Separate hamburgers Before you put those hamburger patties in the freezer, stack them with a coffee-can lid between each and put them in a plastic bag. Now, when the patties are frozen you’ll be able to easily peel off as many as you need.
Hold kitchen scraps Line a coffee can with a small plastic bag and keep it near the sink to hold kitchen scraps and peelings. Instead of walking back and forth to the garbage can, you’ll make one trip to dump all the scraps at the same time.
Make a bank To make a bank for the kids or a collection can for a favorite charity, use a utility knife to cut a 1/8-inch (3-millimeter) slit in the center of the plastic lid of a coffee can. Tape decorative paper or adhesive plastic to the sides of the kids’ bank; for a collection can, use the sides of the can to highlight the charity you are helping.
Keep the laundry room neat Have an empty coffee can nearby as you’re going through the kids’ pockets before putting up a load of wash. Use it to deposit gum and candy wrappers, paper scraps, and other assorted items that kids like to stuff into their pockets. Keep another can handy for coins and bills.
Make a dehumidifier If your basement is too damp, try this easy-to-make dehumidifier. Fill an empty coffee can with salt and leave it in a corner where it will be undisturbed. Replace the salt at monthly intervals or as needed.
Keep carpets dry Place plastic coffee-can lids under houseplants as saucers. They will protect carpets or wood floors and catch any excess water.
Keep toilet paper dry when camping Bring a few empty coffee cans with you on your next camping trip. Use them to keep toilet paper dry in rainy weather or when you’re carrying supplies in a canoe or boat.
Gauge rainfall or sprinkler coverage Find out if your garden is getting enough water from the rain. Next time it starts to rain, place empty coffee cans in several places around the garden. When the rain stops, measure the depth of the water in the cans. If they measure at least an inch, there’s no need for additional watering. This is also a good way to test if your sprinkler is getting sufficient water to the areas it is supposed to cover.
Make a spot lawn seeder When it’s time to reseed bare spots on your lawn, don’t use a regular spreader. It wastes seed by throwing it everywhere. For precision seeding, fashion a spot seeder from an empty coffee can and a pair of plastic lids. Drill small holes in the bottom of the can, just big enough to let grass seeds pass through. Put one lid over the bottom of the can, fill the can with seeds, and cap it with the other lid. When you’re ready to spread the seeds, take off the bottom lid. When you’re finished, replace it to seal in any unused seed for safe storage.
Eliminate workshop clutter You want small items like screws, nuts, and nails to be handy, but you don’t want them to take up workbench space. Here’s a way to get the small stuff up out of the way. Drill a hole near the top of empty coffee cans so you can hang them on nails in your workshop wall. Label the cans with masking tape so you will know what’s inside.
Soak a paintbrush An empty coffee can is perfect for briefly soaking a paintbrush in thinner before continuing a job the next day. Cut an X into the lid and insert the brush handles so the bristles clear the bottom of the can by about 1/2 inch (12 millimeters). If the can has no lid, attach a stick to the brush handle with a rubber band to keep the bristles off the bottom of the can.
Catch paint drips Turn the plastic lids from old coffee cans into drip catchers under paint cans and under furniture legs when you’re painting. Protect cupboard shelves by putting them under jars of cooking oil and syrup too.