From Miss Spider to Map-y Goodness — A Wastebasket Comes of Age

by Katy on March 6, 2013 · 19 comments

Unless you’re the type of person who suckles at the teat of enjoys a big fat trust fund, your budget for decorating is probably dead last behind housing, food, health insurance, student loans, etc. (And if you are a trust funder, why the heck are reading The Non-Consumer Advocate?!)

So when I figure out a free decor project, I get happier than Justin Bieber with a brand new droopy pair of pants. (Seriously, look it up.)

When my daughter was a toddler I came across this adorable Miss Spider’s Tea Party wastebasket at Target. I have no memory what I paid for it, but knowing me, it was likely on clearance. However, the wastebasket had been relegated to the basement for at least the past ten years, yet it somehow caught my eye the other day. Why? Because I realized it could be freshened up using nothing more than a map and an application of Mod-Podge. (Remember all the vintage maps I picked up from the Goodwill Outlet last fall?)

Because seriously, no 17-year-old wants a Miss Spider’s Tea Party garbage can in her room.

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Wastebasket -- Before

So I set up my supplies in the evening in front of the TV (Entourage, season seven) and got to work. Unlike tidy and organized crafters I did not make a template and then lovingly place the map onto the can. Instead I just eyeballed the project and got to work. I ended up having to use multiple pieces of map as the can is tapered, and I think the end result is hunky-dory!

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Map Wastebasket

I really like how the project turned out, and it looks so much better than the previous plastic garbage can, which I bought when I was pregnant eighteen years ago and was initially used for diaper wipes. Especially since the little swinging lid was stepped on and broken soon after I bought it.

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Broken Wastebasket

Then again, I am a big fan of making sure the small details in a room are as awesome as possible, which I think give a room a completed and deliberate look. Just look at the $2.99 golden Goodwill wastebasket for my spare bedroom. (It still had its $29.99 Bed, Bath and Beyond price tag.) So luxe and pretty!

The Non-Consumer Advocate: The Golden Wastebasket

Or the $4.99 Goodwill chrome bullet wastebasket in my bathroom. Ooh . . . shiny!

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Chrome Bullet Can

Or the $1 garage sale wastebasket in my living room. Mmm . . . elegant and inoffensive.

The Non-Consumer Advocate: Dining Room Wastebasket

Wastebaskets are never going to be a priority for anyone, yet they can still be a attractive and budget-friendly addition to a room. And when the small details are given attention, then the big ones will likely fall into place.

Just like:

“Watch your pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

And when those small details can happen without spending any money, all the better.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianna March 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

If more trust funders read The Non Consumer Advocate, they could hold on to their money much longer or maybe keep from going bankrupt!
Love what you did with the trash can and the map. Looks much more manly than Mrs Spider! I like the one you have in your spare bedroom too, I sure could put that one to use somewhere in my house.
I must admit, between The Non Consumer Advocate and Young House Love, I have been inspired to make some cheap/frugal changes to my sometimes dark and dreary house. I checked the Young House Love book out from the library and have been enjoying the read. Possibly a little too much….. I picked up paint samples today).


Katy March 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm

It’s amazing how much can be accomplished doing nothing but reconfiguring what you already have.

Good luck with your painting project!



Crystal March 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Ohhh, the map wastebasket looks great, Katy!

I recently decoupaged my white plastic bedroom wastebaskets with sewing patterns and LOVED how they turned out! I already had the Mod Podge and patterns on had, so it was a totally free upgrade.

Dianna, I just checked out Young House Love, too. Such a cute couple. The before, during and after photos were may favorite. 🙂


Katy March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

That sounds really cute!



Martha March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm


It seems to me that you love this frugal lifestyle enough that you would be living it even if you were a trust funder..which is why you blog, to help others enjoy the lifestyle too and to live lower on the food chain (not quite what I mean, but I hope you get my drift) .I am motivated to live the way I do because it is easier on the earth, I was raised to be frugal and to love a good deal…

quite the collection of wastebaskets and it seems to be getting better and better!


