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From a Box of Bills to a Craft Organizer

Who pays bills anymore? I know I don’t. Well, at least not the kind where you sit down at your desk, pull out all your bills and your checkbook, write a bunch of checks, and then inevitably give your tongue a paper cut licking envelopes and stamps.

I pay all my bills online. I figure if you can’t accept online payment, you aren’t really serious about getting paid.

(Note to my internet provider: I really DO pay my bills, especially yours!)

So when we decided to clean out our computer desk so my husband could take over some more space, we found we hadn’t really used this old bill organizer in months, for anything other than a catch-all and a few coupons, which were then never used because we forgot we put them there. (OK, “we” really means “I” in this story.)From boring old bill organizer, to creative craft storage.

Anyway, it was taking up a lot of space and not giving back any function, so it had to go…. Or did it? Not one to throw away anything that I may one day see at a thrift store and want to buy back, I decided to hang on to it and find a new use for it. Fortunately, it’s just the size and shape that I need to organize all my printmaking supplies for my Etsy shop.

But it wasn’t very cute. Sure, it was fine for a bill organizer on a computer desk, but not quite what I wanted for my office. Never fear, though, with a little spray paint and Mod Podge, now it’s got a whole new life!Craft Organizer Before and After

If you ever see these at thrift stores, pick one up and try your own organizer makeover. Here’s how.

  1. Sand the surfaces lightly.
  2. Clean well. Use a damp rag to remove all the sanding dust from the surfaces. Then use a compressed air blower (the kind they make to clean out computer keyboards and such) to blast the dust out from all the dividers. You could also try your hairdryer set on high. I didn’t do this, but once I started spray painting, the forced air from the spray paint kicked up all these little dust bunnies! I had to quit spray painting and clean them all up first.
  3. Spray all over with a couple of light, even coats of spray paint. I used Krylon’s Classic Gray in gloss. Be sure to follow the instructions on the can for drying and re-coating times.Transforming a bill organizer to a craft organizer.

Once the spray paint was dry, I decided to add a little decorative touch to the drawers with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge.

Here’s a quick little Mod Podge tutorial that will work on all sorts of decoupage projects.

  1. Cut the paper to the size of the front of the drawers.Mod Podge Tutorial. First, cut paper to size.
  2. Using a foam brush, lightly coat the surface with Mod Podge.Mod Podge Tutorial. Apply a light coat of Mod Podge to surface.
  3. Carefully lay the paper on the surface, starting in the middle and rolling out to the edges. Using a credit card or your fingers, gently push out any air bubbles toward the edges of the paper, and be sure the paper is lined up correctly. If you work quickly, you can pull up the paper if it ends up in the wrong spot.Mod Podge Tutorial. Apply paper starting in center and working toward edges.
  4. Allow to dry. You may need to weigh down the paper as it’s drying so the edges don’t curl up. I use my “Quotable Abigail Adams” for this task. It’s a great book, and quite helpfully heavy. (Slide a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper between your project and your weight so they don’t glue together!)Weighting while Mod Podge Dries
  5. Once the Mod Podge and paper is dry, paint on another light coat of Mod Podge to seal the paper. This gives it that characteristic decoupaged look, and will also help ensure the edges don’t lift up after time.
  6. Dry thoroughly before replacing drawers.Mod Podged Drawer

Or, as in my case, decide you don’t like the paper on the front, and repeat the whole process with lace instead. (You can decoupage fabric in exactly the same manner as paper.)

Finally, I added a bit of colorful paper to the inside of the drawers to give it a little extra character.Paper inside Drawers Now my organizer ties in perfectly with my office, and holds all my printmaking supplies. What’s that? You’re not big into printmaking? That’s OK. You could use one of these for storing scrapbooking supplies, greeting cards, or all sorts of other crafty stuff.Craft Organizer

I’m trying make my home office work a little better for me, and one of the things I want to do is save money on my taxes. So I’m making a few minor adjustments and I’ll be sharing those tips in a later post. Be sure to check back soon if you work from home and want to learn how to take advantage of some great tax breaks.Craft Storage from Bill Organizer

2015 Year in Review - The Palette Muse

Tuesday 29th of December 2015

[…] opened an Etsy shop at the end of 2014, so 2015 was all about learning how to run the shop and how to organize my crafting supplies and […]

Kelly Meier

Saturday 9th of May 2015

It's amazing what a little spray paint and Mod Podge can do! I love how this turned out...makes me hope I find one the next time I'm at goodwill so I can get some of my craft supplies organized. Thanks so much for sharing at the Creative Inspiration party, hope to see you again on Monday night!


Monday 11th of May 2015

Thanks Kelly! I was so glad to find your party. I'll definitely be back this week! :)


Wednesday 29th of April 2015

This is so creative, Meredith. I love the addition of lace and the paper-lined drawers. The idea is a great jump-start for all of those unique, great-piece thrift finds that I never can really decide what to do with.


Wednesday 29th of April 2015

Thanks Karen, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who collects random thrift store "project starters"!

Two Uses Tuesday Link Up 26 | Sarah Celebrates

Monday 27th of April 2015

[…] is always a source of inspiration for me.  Last week she shared how she turned her box of bills to a craft organizer.  Makes me want to buy one so I can up-cycle it. (Bottom, […]

Christine B.

Sunday 26th of April 2015

Organization and upcycling make me a very happy lady, and this project of yours is just superb! I love how you were able to take a forgotten item that was just laying around your house and transform it to bring it back to life. I'm also featuring it as one of my favorite picks at this week's Merry Monday link party! Thanks so much for sharing it with us, and we hope to see you again this week! Great job! :)


Monday 27th of April 2015

Thank you Christine! I love Merry Monday, and I'm heading over there now...


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook