i have a baby wipe box from the kind that pop up like tissue (actually got it at Kroger). The hole where the wipes are to come out isn't a large hole but rather an H-shaped slit. i put the ball of thread in the box, feed the end through the slit in the lid, then pop the lid back on. It works perfectly, and i store my hook and pattern in the box when i'm not working. Also, i just carefully fold my piece in progress and snap it under the snap-top lid.
Hope this helps fellow thread-crocheters!
(This is cross posted to other crafty communities...sorry for the repeat if you're on more than one!)