July 23, 2010

More Cheap Tricks for Organizing!

I mentioned in my Paint Can Art Caddy post that I love to use coffee canisters for organizing the tiny collections of things you inevitably collect if you have kids.  If you homeschool, just go ahead and raise the amount of small objects you collect to the tenth power because you're adding linking cubes, pattern blocks, counting bears, etc.  Knick knacks are a part of childhood and therefore parenthood.  I can't bear how expensive organizational containers are to buy!  So here's my step by step tutorial to transforming your messy shelves into well organized, pleasant to look at shelves for the cost of a couple of cans of spray paint.

Gather your supplies!  You'll want a handful of coffee cans, oatmeal canisters, milk jugs with the tops cut off, or any other container from your kitchen that you can upcycle into a mess containing phenomenon.  You'll also want a couple of colors of spray paint (high gloss is my fave, but any finish will do.  Choosing the same color in 2 finishes might be pretty cool). You'll also want a can of Krylon Clear Coat to keep the paint from getting scratched off by little fingernails.  Last, but not least, it's good to have a stack of newspapers around to protect your surface.  Even if you're spraying outside on grass.  If your husband is anything like mine, he'd prefer not to have a purple ring on the grass when you're all done.

Spread out your containers on the newspapers and consider your plan for a moment.  I think it's fine to use containers of different shapes because they will become more uniform by the time we're done with them.  I adore the Maxwell House canisters (the blue ones up top_ for their funky shape,  but I also had 2 round Folger's canisters and one old metal round thing.  I decided to go with purple for one shape and green for the other.  Then I'll be able to create a patten on the shelf of both color and shape.  Once you've figured it all out in your head, get on with the spray painting.

Thin layers work best so that you don't get runs.  Let each one dry thoroughly before coating again.

After just one coat, I could still see the Maxwell House logo.  If Maxwell House wanted to sponsor our home schooling I might let it stay, but since they only fuel my mornings I wanted to go ahead and cover up the logo! 

Give 'em a few coats so that they're nice and uniform.  Now give each container a good clear coat.  This will just strengthen the paint layers a little and help it resist scratches. 

I suppose you could stop there, but as I have mentioned, I have a raffia addiction.  It's pretty bad.  Gifts, jars of jam, school containers...they all get a raffia bow around the top.  I just can't resist!  And look at that!  How cute (and practically free) is that?  In those containers I have a parachute, a bazillion stickers, random art supplies, crayons, and 2 that are still waiting to find something to contain.  Don't worry, they won't have to wait long!  There's no shortage of knick knacks around here.

There you have it!  Go get to organizing all those army men and counting bears!


  1. LOVE it!!!!!!!!! Another reason to drink more coffee. =)

  2. LOL! Living in a mostly coffee free state, I'm super happy to hear from a fellow coffee drinker!


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