Monday, January 7, 2013

DIY desk organizer

If your house is at all like ours, mail and coupons and the like tend to pile up.  Honestly, there are times we can't see the top of the table because things just pile up (and because we have to Frodo-proof the house before we leave; that puppy loves to eat paper). 

In an effort to ease our frustration over not being able to find coupons when we're heading out the door, and to make sure all of our bills were in one convenient place I headed to that mecca of DIY, Pinterest.  I melded a bunch of ideas together and came up with this...

I already had everything I needed, and I could utilize some of the empty toilet paper rolls I've been hanging onto for just such a project.  And now you can make one for yourself.  Here's how.

First gather up your materials. 

You will need:
  • a box - it could be a shoe box, or something of a similar size.  I used a box leftover from Christmas.  If there are lid flaps you should cut them off.  
  • Paper for covering stuff - I used scrapping paper, but you could use wrapping paper, newspaper, or really anything you have hanging around the house.
  • ModPodge or some other decoupage medium
  • empty toilet paper rolls
  • scissors, obviously
  • something to apply glue (I used foam brush that had already seen better days)

Step one - cover the inside of your box.  This doesn't have to look perfect, because you're going to put stuff into your finished project.  I used two 12X12 inch pages of scrapping paper, and glued them down.

 Step two - cover the outside of your box.  I had been trying to find a purpose for some paper I had featuring vintage post cards, so I cut them up and wrapped them around the box, again gluing them down.  One note about decoupage - I ALWAYS end up using too much medium, which makes the paper wet and it ends up being bumpy.  Try to use as little glue as possible to make sure your paper sticks.  The box I was using was also uneven, which didn't help matters.  Once you've covered your box go over the whole thing with a THIN layer of decoupage to make sure everything is covered and all of your seams are sealed.


 Step three - decide how many dividers you want in your organizer, and cut to fit.  Make sure the fit is snug.  I used the flaps from the lid of my box, but you could use any sort of cardboard you have. I wanted to have one section for ads and coupons, another for bills and important mail, and a third for pen/pencil/paintbrush organization.

Note- I always keep empty cereal type boxes (granola bars, frozen dinners, even dog treats - any of those thin cardboard boxes).  While making decorations and what not for our wedding, my friend Ant opened my eyes to the many many purposes for these boxes.  You can make banners, journals, scrapbooks, gift bags, etc. from what would otherwise be recycle trash. 

 Step Four - cover the divider pieces with paper - I had some postcard pieces left over so I used those.  I probably would have used a solid coordinating color if I hadn't had enough post cards.  I chose to not glue my dividers in place, to allow the option of adjusting them in the future if I want/need to. 

 Step Five - place the empty toilet paper tubes into the front section (after making sure you get all the little pits of paper off, of course!).  I randomly grabbed ten our of my craft supply box, and it was the perfect amount.  You, of course, could use more or less as you see fit.  I didn't take the time to cover them with paper, but I might cover them in the future.  Or, I may cut the tubes down a little so that they end below the edge of the box (which would take far less time).  Use the first divider to hold the tubes in place. 

 Step Six - you're finished... now load your organizer up with things that need to be organized! 

This project took me about an hour - including time to let my dogs out and refill my coffee cup and what not.  It cost me nothing, because I already had everything I needed.  That's part of the beauty of using re-purposed materials.  Scrapbook paper costs between .50 and 2.00 a page, and I used 5 sheets.  Decoupage glue can range in price from around $6 for store brand, up to almost $20 for fancy name brand.  A jar lasts me quite some time, and you can save 40% or more if you use coupons that the craft stores always give out.  I use the mobile apps on my phone so I always have at least one coupon.  Joann fabrics is really good about letting you use not only their coupons, but those of their competitors as well.

If you have any comments, questions, or ideas for other projects feel free to post below.  <3

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