Building a Cubbyhole Cabinet from Trash

In my new book, Tips and Tales from the Workshop, I tell the story of my first encounter with my granddad’s basement workshop and the various storage solutions he had fashioned himself. It was likely my first cognizant encounter with clever shop tips.

Above his bench gramps had rows of baby food jar lids nailed to boards with the jars screwed in beneath them, filled with neatly organized and labeled screws, nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. He also had rows of 8 O’Clock Coffee cans filled with tools and supplies. He’d drilled holes in his paint brush handles and had straight pieces of coat hanger wire through them holding the brushes over coffee cans of turpentine. To a six year old, this all seemed so ingenious to me, so clever, my granddad might as well have been Caractacus Pott, the eccentric inventor in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

This Instructables project brought back those memories of granddad’s shop. It is a simple and basic upcycling project to turn scrap lumber, soup cans, and some plastic oil and antifreeze jugs into a storage unit for hardware and the like.

The Instructable member, 14bwenger, entered this into the site’s Trash to Treasure contest. And perhaps not surprisingly, the project was inspired by his grandfather who similarly used these sorts of recycled container storage and organizing solutions.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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