Recently I discovered a simple, but very effective way to organise a lot of our kids’ clutter. It’s also great because it recycles tin cans and it costs next to nothing. One of our goals here at “The Forever Years” is to support parents and carers as they raise their children. This idea has reduced a lot of headaches in our house (and also fighting over items like scissors), so I thought I’d share it.
Here’s what I did:
- Took a used tin can and washed it out thoroughly. Different sized tins are good for different items, for example, I used a tall, thin can for paint brushes, another tall thin one for long rulers and a shorter, wider, fatter one for crayons. Any can Is OK, although I personally decided not to use our cat or dog’s meat tins, as, even after washing, they still seem to have a yucky, residue jelly meat smell. Also it’s important to remember that people will be putting their hands into the cans regularly, so make sure there are no jagged edges to the tin. Try to create a “smooth cut” when you use your can opener or, if there are jagged edges, hammer them down or cover them with strong tape.
- I didn’t bother removing the labels from the cans, as I found most of them were glued on quite solidly. Instead, I covered the outside of the cans with white paper, which I glued over the labels. I made sure they went right round the cans and were glued on well.
- I created labels for various items using “Picmonkey” and “Ribbet”. If you’re not keen on using aps like these, the can labels could be created using scrap booking stickers or by hand… make them your own. We don’t have a printer at home, so I saved my labels onto a memory stick and had them printed off at our local “Warehouse Stationery” shop. Four labels were able to fit on one A3 piece of paper, so cost me $3 to print 4 labels. This was the only cost associated with creating these– unless you also count the glue used to stick the labels onto the cans, which wasn’t very much.
In a busy household with six people frequently wanting things like scissors, crayons, felt pens and so on, I have found our new “storage cans” have taken away a lot of stress and chaos. We mainly use them for stationery items, but I also made some for our kids to put pocket money in (see the header at the top of this post). These were fun, because I was able to really personalize them. Our daughter, for example, likes cats, so we put cats on her can. One of my sons has dogs on his and another trains, and so on.
The limits are only your imagination… kids could become involved and create their own containers for pens or other items for their rooms with their own drawings and names on them. As mentioned above, the cans are cheap to create, but as well as that they are a great way to recycle. Please leave a comment and let us know how your creative efforts with cans went, especially if you come up with any other great uses for them which we haven’t mentioned here. (One other idea I thought of was that you could glue the cans together, to make a kind of “stationery storage unit” The individual cans could also store things such as hair ties or clips, jewellery, first aid or bathroom items or small pieces of Lego). Have fun and enjoy!
Have now placed these labels on our “Free Charts & Other Printables” page 🙂