools and extension cords.

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      Off the Wall

      Inexpensive rubber-coated hooks elevate folding chairs and plastic buckets for handy -- and eye-catching -- storage in the garage.

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      Grab a Cold One

      A kitchen cart goes outside with ease thanks to rolling casters. An insulated cooler fits perfectly inside, keeping icy-cold drinks within reach, while open slots at the base stash bottles and plates. The cart is sized to snug under the outdoor kitchen's countertop, where a spritely curtain conceals it from view.

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      Tote-able Garden Tools

      A humble plastic bucket blossoms into an indispensible garden caddy with the addition of an oilcloth apron wrapped around its rim. A hand shovel and other small supplies slip into the pockets, while items with long handles and more bulk cluster inside the bucket.

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      Perfect for Potting

      A potting bench crafted of reclaimed, weathered wood offers a work surface for gardening tasks, such as repotting plants or starting seeds.

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      Next Slideshow 15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      Upgrading your landscape doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are 15 budget-smart backyard ideas to help you love your yard more.
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