Clever Coffee Can Hacks That’ll Save You Time, Money and Effort

Emptied all of the coffee out of the coffee can? Don't throw it out just yet! Here are 15 genius ways to put a coffee can to work all around the house.

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Coffee can hacks
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Bake bread in a coffee can

Use small metal coffee cans to bake perfectly cylindrical loaves of bread. Use your favourite bread recipe, but put the dough into a well-greased coffee can instead of a loaf tin. For yeast breads, use two cans and fill each only half full. Grease the inside of the lids and place them on the cans. For yeast breads, you’ll know when it’s time to bake when the rising dough pushes the lids off. Place the cans, without their lids, upright in the oven to bake.

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Use coffee cans as lawn seeders
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Turn a coffee can into a yard seeder

When it’s time to re-seed bare spots on the lawn, make a spot seeder from an empty coffee can and a pair of plastic lids for precise seeding. Drill small holes in the bottom of the tin, just large enough to let grass seeds pass through. Put one lid over the bottom of the can, fill it with seeds, and cap it with the other lid. When you’re ready to spread the seeds, take off the bottom lid. When you’ve finished, replace it to seal in any unused seed for safe storage.

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DIY coffee can ideas - men's belt
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Store belts

If you have more belts than you have places to hang them up, just roll them up and store them in a large, clean coffee can with a clear lid. Large coffee cans are just the right size to keep belts from creasing and a clear lid will let you find each belt easily.

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Make a coffee can bird feeder
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Make a coffee can bird feeder

To fashion a coffee can into a sturdy bird feeder, begin with a full can and open the top only halfway. (Pour the coffee into an airtight container.) Then open the bottom of the can halfway the same way. Carefully bend the cut ends down inside the can so the edges are not exposed to cut you. Punch a hole in the side of the can at both ends, where it will be the ‘top’ of the feeder and put some wire through each end to make a hanger.

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Use a coffee can as a bank
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Build a DIY bank

To make a bank for the children or a collection can for a favourite charity, use a utility knife to cut a slit in the centre of the plastic lid of a coffee can. Tape decorative paper or adhesive plastic to the sides of the “bank”; for a collection can, use the sides of the can to highlight the name of the charity you are helping.

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Use coffee cans for kitchen scraps
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Collect kitchen scraps

Line a coffee can with a small plastic bag (even a used plastic produce bag will do) 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.

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DIY coffee can ideas - coarse salt
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Turn a coffee can into a DIY humidifier

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.

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Use coffee cans to keep toilet paper dry when camping
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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.

Discover more travel hacks that could save your next vacation.

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Use a coffee can as a rain gauge
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Make a DIY rain gauge

Want to find out if your garden is getting enough water from the rain? Next time it starts to drizzle, 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.

Here are 20 gardening tips that’ll come in handy this summer.

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Use coffee cans to separate hamburgers
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Separate hamburgers with a coffee can lid

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.

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Use coffee cans in the laundry room
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Organize a cluttered laundry room

Keep an empty coffee can nearby as you’re going through the kids’ pockets before putting a load in the washer. Use it to deposit receipts and wrappers, paper scraps and other assorted items that kids tend to stuff into their pockets. Keep another coffee can handy for coins and bills.

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Use coffee can lids as plant saucers
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Use coffee can lids as plant saucers

Place plastic coffee-can lids under houseplants as saucers. They’ll protect carpets and wood floors and catch any excess water.

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DIY coffee can ideas - home workshop tools
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Use coffee cans to 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’ll know what’s inside.

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Use nail polish remover to take paint off of windows
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Soak a used paintbrush in an empty coffee can

An empty coffee can is perfect for briefly soaking a paintbrush in thinner before continuing a job the next day. Cut a small “X” into the lid and insert the brush handles so the bristles clear the bottom of the can by about 12mm (1/2-inch). 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.

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Use a coffee can lid to catch paint drips
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Use a coffee can lid to 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.

Next, check out 13 cleaning hacks that take the hassle out of housekeeping.

Originally Published in Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

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