| Fun with repurposing!

Fun with repurposing!

Shopping is risky right now. I don’t know about you, but my quarantine family and I have been meticulously disinfecting every individual item that enters their home, whether grocery ingredient, piece of mail or package. That is simply what it takes in our current crisis to keep our little family safe from coronavirus, especially our immuno-compromised loves. Food and medicine is a must, but are brand new organizing supplies really worth the trip to the store? A safer way that you could shop for new supplies would be to order online and let those packages sit for a few days in the garage until they can safely be considered non-contaminated. But the safest way to shop would be to see what you have right in your own home.

For the first three weeks of the lockdown, I stayed with friends-who-may-as-well-be-family, and the 4 of us took shifts working from home, wrangling the spunky 3.5 year old toddler of the house, doing daily chores of dishes, laundry and cleaning, yardwork, and organizing. I’m thankful that my hosts had some projects that I could tidy up including their food stores, master bathroom and the entire unfinished basement storage. I had a fun time plucking would-be-trash-or-recycling items from around their home and repurposing them as highly functioning containers. No money spent, no virus traces!

Check out the types of things we used! Plastic tubs, wide-mouth glass jars, smartphone box lids, shoeboxes and containers from previous attempts to organize (most of us have them), leftover hardware.

Some tips when using repurposed containers:

  • Whether you use a label maker or a sharpie on white duct tape, it is essential to label as much as you can, unless a container is totally clear and its contents are perfectly visible (see the mason jar containing the dishwashing pods? No question there). Why? Because nobody can argue with a label! Hence, things don’t get misplaced or forgotten.
  • I love using jars to keep longish things upright, which saves surface space (see the plastic utensils in the small mason jar).
  • Even though the plastic tub shown above is round, use rectangular and square tubs when possible- they are most space efficient.

Here are some before and afters of quarantine projects we’ve tackled around the house…

Under the bathroom sink

Check out how we repurposed two of the toddler’s shoeboxes to coral his mom’s hair care items. We also found a small box lid for an electronic to gather small items. Use small containers for small items so that they don’t fall over and get lost in the bottom of a bigger bin.


Basement Project

We descended the stairs to find tons of useful items that needed to be grouped, labelled and organized. Floor space was scarce, and it was slightly hazardous to walk around the basement as we began. Some of the items were even camping and survival supplies! Not a bad idea to have for these times.

Basement before
Basement before

My friends decluttered a lot of unnecessary items, which freed up many of the bins they already owned. Who cares if the bins don’t match? In a storage space like an unfinished basement, it’s about function over aesthetic. Each bin is labelled for quick and easy retrieval of what they need. We even found some long-ago purchased chain and clamps, and used them to hang long pieces of wood and metal rods from the rafters so they don’t take up valuable floor space. In the same spirit we used 4 inch nails that we found in a little unmarked box and hung up yard tools and hula hoops. 

Basement after
Basement after
Basement after… Now a functioning workshop space!
Basement after… Using repurposed clamps and chains to hang long items from rafters.
Basement after… 6 coolers revealed!
Basement after… All the gardening supplies in one spot.

By the time we were done there were not only 4 distinct “districts” of organized supplies on shelves, but a very spacious workshop area complete with stools and tables. My friends are makers and artists, and now they have a clear space to create.

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