I have a full inventory of wood and other useful crafting items that I don't want to hold onto all the time or sell. Is there a place for me to put them early on?
When you have 50 wood you can craft a chest from the Crafting menu. Press Esc, and then the Hammer icon in the menu. Then click on the chest. You will instantly make the chest and will not be able to undo it. Then you can place this chest in or around your house as you see fit. It has 36 spaces of inventory space.
Make sure you have space to carry it! Once you make the chest you will have to make room for it in your inventory or throw it or something else out. You can simply throw it on the ground rather the trash can and come to retrieve it later but this of course takes real world and in-game world time. You do not want to have to throw away something valuable.
It is very likely items will persist for a reasonable amount of time to return and pick it up but I have only been playing for a little bit.