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Trash-tivity: Coffee Containers

Before you throw away that empty coffee container let me introduce you to some nifty ideas about how to use it to your benefit instead! These little guys can easily be transformed to fit your style and they are extremely useful all throughout the house or your work space. One of my favorite hobbies is finding ways I can reuse items that are thrown away everyday. We don't think about it but a lot of the packaging our food/goods come in (even some of the containers your “to-go” food comes in) can be cleaned up and re-purposed. Once you realize what all can be done with these containers you'll have a hard time just tossing them in the trash.

I, personally, have trouble throwing away items that I can see future purpose in. Bottles, jars, sturdy plastic containers, sturdy boxes, empty tins, things of that sort. (We'll talk about those later.) My favorite, though, is the sturdy plastic containers that we get our coffee in. They're super easy to clean (I've even put mine through the dishwasher) and they are much thicker/sturdier than most other plastic containers which makes them perfect for storing all kinds of goodies! Below are a few good ideas to try with these re-purposed containers (most of these I've tried myself):

  • Storing dry food goods/Kitchen organization. Flour, sugar(s), tea, cornmeal, dry pasta, rice, beans, etc. Being able to store the goods in a container with a resealable lid will help keep them fresher, longer and will help keep pests out. The extra large containers are great for utensils like whisks and spatulas. You can use them for organizing other parts of your pantry besides just the dry foods.

  • Storing art/hobby supplies. An important part of keeping my art projects going and our Shoppe site fresh is me being able to keep my supplies (somewhat) organized and separated so I can find them.

  • Household organization. Pencils/pens (the smaller canisters are perfect for these), small toys, kid's crafts, storing plastic bags, hair ties/products, small household tools, make-up/brushes, loose nuts and screws, so on. Or you can make a change bank. Just carefully cut a hole in the lid large enough to drop change into and start saving!

Kinda neat, huh? I really do love re-purposing these! I think they are so useful and they keep me from going and buying a bunch of organizers. It's like one of those endless possibility things! Alright, so here's what to do to get them ready:

  • Wash it out. Mild soap and water will do just fine if you don't want to risk the dishwasher. Towel/air dry completely.

  • Vamp it up! I start with a good coat of spray paint – you can find a good kind for around $8 and will coat at least a few containers depending on how many coats you use. I recommend taping off the top of the inside before painting if using for food storage. Once completely dry then add whatever decorations, designs, stickers, your heart desires. I use chalk markers to draw on the black paint (my favorite).

  • Label it. I used chalkboard labels and wrote on them with chalk which, as you can see, is a tad messy so I think I'll try the chalk markers next time.

  • Cut holes in the lid. If you intend to use your re-purposed container for paintbrushes, make-up brushes, utensils, or anything you want to store standing upright then you'll want to cut out spots for them to go through your lid. On the inside of the lid trace around the brushes/items then carefully cut out the holes.

*A few side notes:

  • I have NOT put painted containers through the dishwasher nor would I recommend it. Hand wash with mild soap and hand dry.

  • If you stick anything onto the painted surface, do not try to remove it. If you take the sticker off, the paint will come off with it.

  • Removing and replacing the lid will wear off the paint around the rim.

  • If you're using your container to store small items upright you can put stones in the bottom to help keep them from sliding.

  • Of course, decorating is optional. As you can see on some of my containers I didn't do anything besides throw a label on it real quick and continue on-I was just focused on the organizing part.

So that's it. Simple enough, right? A pretty nifty way to cut back on waste and free up some space anywhere in your house. What are your ideas as to what you can re-purpose these for? We run into useful things all the time we just have to be open to finding them. Did you grow up around someone who re-used butter tubs to hold leftovers or random items? Same concept just expelling it from the fridge throughout the whole house. Again, some other excellent reusable packaging you can be on the lookout for would be things such as empty tins, sturdy cardboard boxes, jars, bottles, plastic containers with lids, “to-go” containers - look on the bottom to see if they are dishwasher/microwave safe, you'd be surprised how many actually are – these are great for taking lunch or sending leftovers with family! I'll write again soon to discuss ideas on two of my other favorite reusable items: bottles and boxes! Until then, I'd love to hear/see any re-purposed coffee container projects of yours!

~Ash. L.

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