Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Box-tops/ School fundraiser organizer boxes

I know this is at the very end of the school year, but maybe this will make a fun summer project to keep the kids busy…

IMG_1024This would be a fun gift kids could make for their grandparents to support their school, too… just an idea.
I am posting a formal set of instructions on how to make the label organizers, enjoy! (My original post is here)
I used to keep various Campbell’s labels, Box Tops, poptabs, etc. in Ziploc sandwich bags in a shallow basket above my microwave. Although it worked well, it wasted space and I needed something that I could just pop the item in and not have to use both hands – and I needed it in a place the kids could help out with. This was my solution…
Note: I really expanded on the methods to make this adaptable to whatever people have on hand and make this an easy project.
Depending on where you want to put your organizer boxes and what you plan to put in them (like the milk tops are bulky, for example), and how often you want to have to empty them, you may choose a different sized box or choose to place dividers in the boxes. I have 2 full boxes (pop tabs and milk tops) and 2 with a divider in them that open on both ends (Campbell’s/BTFE and generic UPCs (2 brands)). I used generic corn bread boxes (about the size of Jiffy mixes) If you don't think using a shallow drawer like I did will work for you, consider this:
  • Standing up the boxes for deeper drawers (such as bread drawers) and use noodle boxes (bonus -you could leave the window uncovered to see how full it is!) or mac n' cheese boxes.
  • lining them up on a shelf near your kitchen, like books. "Helper" boxes might work well for this or larger noodle boxes.
Wherever you pick to store them, try to make them accessible to the kids, so they can help out. My kids never have complained about dropping them into the boxes!
I will give instructions for using a shallow drawer (3.5 inches), but adapt these for whatever application you choose to use.

Here are the instructions:
  1. Make a list of collectable items. For my area it is these items. If you aren’t sure what to collect, contact your local elementary school to find out what they collect.
    • Pop tabs for McD’s
    • Campbell's UPCs, etc
    • Box Tops for Education
    • Kemps milk lids
    • Our Family generic line UPCs
    • Food Club/Top Care/Full Circle/Paws/Top Crest generic line UPCs (from Cash Wise- UPC starts w/ 368)
    • Econo Foods receipts (I tuck these between the box and drawer front)
      ...I also collect Cash Wise general rental receipts, Land of Lakes milk tops, Coke Rewards (I redeem these on the computer right away for myself, but these can be collected by schools as well) and a few others but these don't have "homes" in the boxes because I rarely have them.
  2. Evaluate how much room you need for each of these items to be able to empty the boxes only a few times a year, ideally, based on your particular consumption.
  3. Measure how wide and tall your drawer is. Figure out how many divisions you need and bring your ruler and notepad with measurements along with you to the grocery store. Have fun measuring for the ideal box. Be sure to pick sturdy, non-crushed/damaged boxes. In addition to the types mentioned above, consider pop tart, cheese, animal cracker or Breton cracker boxes or even foil/plastic wrap type boxes (but these may not take advantage of the height of your drawer as well, and you would have to remove or tape over the sharp edge).

    label test fit
  4. Before starting, check the fit in your drawer to make sure they will fit correctly! Carefully open boxes and remove contents. Either make the contents or copy/scan/photograph the instructions and label the packages before starting!
  5. label what you needGather a glue stick (or other dry-type adhesive), scissors, duct or other tape, sharp craft knife and paper to cover your boxes with to make them all pretty.
  6. Cut rectangles out on the tops of the boxes (I used about .25 inch by 2 inches on most). You can just freehand it or completely open and flatten the b ox, measure and cut with craft knife. For the two without dividers, I simply held the open end shut for stability and cut out the rectangle. You will have to open the box completely to glue in the dividers, though, if you’re going to need to divide boxes.label cut slot
  7. You may want to re-enforce the openings you just cut with duct tape or other tape and repeat cutting a hole in that as well.
  8. Reassemble boxes if necessary.
  9. Now pick your paper you want to cover the boxes with. I chose to cover the boxes to compliment my decor. You could cover your boxes with scrapbook paper, newspaper, gift-wrap, kids' drawings, or even wallpaper or fabric. Cardstock-thickness paper might be a little hard to work with, though. Also, if your covering is thin or light-colored, you may want to completely open your box and cover the "inside" and re-assemble it inside-out.
  10. label glue paperApply glue to the top of the box with the cutouts on it. (if you are using a flattened box, do one section at a time, allowing for the folds.) Firmly press box onto the center of the wrong side of paper. Continue "wrapping" the box by gluing one side at a time label top tab detailand putting the seam on the bottom. Important! Neatly cover small side tabs on the ends of the box that will be on topIMG_0851 when the box is in place. By having those on the outside instead of the larger flaps, you will have a neater presentation when they are all lined up in your drawer. Carefully re-cut holes and cut apart flaps, and re-assemble box if necessary.
  11. IMG_0854I decided to put some nicer paper on the tops of my boxes. To do this, I used a tiny bit of glue on backside of the paper(just to hold it in place) and adhered it to the top of the box. Then, I used a pencil and let the tip of the pencil trace the outline of the slot on the inside of the box. I removed the decorative top and cut out the pencil shape on the wrong side of the decorative paper and re-adhered it to the top of the box, lining up the slots.


  12. To hold the ends closed, you can simply wrap the sides of the box with a rubber band, or paperclip the boxes together (ignoring my flap tip above). I got a little fancy and used 2 brads and a baby hair band to hold them shut the first time I made these. You could also try velcro.
  13. Try lining them up in your drawer! You may find they want to fall over. There are many ways to remedy this. You can try:
    • Putting some sort of weight in the bottoms, such as a few small stones or marbles
    • Lining the front and/or bottom of the drawer with a strip of magnet or velcro and doing the same with the boxes (or be cheap and cut up all those excess business card magnets on your fridge and use those instead)
    • Or do what I did and use an old tension curtain rod (or string and 2 small adhesive hooks) in front of the boxes to keep them up against the drawer front.
    • Of course you could tape them as well but that may gunk up your drawer.
  14. Label the boxes by each slot, adhering a picture of what goes in there if need be and let the kids fill them up. Enjoy harnessing the clutter and doing a good deed for your school!
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