Organize Creative Supplies with a Dishwasher Basket

It was one of those moments when your brain stalls, a low sputtering sound flutters deep inside your skull for a second, and then one of your eyeballs pops out and rolls on the ground.

I had come across a used dishwasher silverware basket at a garage sale this summer, and it was filled with pencils and pens.

Photo of two dishwasher silverware baskets side-by-side filled with pens, pencils, paint daubers, paint brushes, a ruler, scissors and a paper hole punch.

My pencil holders have historically fallen into two categories – so lightweight they tip over when full, or so narrow they don’t fit all of my writing implements.

So here we have a small crate designed to hold numerous tall, heavy metal objects, and it has a handle for easy carrying.

So I bought it for 50 cents and it’s enjoyed a spot since on my home office desk.

Fast forward to this week and a new dishwasher being installed in our home. Or rather, my rescuing our old silverware basket from the dishwasher that is headed to the great kitchen in the sky.

My 3-year-old daughter is excited to have a craft supply holder like her dad. It helps her carry what she needs to wherever she’s going to be writing or drawing in our home.

Colored pencils. Colored pens. Paint daubers. Scissors. Rulers. Paper hole punch. They all fit with room to spare. Unfortunately, crayons are too short, but ParentHacks recently pointed out that plastic soap travel holders make great crayon coffins.

One retrofit for the dishwasher basket was needed to hold paint brushes because brushes are so narrow they slide through the holes in the basket’s plastic mesh. I cut squares of cardboard and placed them in the bottom of each compartment. Problem solved.

If this idea interests you, there’s no need to wait until your dishwasher breaks down beyond all repair. Dishwasher baskets sell for $6 to $10 on eBay. Or try thrift stores, or Freecycle, or a Craigslist free classified, or ask fishy questions around the local salvage yard.


8 Responses to “Organize Creative Supplies with a Dishwasher Basket”

  1. kdaily says:

    This is genius! What a great way to recycle/reuse.

    December 12th, 2007 at 7:58 am

  2. Jennifer says:

    Usually you can find baskets similar to this that hold utensils for picnic tables as well. They may be seasonal items that you can only find during the summer months, but they work the same too! I’ve been using these for a while now.

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:11 am

  3. adrienne says:

    You’re killing me AJ- I replaced our defunct dishwasher in 2004 and stupidly let the silverware sorter go to the recycling facility. Granted- we didn’t have any kids yet, but that won’t stop me from regretting the oversight.


    Great idea though!

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:45 am

  4. SB says:

    This is a great idea….. ! Innovative …

    I had to ask you a question and I am sorry for raising it through a comment.

    Have you come across bio-degradable diapers and have done a review for them before? I don’t remember if I had seen one.

    I came across an article on gDiaper. It claims that a disposable diaper takes 500 years to degrade where as this one takes 50-150 days!
    I had used very few diapers for my son, more due to health issues rather than environmental issues, I must admit. But I would love to know about the bio-degardable disposable ones..


    December 12th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

  5. Mama Peach says:

    This is an amazing idea. I currently use those plastic baby wipes tubs that we all seem to have in abundance (seriously I couldn’t give the things away).

    One for markers, one for crayons, one for pencils etc. Problem is, crud collects in the bottom (pet hair, broken bits of crayon) so they require periodic cleaning (strike one!) and it’s also quite difficult for me to find anything in there, let alone a less-dexterous toddler (strike two!).

    Thanks for this suggestion, and to the poster who suggested the seasonal/picnic cutlery holders – I was seriously considering taking a sledgehammer to my dishwasher!

    December 14th, 2007 at 11:28 am

  6. kelli says:

    This was the one thing that seemed useful from our dishwasher when it was retired a couple of years ago. My son has loved using it in his little kitchen as a shopping basket as well as a tote for various toys. It’s a great sorting basket for a preschooler as well!

    December 17th, 2007 at 11:14 am

  7. Ruth says:

    Fantastic Idea!
    Unfortunately, I don’t have dishwasher (you can pity me now…) Any ideas for where to pick up a utensil holder without the washer?

    December 19th, 2007 at 4:13 pm

  8. Ruth says:

    Never mind, I should have scrolled down and actually read the rest of the article. Duh! Sorry about that!

    December 19th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

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