Once Used Containers – How to Re-Purpose

Get organised with Packaging Containers

Do you find that many times, when you purchase something, you end up with a box or container that’s nearly as beautiful as the item that you purchased? 

Only, it has the logo of the company that you purchased it from emblazoned all over the lid or (like shoes) down both sides? (Wouldn’t mind so much if it were Tiffany’s or Ralph Lauren…Especially the shoes…).

As well, when you do decide that you need a box for something, you end up paying good money for something that’s not as good quality as the one your candle came in last week?

Boxes and containers are incredibly useful things, but somehow we are in the mindset that they should be seen (aka the $35.00 one) or that if the items needing to be contained will be in a cupboard, they don’t need to live in a beautiful box. 

Can you imagine how many people whose homes and offices we organise have beautiful containers on shelves with NOTHING in them? At the same time, they will have mountains of stuff spilling over itself behind closed doors for the want of a container?

Whenever we organise a space, we put aside every container we can find, be it a Ziplock bag, a clear plastic Ferrero Rocher® box, a gorgeous rattan basket, a child’s pottery effort, shoeboxes, designer carry bags (especially Tiffany’s – don’t see too many of those!), clear, zipped bags that quilts and linen comes in, and anything, tiny or large, that we can lay our hands on. 

The reason? Everything needs a place, and any containers, no matter how apparently useless or unattractive, can serve a viable use and have a second life. We love that!

Especially useful are square or rectangular shapes as obviously these save more space and are readily stackable, but we also love squishy containers, like Ziplock bags and linen bags, because they are flexible enough to fit into tight corners. 

Never underestimate the usefulness of containers. The other day, I found myself in possession of 2 gorgeous, quality, boxes – beautiful, but I need boxes to display like I need… well, I have lots! Besides, they were branded with the company name and that doesn’t work for me (to have on view). (Remember, OCD?).

People regularly peek inside my cupboards to see if I am as organised as I say I am, and guess what? That’s where they’ll find the lovely, branded boxes and clear plastic linen bags. In fact, I used those two boxes to store some delicate Christmas baubles which were then hidden inside another box – totally out of view! But totally useful, and gorgeous to touch and use next Christmas!

On the subject of Ziplock bags, well, have you got an hour or three? We LOVE them! They are such useful devices that we think every home should have a stack of them in a variety of sizes. I was organising my Christmas ribbons the other day (including leftover, once-used lengths) and I found that the tiny ones were PERFECT for the task! Keep a selection of fresh, clean ones for frequent use, and a place for used but useful second-hand ones for appropriate recycling (for the laundry, shed or garage?).

They are clear (so you can see inside them), strong (to use frequently), sealed against air and water (don’t drown one to test my word…!) and they fit into awkward places for storage. 

Get Organised with Boxes

They have millions of uses, too many to mention here, but we guarantee that when you get a stash, you’ll understand our enthusiasm. It’s important to get a range of sizes in stock, because it is simply frustrating to put a tiny item in a big bag, and this tends to stop people from using them, so the ‘thing’ ends up in a junk pile. Once you have something in them, you become more inclined to find its proper home. Plus, they save on labelling, our favourite activity (now that is OCD!).

Sticky labels can be taken off by using Oil of Eucalyptus (not on porous cardboard, of course) but this alone can make an odd container feel better to use. Every home should have a small bottle of this pungent oil for removing stickers from fridges, computers and so forth. Try it on an unseen area on the item just to be sure – we’ve never had any problem with it… We love this product too!

So, next time you have a container in your hand which has served its initial purpose (like the FABULOUS iPhone box…) find a use for it straight away, or file it into a ‘useful container’ spot to be filled at a later, not too far ‘down the track’, place. 

You could recover it in beautiful paper to make your own mark on it.
Label it if the contents aren’t visible and pat yourself on the back. Job well done!

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