A Fun Little Non-Consumer Upcycle

by Katy on June 29, 2023 · 28 comments

You might be getting sick and tired of reading about the free things I’ve been sourcing to turn my daughter’s childhood bedroom back into an attractive and usable space. (Like how I got this dresser and this rug. for free!) If so, too bad . . .  because I figured out a freebie solution to there being no wastebasket in the room.

It all started with a listing in my Buy Nothing group for this goofy metal kombucha bucket. I doubt you remember, but I blogged in 2013 about covering my daughter’s Miss Spider Tea Party wastebasket with vintage maps for a less preschool-y vibe. It’s actually the wastebasket that she took with her to her new apartment, and the reason why I need a replacement. I still had the supplies on hand.

Those supplies? Mod-Podge craft glue and a couple of vintage maps. Likely the same bottle of Mod-Podge, which I thought would be dried out but was actually just fine. I created a simple pattern piece from a sheet of paper and didn’t overthink it. After all, it’s a wastebasket for a spare bedroom — the stakes were low.

Here it is, halfway completed:

I made sure to highlight important geographic locales.

The entire project took less than a half hour from start to finish and I’m 100% pleased with the result. I posted photos on my Instagram stories and had one follower write that she was inspired to do the same thing with a Trader Joe’s popcorn tin, which I love!

I’m amazed at how quickly this room is finally coming together. I’ve spent months methodically but unsuccessfully looking for the anchor pieces to bring the room together, and have somehow found everything almost all at once! For free.

Love me some free stuff.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Dmarie June 29, 2023 at 5:07 am

“highlight important geographic locales” *chuckle* thanks for making me laugh, Katy 😀


Katy June 29, 2023 at 9:50 am

tee hee hee.


Jan June 29, 2023 at 5:42 am

“Wankers Corner” is the best part! I love it! 🙂


Katy June 29, 2023 at 9:50 am

It really is.


MB in MN June 29, 2023 at 5:53 am

I already loved the dresser and rug, and now I love the wastebasket! I’ll keep your project in mind when I see one of those big popcorn buckets. Great upcycle!


Joanne in the UK June 29, 2023 at 5:54 am

Wanker’s corner and ‘anchor pieces’ made me titter!!


Ava June 29, 2023 at 6:25 am

You did a great job upcycling that bucket. I hope you will give us a tour of the whole room once it is finished.


Ashley Bananas June 29, 2023 at 7:03 am

I’ve always said I could furnish a house with free items, and honestly I think it’s true. If our planet stopped producing new goods for a year we would still have plenty of new and used items to fill the needs of our population without waiver. I too hope you will share the finished room when you’re ready. I’m sure it will be great!


Katy June 29, 2023 at 9:49 am

It’s certainly a bit hodge podge, but it’ll be cute when it’s all done. I’ll be sure to share when it’s complete.


Sandra June 29, 2023 at 7:36 am

What a joy to make something useful and handsome. I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than to repurpose or to see my family members take castoffs and leftovers and make something new.

You can’t bore me. I love to read your blog and the comments or your followers. Please continue to delight and amaze me with your creativity and your practical frugality.

I, too, look forward to “the Reveal” when you have finished your daughter’s old room into the new guest bedroom.

I love the surprise of finding a new post every few days.

A recent trip to the dented vegetable store found crescent roll tubes 2/$1.00. I picked up 4. Then I came home to search for a recipe that would use leftover rotisserie chicken and crescent rolls. Found it! It’s called Chicken Roll Ups. It is a keeper. Makes 8 servings and reheats easily in the oven.


Katy June 29, 2023 at 9:48 am

The “reveal” is going to be awhile, as it hinges on my daughter finding the time to go through all her childhood stuff. It would only take an afternoon, but she and I have different priorities. 😉


Cathy June 29, 2023 at 9:43 am

Never apologize or think anyone is sick of too many posts! There can never be too many. Now you’ve set the bar high, several a week!! LOL!


Katy June 29, 2023 at 9:45 am

I’m posting every day for the whole week as a writing exercise.


Jenn June 29, 2023 at 10:16 am

Back when Wankers was in the middle of nowhere!


Katy June 29, 2023 at 10:20 am

It is a vintage map!


Selena June 29, 2023 at 3:15 pm

Now I have Married with Children on the brain – Peggy nee Wanker Bundy lol..


Susan June 29, 2023 at 12:02 pm

I did something similar with a discolored lampshade using maps of all the locations we’ve lived in.


Katy June 29, 2023 at 2:28 pm

Oh, I love this!


Dicey June 29, 2023 at 12:48 pm

This is as good a place as any to share this story…

Our kids live in Aspen, which is the spendiest of all spendy places, IMO. I take great pleasure in shopping at the three-story thrift shop in town and always try to go there at least twice per trip.

For some reason I’d never heard of “The Motherlode Mercantile”, just outside of town, until this trip. It’s actually the town dump, er, recycling center. People leave perfectly good stuff in a designated spot and they loosely organize and sell it for insanely good prices.


We needed to outfit an outdoor camping space. We probably made six trips there in two weeks and had a complete blast. We asked the very helpful person who worked there if she brings something home every day. Her priceless reply? She had to start riding her bike to work.

If you’re ever in the area…


Katy June 29, 2023 at 2:31 pm

Good thing I don’t live in Aspen!


K D June 29, 2023 at 2:33 pm

Great creativity on the waste basket.

In rooms guests rarely go in I have used repurposed items for waste baskets over the years, both the hard plastic liner for an old lunch box DH had and the waste basket part of a dead paper shredder. Not as nice looking as what Katy did but fully functional.

I look forward to seeing the room makeover reveal.


Coral Clarke June 29, 2023 at 6:31 pm

Here in Australia we can offer Mt Buggery,Useless Loop,Sauce bottle Swamp,Quality Knob, Boing Boing,Mossy Nipple Bend, which is near Lake Fanny,and Prickly Bottom! These are all verifiably true!


Katy June 29, 2023 at 7:46 pm

I offer a slow clap for whoever named these unfortunate areas.


Amy.in.pdx June 29, 2023 at 6:48 pm

My hubs, the teen and I are always looking for new-to-us places to explore around Portland. Will be adding a trip to Wanker’s Corner to our summer bucket list. (See what I did there)!


Ecoteri June 29, 2023 at 9:01 pm

Loving the ongoing daily posts, they are so satisfying on their own, made even saucier with all the responses… My Daughter just sent me a couple of images of her new-to-her, SUPER sweet, solid wood, Streetside-score coffee table with two folding down wings. She has learned to check out the street free piles that show up in her older walkable neighbourhood, and I can’t be prouder of this 22-year-old who knows the value of free = and has no problem doing another circle round a block to check out something glimpsed out of the side of her eye as she drove by. She isn’t totally furnishing her place for free, but certainly has a few pieces of furniture and kitchen stuff that she picked up off the side of the side-walk.


Jen in Santa Cruz June 29, 2023 at 9:49 pm

Adding Wankers Corner to my Bucket List!

Love this idea! I have been using up my hoard of old maps for wrapping paper (so cute with twine!) for years, but I could use a new wastebasket so will be copying this idea.


Carolyn Arnett June 30, 2023 at 4:59 am

I love that the new wastebasket has a handle. I’m thinking all wastebaskets should have handles to make them easier to empty. I will be scouting around for something similar.


Elizabeth B June 30, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Wankers Corner. Oh em gee. I die.
Fabulous project, Katy! Thank you for the inspiration!


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