That word can mean several things. Some might think of ducks, some might think of a past president or celebrity.
When I see that word, I think of money: dollar bills, and the pieces of paper that come in the mail and take those dollar bills away.
Over the past few months, Sam and I have shed a bit of our newlywed status by becoming more independent and accepting more responsibilities. That means paying for things we didn’t pay for in college: cell phone service, electricity, water, rent… It’s a lot to keep up with, and it’s exhausting to think that the bills will keep coming for the rest of our lives.
Since Sam is busy with his first semester of teaching, I’ve taken over most of our financial obligations. I’m still looking for a job, but I’m still running into constant dead ends because I don’t have enough experience. I only graduated last spring, so I don’t know how I’m supposed to gain experience if no one will hire me. So, at this point, Sam makes the money and I spend it! I don’t go on shopping sprees, though; I spend our money through bills, making sure we don’t get kicked out of our apartment for not paying rent, or get left in the dark when our electricity provider shuts us off. I spend our money on groceries to make sure Sam doesn’t starve.
Keeping up with our mail has been an issue for me because it tends to float all over our apartment. Sometimes I drop it off on the kitchen island, sometimes it ends up on the desk in our bedroom… It’s easy to lose track of it all. I’ve been looking for a good mail sorter for a few weeks now. Our town has several great antique stores, but none of them had exactly what I was looking for: I needed something that would have vertical slots for me to sort our mail so our bills don’t get lost. I found baskets and other containers that were close to what I needed, but not quite. I even went to Office Depot and considered buying a $40 stacking tray set, but couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money.
So, what’s a girl to do when what she wants doesn’t exist? Do it herself!
Here’s how I made my simple mail sorter for my kitchen counter out of three basic magazine holders. It was an easy and fun project that I completed in less than an hour, but it makes a huge difference in my house.
First, I started with three black magazine holders I found at Target for $4.99 each. They’re made out of sturdy cardboard.
I removed the metal label holders on the front of them. They popped off pretty easily. After that, I stacked them on their sides and decided how I wanted them to fit in the corner on my counter. Here’s what the corner looked like before:
Clutter! An ugly, cheap toaster we never use, Sam’s Gatorade powder, some random ribbon, and a stained plastic cutting board. The only thing I deemed worthy to stay was our adorable desktop panda calendar. I wanted the mail sorter to fit in the corner where our Darth Vader cookie jar was, so I planned accordingly and glued them together with a hot glue gun.
Looks great, but I wanted to dress it up a bit. I found these old reading flash cards at a local thrift store and thought they were charming.
I love the classic font and the antique, stained look. I cut them to size and glued them to the side to give the mail sorter a fun, whimsical feel.
After that, the black top felt too plain. I pulled out an old paperback copy of The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty that I used in a previous craft project. A professor assigned the book in a Southern Literature class in college, and I ordered this copy off Amazon for a penny. It arrived with the first chapter missing, so I replaced it and use it for crafting now. It has beautifully yellowed pages because it’s so old. I used it to decoupage the top of the mail sorter.
Then, I cleared off my counter. Everything found a new place, including Darth Vader, who now guards the fridge against Rebel forces:
And the mail sorter looks great on the counter! It adds a lot of character to my kitchen.
This is a great project because it’s completely customizable. You could use different patterns of scrapbook paper to make any color combination you want. You could even make cute labels for each of the slots.
What do you think? Should I have sprung for the stacking trays, or was this a good alternative?