Your Health

6 Ways to Repurpose Your Plastic Containers

Let's get organized

Now that you’ve invested in some glass and stainless steel food storage containers, maybe you’re wondering if you should Marie Kondo all the plastic ones you used to use? Instead adding them to the landfill, what if we told you that all those plastic containers can help you achieve a new level of organization zen? While we don’t recommend storing food in them anymore (for those of you who haven’t heard: these plastic food storage containers often have BPA or phthalates in them, which can leach into your food over time and cause all sorts of health problems), we also don’t think you have to throw them away.

So, what can you do? We have 6 great suggestions for you to repurpose those containers throughout your home.


1) Arts and Crafts Supplies

Plastic containers are great for corralling all sorts of art supplies. You can have a container full of crayons, one for markers, another for feathers, one for beads, and a big one can hold all the little jars of paint. Label each container and keep them in the drawer and you’ve got yourself an extremely organized art center. Are you a crafty person? Gather all your spools of ribbon and string, and put them in a storage container. If you want to go a step above, cut a few small holes in the container and feed the ribbon through the holes, then you don’t have to open the container to find the one you want, and it will keep the ribbons from getting tangled. A free homemade dispenser! Old plastic containers are also great for storing and sorting sewing supplies (it’s the same idea as that old cookie tin everyone’s grandma has that is full of buttons and needles instead of cookies).

2) Office Supplies

While an organized desk drawer might sound like an oxymoron, trust us, it’s great. You can keep the lids on the containers and stack them, or you can just use them to divide the drawer (this is perfect if you’ve lost the lids, which always happens!). No matter what, it will help you keep your paper clips, push pins, batteries, pens, rubber bands, random golf balls and old sunglasses in place.

3) Makeup

Nothing sucks more than having your favorite bronzer leaving traces wherever it goes. Be it the bottom of your makeup drawer, your travel bag, or even just on your bathroom sink. Of course, you can pick out a pretty makeup bag or some fancy organizer trays, but plastic containers you already own also work great (especially if you’ve already lost the lid). And, there are way easier to clean than a makeup bag. Plus, they are almost always clear so you can actually see what’s in there – that can’t always be said of the more expensive bathroom organizer trays or makeup bags. Keeping your eye shadows, eye liners, and lipsticks in separate containers helps you see all the options you have, so you don’t have to go rifling around to find the perfect combination.

4) First Aid Kits

Plastic food containers are the perfect size for building a travel first aid kit. Throw in some bandaids, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, antihistamine tablets, pain reliever, peptobismol, cotton balls, gauze, and an ace bandage. If you have a larger container and want to take it a step further, you can throw in some supplies to make an emergency kit. We always like to keep some power bars, a flashlight, baby wipes, and duct tape on hand. Then, if anything happens, you just grab the container and you have everything you need in one place.

5) Game Pieces and Small Toys

Let’s be real, who doesn’t have a board game with a penny replacing at least one of the pieces. It’s basically a fact of life. So, instead of trying to keep all the game pieces and cards in the original tiny plastic bags, keep them in some smaller plastic containers. Way easier to collect everything that way. They are also great for storing toys with lots of smaller pieces that would otherwise get lost at the bottom of the toy box. Similarly, if your kid loves to play dress up, you can store smaller accessories like jewelry and badges in a container so they aren’t constantly strewn around the house.

6) Pantry Organization

If you have lots of small jars of spices or packets of seasoning or even loose snacks, you can use old containers to organize your pantry. Keep your spice jars in one, then when you need spices just pull out the container. You can fill another with snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, or crackers – this is great if you have kids, they can just grab something from that container. Plastic containers are also a good way to help bags take up less space. If you have bags of rice, quinoa, and pasta, you know how they like to fall and take up lots of shelf space? Try standing them all up in a container – they will take up way less space.

While plastic containers aren’t our go-to for leftovers or sauces, you can still use them to store dry good like rice, pasta, dried beans, granola, pretzels, etc. We tend to advise against plastic containers when the food inside them is acidic, fatty, or will be exposed to heat or UV light (like at a picnic), all of which make it much more likely that the chemicals will escape into food (1). But, dry goods that live in your pantry usually aren’t any of those things. So, prioritize your new glass and stainless steel containers for food headed to the fridge or microwave, and use the old plastic ones for things on your shelves.