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  • by Barb (Edtl) Shelton

Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Part 5)

If you find that making these gifts-in-a-can is something you want to do more of, you will be soooo glad to have everything organized! I was making these for a couple of years before I organized my supplies, and it was SO much nicer and easier once I got everything in easily-accessible order!

3 views of organized supplies, in bags and bins / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /



If you got to this page and have NO idea what this is about, here are the prior blog posts that explain how to make one of these delightful gifts-in-a-can!!! Links to each part are at the bottom of this page!

5 parts of this Gift-in-a-Can series / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /


The detailed instructions I have given you thus far are designed to keep you from being frustrated, but if you are a minimalist who is not into detail, or now that you have made one of these cans, you don't need as much detail, here's my Minimalist Instructions blog post where I've made the process much simpler.





1) GATHER ITEMS: Find any and all of the items you have collected for making gifts-in-cans, including empty (and clean) cans.

2) GET SUPPLIES OUT: Get a Sharpie pen as well as various sizes of Zip-lock bags. I just got out my boxes of sandwich-size, quart-size, and gallon-size bags.

3) SPREAD IT ALL OUT: Spread out your items onto a large area ~ like a big kitchen table, island, or counter. You just want to be able to see everything you have. So no piles!

4) GROUP ITEMS INTO CATEGORIES: Separate everything according to its category. For example, put all your Get-well supplies in one area, Christmasy supplies in another, Graduation in another, and Birthday supplies in another, etc. Here's all the stuff that I'd been collecting for two years spread out on the table. Just a big MESS at first!

All supplies for Gift-in-a-Can spread out on kitchen table / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

RABBIT TRAIL: This is totally off-topic, but hopefully interesting! ... While I was organizing my supplies, I decided to get a layout photo of the items that go in an Organizing Kit-in-a-Can, since I already had all the stuff out. The white poster board above is my backdrop for the picture below. So the photo below is what I got when I took the photo over the set-up above. (I get these pictures from as-straight-above as I can, while avoiding shadows.) You won't be doing this, of course, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing how this is done.

Supplies for Organizing Gift-in-a-Can / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

5) BAG UP SMALL LOOSE ITEMS: Now that you know the sizes of your piles, you can put all of your loose smaller items into appropriate-sized baggies. You want them to stay together so you don't have to go hunting all over the bin for them. I had bought a dozen tiny Bibles, so I put those into their own baggie; several small votive candles in their own baggie; several small post-it-note tablets in their own bag; etc.

6) SEPARATE ITEMS INTO PILES. Get all of your loose and bagged items together, and separate into piles according to what type of can they will go into. This, of course, depends on what kinds of cans you are doing. I also added a "Fun Extra's" bag for generic items I could put with different kinds of gifts; not just one type.

7) CHOOSE YOUR ZIP-LOCK BAGS: Choose a zip-lock bag to go with each pile, and set it on the pile. I always allow "growing room," so I get a bag that's larger than the size that pile actually needs. I will most likely be adding to the bag down the road, and I don't want to have to get (and relabel) a larger bag when I do.

8) LABEL THE BAGS: Write your category title on each of the zip-lock bags BEFORE you put the items in them! It's much easier to write on empty bags than on filled ones! (Not that I would know this by experience! ;-) ) You want these titles to be close to the top of the bag so that when you're rummaging through all your bags in the bin, you can see the titles without having to pull out the whole bag. (See #9.)

9) FILL THE BAGS: Now go ahead and fill each of the labeled bags with your supplies.

Labeled Bags of Gift-in-a-Can spread out on table / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

You can see above that there are three Birthday bags. This is because I had enough stuff to fill three bags. I don't like to over-stuff my bags as I want to be able to see all the contents without going through the bag.

10) ARRANGE BAGS IN LARGER BIN: Put all these bags into a bin that's large enough to hold them and that, again, will also allow for growth. Cuz, if you like this idea, you know you're going to be getting more supplies!

Case in point: At the top of the previous photo, you can see a bin labeled "GIFTS IN-A-CAN" ~ This was my first bin for these supplies! The grey bin below ~ that I later graduated to ~ could hold three times what that first bin could hold! But just start where you're at, allowing growing room. If you add more items and need to expand your bags, it's not difficult and just takes a well-worth-it few minutes!

Labeled bags in a large bin / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

(And in case you noticed the three cylindrical bins of small Christmas ornaments on the left side there... These are to go in my Christmas can gifts!)

11) LABEL YOUR BIN: And finally, LABEL the outside of your bin so that you can actually FIND it when you need it!

Outside of large labeled supply bin / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

I actually put the same label on both the front and the side of my bin (see below) so that you can see a label whether it's stored length-wise or width-wise.

Two labeled sides of large supply bin / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

I also cover my labels with wide clear tape (or several strips of regular tape) to make them more durable.


So there you have it all! Lots of ideas, how-to's for making these Gifts-in-a-Can, plus how to organize your supplies!!!

This might seem like a lot of trouble, but I'll tell ya, what's more difficult is not having your supplies organized, and not being able to find things when you want to make one of these!

I'd love to hear from you in a comment below if you make one of these Gifts-in-a-can, or if you have another way of organizing your supplies!

Thank you

for joining me!





  • Gift-in-a-Can: Themes & Contents (Part 1) - All sorts of great ideas for themes that you will love, plus contents for each! Sure to get your creative juices flowing!

  • Gift-in-a-Can: Tagging It (Part 4) - Tips for filling and sealing your can, plus ideas and free printables for adding a tag.

5 parts of this Gift-in-a-Can series / Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Pt 5) /

Hexa-pic for Gift-in-a-Can: Organize Your Supplies (Part 5) /

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