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Tossed Toy Box Upcycled into a Dual Purpose Bench Hamper

A friend of mine came to me with a upcycling teaser. She wanted something that she could get free or cheap that could be made into a dual functioning bench and hamper that she could put in her bathroom. She needed a hamper, and a place to sit and read to her little ones while they were in the bathtub.

I thought on the challenge: it had to be a proper height for sitting; it had to have a hinged top so the cavity could hold laundry; and it had to have ventilation. My first thought was a buffet table with the legs removed and the back replaced with lattice for ventilation. Hmm. That was kind of a tall order.

Then it all came together when I noticed a neighbor of mine was getting rid of her kid’s toy box. This was a much simpler solution. The serendipitous factor was my neighbor was getting rid of the toy box because it was missing its back and bottom panels. This flaw was exactly a feature I was seeking.

Toy box as I found it out to the trash.

The first thing I did was give it a fresh coat of paint to get rid of the scuff marks.

Next, I installed rubber coated hooks to the four inside corners (working around the hinge mechanism) and the halfway point on the long sides. I found these screw-in hooks at a bargain outlet (Big Lots) for $3 for a pack of 24. They’re called cup hooks and are intended for hanging coffee mugs from the underside of your cupboards. Honestly, we use them all over our house.

Then I sewed a drawstring bag to serve as the hamper/laundry bag. In place of string, I used elastic.
To view an all-purpose drawstring bag sewing pattern tutorial, click to visit the drawstring bag blog post.

To hook the bag into the inside of the toy box, I installed grommets. This requires a grommet tool that with a craft store coupon costs less than $20.

This is a picture of the grommet tool being used for another tutorial featured in the Reduction Rebel newsletter. Sign up here!

Upcycling is a great way to take discarded items and transform them into something needed and highly functional. What I love most about this particular project is that it has a dual purpose. From homes to studio apartments, there are small spaces that benefit greatly from multipurpose furniture.
Look what it has done for my friend’s amazing bathroom.

You may not have a bathroom this expansive, but you may have a front entrance that could use a seat and storage for shoes, hats, gloves, backpacks – whatever.
Toy boxes are everywhere. They can be painted (even plastic ones) to match your decor and repurposed to meet your seating and storage needs. Go for it; I dare you!

Eve of Reduction: Free Seasonal E-Newsletter; Extra tips and wit on Facebook; Reduction Beauty on Pinterest ; The debut DIY lifestyle book (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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One Response to Tossed Toy Box Upcycled into a Dual Purpose Bench Hamper

  1. Jenny Lynn September 19, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I could use one to hold toilet paper. Seems like the kiddo’s are always yelling for me to come bring them some.

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