AFS March 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Using the map to cover Miss Spider was a great idea
Does the top (that held the stepped on lid) come apart from the bottom part of the wastebasket? If so I think no one would suspect it was missing a lid if you just used it that way.
BTW I am a very grateful recipient of a trust fund, AND a faithful reader of The Non-consumer Advocate.
All my life I have worked as an untrained laborer so I pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck before the trust fund. Other than the fact I’ve now paid off my mortgage the trust fund has not changed my lifestyle. I continue to work (at a job I love). However now I am able to help others more than I could before. “Unto whom much is given, much is required”


Katy March 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

There you go, disproving my stereotypes. Next thing you know, you’ll starting saying that weird droopy pants don’t make Justin Bieber happy. 😉



Jean March 6, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Okay, I have to admit I haven’t opened my mod-podge in awhile–but have some, and some foam brushes-and a recipe box in my kitchen that needs some love. And probably a few other things in need of a free upgrade! Inspiring as usual, Katy!


Katy March 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm




Practical Parsimony March 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Suddenly, I am very discontent with my pink, plastic waste basket (tiny) that I bought for my daughter 39 years ago. It does live in the laundry room now. The laundry room waste basket from 35 years ago is in the bathroom–also plastic. I will not get rid of anything that is good, but I could repurpose the plastic ones for storing things and find a classier substitute than plastic for open use.

I really like your use of maps.


Katy March 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Thanks. Any by the way, my laundry room wastebasket is my older son’s diaper pail.



CanadianKate March 7, 2013 at 9:30 am

Another ‘trust funder’ here (actually inheritance but same dif) and I’m also a faithful reader.

Since I inherited both my frugality and my money from my dad (if he hadn’t have been frugal, there would have been no inheritance since he was born with nothing and came to maturity during the depression), I love reading your website for ideas that confirm my mindset.

But I’m a member of the Compact not because of money but because of environmental impact. I can use my ‘trust fund’ to reduce my footprint (Prius, ground source heat pump, steal roof) as opposed to spending the money on tons of electronics, rare marble floors shipped in from goodness knows where, and a new wardrobe every season.

I only shop at thrift stores for things I need, not for things I might need some day. That way, I can leave more things on the shelves for those who can’t afford to buy new. If it isn’t there when I need it, I pause, ask myself if I can do without (or borrow the item) and if I still do need it, I’ll buy new. That happens so rarely because I’ve got out of the habit of *not* making do.

I donate far more to thrift stores than I buy and as I’m downsizing that trend will be accelerated over the next year.

Some times I do buy new for ethical reasons. For example when I needed snow pants, I just bought new because far too many immigrants to Canada can’t afford to buy new so I didn’t want to take the snowpants away from them even though Goodwill did have some the day I went.

Don’t get caught up with stereotypes, most ‘trust funders’ you see aren’t really trust funders, they are people who are living beyond their means because they want to be something they aren’t. I also appear to be something I’m not, but in the other direction!


Kristyn March 8, 2013 at 5:13 am

This is a bit of an odd question but am I the only person who doesn’t have wastebaskets in bedrooms/livingrooms? I only have them in my kitchen, bathrooms, home office and laundry room (what my family did while I grew up). I’m just wondering how unusual that is and if this is at all related to having grown up with pets (more wastebaskets = more potential mess to be made by the cats/dogs)


Katy March 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

My living room wastebasket is shared with the dining room and sits under a desk, and only gets emptied every month or so, and is mostly recycling. And I do projects in our spare bedroom, so I need a wastebasket there.

Not sure about the pet thing, as we have two cats and they leave the wastebaskets alone.



Ellie March 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

What do you know, I’m not even the first “trust funder” to chime in!

To be fair, my “trust fund” is small, and doesn’t produce enough to live on, but it does pad out our income. And it’s the direct result of gandparents and parents who lived modestly and saved so that they did have money to pass on.

I read the non-consumer advocate for ideas on saving money, so that I can 1) have more money only on things I really need or will enjoy (in my case, that largely means experiences instead of stuff), instead of wasting it on whatever crap society tells me I “need” to accumulate; 2) can avoid spending money on stuff that hurts the environment, and 3) have some funds left over to donate to charities I support.

Like someone else said – most people who act “rich’ very often aren’t – more often then not, they’re living paycheck to paycheck and up to their eyeballs in debt. And some of us who watch our pennies aren’t really what people think of as “poor”…we just want to be frugal and sensible and use our money wisely!


Rowen G. March 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

We appear to have the same type of bathroom floor. Yours has less cat hair on it. 🙂


Katie March 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

The last one is my favorite – nice pattern and patina!

My bathroom wastebasket is an orange plastic jack o’lantern bucket. Before that, it was my shower caddy in college for carrying shampoo, etc to the shared bathroom in the dorms. Makes me smile to see it, and the bucket smiles back. 🙂


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