New Uses for Old Boxes

New Uses for Old Boxes

You’ve just moved into your new home—or your kids have opened a ton of Christmas or birthday presents—and now your house is littered with boxes of varying shapes and sizes. Sure, you could recycle them like you usually do (you do recycle cardboard instead of throwing it away, right?) but there are some new uses for old boxes that you may not have considered.

Copyright 2013 Glass_House, Courtesy of Flickr
  • Costumes – The next time Halloween rolls around, use cardboard boxes to make a creative costume. When every other kid on the block is dressed as Dracula or a princess, dressing up as a washing machine is guaranteed to get the most laughs (and maybe more candy).
  • Mail a Package – Boxes that haven’t fallen apart yet can be given a second life by carrying a different cargo…via the mail! Send a care package to your nephews in Boston, sell something on eBay or Craigslist and let the box help you out.
  • Disposable Tote – As you get dressed or pick up the kids’ rooms, you continually face certain items that no one uses, but still manage to stick around and take up space. Keep a large box in your closet and throw in donations as you think of them. When it’s full, take it to Goodwill! De-cluttering at its most simple.
  • Kitty Comfort – To the internet, it’s no secret: cats LOVE cardboard boxes! If your furry friend can’t seem to keep her paws off the keyboard, a cat-sized box may work as a kitty magnet. No more hairs on your monitor screen! A shallow box lid also works well as a disposable litter box.Cat Box
  • Organization – Instead of buying expensive decorative storage boxes for your bookshelves, reuse a cardboard box (as long as its still sturdy). Don’t like the look of raw cardboard? We don’t blame you. Cover the outside of the box with colorful duct tape, fabric, or rope to make it pretty as well as strengthen and protect it.
  • Mess Protection – Use leftover cardboard boxes to shield your driveway from spray paint as you tackle home improvement projects in your new place.
  • Artwork – Give the kids a set of crayons or markers and turn ’em loose. You can choose to either deconstruct the box into a flat canvas (life-size board game, anyone?) or keep it as a cube and let smaller children color inside it.
  • Bookcase backing – Cut cardboard panels to fit the back of your shelving, cover with scrapbook or contact paper and push the pretty panel into the back of your bookshelves. This temporary upgrade will add a fun pop of color to a drab office and is easy to change out when you get sick of it.

    Copyright 2008 PittCaleb, Courtesy of Flickr
  • Toy – Every former child knows the box is often more fun than the toy it holds. Use your creative side to turn it into a car, plane, house, castle, puppet booth or anything else your heart desires.
  • Fort – A box cutter and a roll of tape are all you need to turn a stack of boxes into a kid’s dream. (Or adult’s. We’re not judging.)

Reusing old materials in fun and creative ways has been around for generations…and for good reason. How many of these new uses for old boxes have you tried? Does this list spark your imagination? Let us know your favorite “upcycling” ideas in the comments section!

  • Lovely post! These are quite creative ideas. We have quite a lot cardboard boxes left after our last move and instead of throwing them away, repurposing seems a much better idea. My kids will be very happy to play with the boxes, the were not very happy of the fact we had to move thousand miles away from their friends and this would be a good and funny start for them in the new place. Thank you for sharing!

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