Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

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Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

Plastic organizers are wonderful and durable and often reasonably priced, but sometimes it's nice to avoid whatever unpleasant weather has you hunkering down, save your pennies and make use of things you already have around the house while the urge to organize is still with you. Hit the recycle bin for some boxes, grab a ruler and some tape and get to work. Here's a simple project to give you the idea, but there are all sorts of interesting possibilities.


Tired of picking up crayons that have rolled off the table? Cereal box plus a gogurt box to the rescue! The tray is shallow and broad so that crayons can be spread out for good visibility and easy pick up.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

First measure and cut your cardboard, using as much of the original architecture as you'd like. The sides of this tray are 1" tall, and the cereal box has been sized down on one edge to match the length of the gogurt box.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

Use tape and/or glue to secure the structure.

You can go ahead and use it at this point if you're in a hurry, or want to try out a particular configuration and see if it's practical in daily use. This example was however covered in wrapping paper before being delivered for testing.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

You can go quick and dirty as this one was, or take your time and do a really nice job with coordinating and/or contrasting paper and attention to detail.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

For a little extra stability and a neat bottom, another piece of cereal box cardboard was glued to the bottom, covering the edges of the wrapping paper and adding rigidity to the tray. Packing tape around the edges gives durability.


Fabric is a great alternative to paper for creating an even sturdier and more polished organizer. Cardboard with fabric glued to it is surprisingly sturdy, and can last for years of heavy use.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

Contact Paper is another great option. Or mod podge/decoupage.

And don't forget spray or other paint, especially if you have some left over from another project just sitting around and going dry. If corrugated cardboard is used, the edges can be neated up with masking tape before painting.

A whole series of boxes cut off at the same height can be attached together and form a complicated drawer management system.

Organizer Trays from the Recycling Bin

Left uncovered as this one is, it's not terribly attractive, but certainly more so than the jumble that preceded it for not much effort or money.

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