9 Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Containers Around the House

Creative uses for takeout containers so they don't take over your cabinets or the recycling bin.

Reusable plastic container in the larderpatpitchaya/Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock / patpitchaya

Do you have a cabinet that’s reserved for reusable storage containers and multiple lids? Perhaps these items are stacked so high that you get the heebie-jeebies every time you open said cabinet?


Oh…OK. Me neither. But in case you have a “friend” with this problem, here are some ways to repurpose takeout containers and keep cabinets organized.

(Or you can skip the takeout entirely with these clever copycat recipes.)

1. Take It and Leave It

When a potluck guest brings Tupperware and expects to get it back before they go, it’s your responsibility as host to remember which container was theirs and to clean it before handing it over. Remember this next time you’re a guest, and do your host a solid by bringing goodies in a container they can keep. Try it with these make-and-take meals.

2. Make Art Project Cleanup Easy

If you have kids, chances are they’ve done an art project or two in your home. A confession: Sometimes I stray from in-home art projects because I don’t want to deal with the messy aftermath. Keep craft supplies in takeout containers for thrifty organization. Plastic soup containers are excellent houses for crayons—and lids can double as paint palettes in a snap. You’ll rest easier knowing cleanup will be done before you can say “boo!”

3. Organize a Messy Drawer

Ah, the dreaded junk drawer…but it doesn’t have to be that way! Throw a flat container or two in the drawer to organize pens, scrap paper and other odds and ends.

4. Centralize Your Chargers

You know the feeling: Your phone’s battery is down to 2% and you cannot find a charger anywhere. Keep all of your chargers and cords in a takeout container in one easy-to-remember spot. Better yet, store them in your newly organized junk drawer!

5. Pack Snacks for Road Trips

Feeding the family while on the road can be a challenge. Survive the journey by customizing snacks in takeout containers for each rider. As a bonus, when you get to a rest stop, you can recycle the containers instead of letting them accumulate on the floor of the car.

6. Meal-Plan Like a Boss

Sometimes the challenge with meal planning is having enough containers to store prepped items. Use takeout containers to store rice, noodles, soups, veggies and other ingredients you’ve chopped or cooked ahead to set yourself up for healthy eating during the week. And make sure you know how to get the smell out of Tupperware when planning from meal to meal.

7. Store Your Receipts

It never fails. You need to return an item but you can’t find the receipt. Centralize proofs of purchase in one takeout bin in your office or kitchen. Make it your go-to spot when you get home from the store, and if you need to head back for a return or exchange.

8. Store Memorabilia

Toss ticket stubs, dried flowers, wristbands and other trinkets from special events into a takeout container. Label the lid with the event name and date for some quality reminiscing down the road.

9. Game Pieces

For games that have lots of pieces and cards, store them in a takeout container to keep them together, organized and like-new. Our local library does this, and a friend recently remarked upon the great condition those games are in. Take a tip from the local librarians—they know a thing or two!

The next time you order from your favorite takeout spot, check out their to-go containers, and see how you can repurpose them in your home.

Michelle Steber
Michelle is the Customer Account Manager at Scott's Marketplace and loves all things local: shops, parks, garage sales and yes, even the local bar. She engages the selling community by day, and by night is a chauffeur, sous chef, spin instructor and Pinterest junkie. Michelle seeks joy in everything she does, especially closet organization.