Repurposed: Jam Jar Storage with Chalkboard Lids

January 7th, 2013

I’ve been slowly plugging away at organizing and re-organizing our kitchen. I recently showed you my spice jar drawer:

And I figured it was time to tackle the pantry. We have a large cabinet pantry – you can see it here on the far left next to the fridge:

Here’s what it looks like with the door open (this was after I reorganized it):

And here’s the top drawer (there are two and they are massive):

This photo was obviously taken after the organization :p I love this drawer because it fits full-sized cereal boxes, and keeps all the bread items accessible and off the counter tops.

In my organizing I came across this drawer that we’ve been using to store TONS of used jam jars and salsa jars. I couldn’t part with them because they were glass and so pretty, but I was about ready to because we have tons of them. Some I’ve been using to hold misc pantry items like small amount of left-over pasta, raisins, chocolate chips, tea bags, stevia packets etc. And a bunch were just empty.

I organized that drawer in the pantry and filled most of the empty ones and cleaned it up and it looked like this:

Which is pretty good, but I wasn’t in love with all that red gingham, and it’s hard to tell what is inside of them from above. So I thought about making some sort of label to put on the lids, but that seemed like a lot of work especially if the contents do end up changing. So then, I wondered if I could spray-paint the lids with some of my handy-dandy chalkboard paint, and then just write on the lids what each one contained.

I consulted with Mr. Project who was confident that the lids would take the paint, and then I filled up a make-shift paint booth (cardboard box) with lids and painted.

The painting went well and stuck okay. No problems getting them to take the paint (though make sure they are all clean and free of grease). They can scratch though with a sharp nail or object. You could prime or sand before the spray paint to avoid this, or possibly paint, write your contents, and then clear-coat. But then you wont be able to change what the lid says… which could be fine depending on your storage system. I just painted them and am okay with any scratching here or there – these odds & ends don’t get too much every-day use, so I don’t think they’ll show wear too quickly. And since this is a repurpose project it doesn’t need to last forever. I also recommend using a chalk marker if you don’t want your lids to smudge.

After seeing my horrible chalk-handwriting, Mr. Project volunteered to write the labels for me:

And there you have it, a much more chic drawer of pantry odds & ends. And best part is it was all using stuff that I already had. Yay for free projects!

Carpool/School schedule planner *Free Download

August 27th, 2012

I’ve had a few people ask for some sort of weekly schedule to organize all the carpools and before/after school activities and/or child care situations. I know a mom of 4 who is just constantly on the go when school starts taking kids to and fro and making sure everyone is accounted for and taken care of. I can’t believe how incredibly complicated her weekly schedule is! Of course when dealing with such a complex schedule, it’s hard to make a one-size fits all type of schedule form. So I tried to simplify as much as I could. I created 3 columns – Carpool schedule, Before school schedule, After school schedule. If only one or two applies to you then you can cut off the others and just keep your weekly carpool schedule in your house binder. You can also fill this out and keep a standard weekly schedule in place – or you can print one out weekly to make sure your on top of all the variations in schedule during the week. Hopefully keeping it simple means that it’s a workable form for most anyone who has a lot to do during the school week.

Click on the image below to begin download of PDF file

Click on the image above to download a PDF version of my printable carpool schedule. The downloadable PDF in this article (and across my entire site) is free for personal use only. If you would like to blog about this free download, please accompany any images from my site with a credit and link back to this article. As a courtesy please do not link directly to a downloadable file but rather to this page. At this time, no customizations of this or any of my forms are available. Forms are a free download AS IS. Also since you’ve made it this far, please subscribe to my RSS feed and facebook page so you can find me again! And don’t forget to tell your friends!



Spice jar organization – custom drawer

August 7th, 2012

Okay, so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted…. way too long! I’ve been basking in my early-pregnancy zombiness which includes sleeping, napping, resting, and trying to get some work done. And oh yeah… keep my toddler from killing himself (mostly through convincing him that he wants to “snuggle mama” and lay next to me while we watch Sprout ). I am starting to feel a bit more productive and we’ve started on another big phase of house projects before the baby comes. I also have lots of new work projects that have been taking up 90% of my actual productive time, so the blog has become super low priority. But I miss it like crazy, so hopefully I can really follow through and get this machine up and running again!

So onto a quick project that I finished yesterday… Spice Jars! So when Mr. Project built the kitchen cabinets, we planned on having two drawers for spices and a drawer for liquids/oils next to the stove.  The top two are for spices and the bottom for oils. 

For the spice jars we found these empty glass jars from The Container Store. We figured that 24 of these jars would fit perfectly in each drawer.

Mr. Project measured everything and cut a 1/4″ board that fit inside the drawer and drilled circle holes in it for each of the jars to fit. This is a super simple modification that anyone could do to their drawers. The finished drawer insert and jars look like this:

The board sits about 2 inches up via scrap wood that he nailed underneath in the back and front of the board. The board is also removable for cleaning. I thought I had  a picture of the drawer with no spices, but I couldn’t find it! Oh well, you can imagine what it looks like without the jars.

For a few months we’ve been living with these temporary tags taped on the top of each jar identifying the contents. But now that we’re working on projects again, I ordered some 1.5″ round stickers and designed some cute labels that match the kitchen.

And printed them on the label paper.

And finally put them on the spice jars!

So now we have a useful and impressive spice drawer! And best of all, nothing can get lost in there!

I have tons of other projects to share as well as updates on our little family, so come back and visit soon!