Our Favorite Repurposes For Plastic Food Containers


Nuts are a staple for our family. Not only as a tasty and healthy snack, but also as a source of large, sturdy containers that scream for repurpose. From pantry storage to toy car garages, we love finding creative repurposes for plastic food containers.

Child playing with cars in repurposed food container made into car garage

As a note, we don’t have nut allergies or sensitivities in our house. Use your best judgment on whether repurposing nut containers makes sense for your home.

The good news is that large plastic containers house plenty of non-nut items, such as orzo, quinoa and my favorite, bulk M&M’s. Look for strong, square containers with large openings and secure lids. Remove the labels, clean with soap, and let completely dry before repurposing. If the labels don’t easily come off, cover with decorative duct tape.

Here are some of our favorite storage ideas:

Check out some of our favorite repurposes for plastic food containers.

Repurpose Plastic Containers to Store Food

Homemade Mixes

Grain and seed mix, granola and pancake mix stored in repurposed plastic containers

Repurposed food containers are perfect for storing various homemade mixes, including granola, pancake mix, and our Healthful Boost seed and grain mix. Their size and shape are ideal for pantry storage and the clear plastic makes it easy to see when we need to mix up another batch. The opening is large enough to remove generous scoops, even accommodating a 1-cup measuring cup. They are easy to open and keep the mixes fresh. For those of us with less than tidy handwriting, use a label maker or printer to list the mix recipe and use by dates.

Pantry Items

Repurpose containers to store pantry items

These containers work for all sorts of pantry-stored dried food items that arrive in non-resealable plastic bags, such as beans, lentils, pretzels, rice, and goldfish crackers.

We always have marshmallows at the ready; in the summer for s’mores and in the winter for hot chocolate. However, we don’t eat them fast enough to keep fresh in their plastic bag. The containers prolong the marshmallows’ shelf life, keeping them nice and soft.

Store Toys in Repurposed Food Containers

Repurpose food containers into storage for toy animals

My kids (probably like many others) love small toys in sets, with lots of individual pieces. Repurposed food containers are just one element of our toy storage system. They fit well on bookshelves, hold a good quantity of toys and visibility is great, so kids can see what’s inside.

Child opening food container

Kids can open the containers on their own with this trick – place the container between their legs to hold it steady, then turn the lid with their hands. The large opening makes for easy dumping out and cleaning up. Add a label with a picture or sticker to help kids remember which toys belong in which container.

Repurpose Plastic Containers into Garage Storage

Repurposed plastic containers in garage to store gloves, electrical wire nuts and garden seeds

Refining our garage storage is a constant work in progress. The sturdiness and large opening of repurposed containers make them ideal for storing items in the garage. We use them to hold gloves, garden seed packets, glue, electrical wire nuts, rags, and assorted electrical and plumbing supplies.

Crafty Repurposes for Plastic Food Containers

Store Craft Supplies

Repurposed plastic food containers store craft supplies - pom poms, craft sticks and pipe cleaners

Repurposed plastic containers make ideal storage for craft supplies. Pom poms, craft sticks, pouch caps, and pipe cleaners are just a few crafting goodies we keep on hand when creativity strikes. Kids can easily see the supplies, open the containers, and then clean-up when they’ve completed their masterworks. We add labels because the kids seem to enjoy emptying the entire container (sigh).

Create a Toy House or Car Garage

Transform the container into a toy house or car garage using an electric soldering iron (the thick plastic is extremely difficult to cut with any precision using a utility knife). If you don’t have a soldering iron, it is pretty inexpensive and handy. Be careful when using as the iron and heated plastic get very hot. Cut an opening toward the bottom of the container and maybe a window or two. To make a flap, form a row of holes with soldering iron, then bend plastic. Sand cut edges with sandpaper. Decorate with stickers, markers (permanent markers or paint pens work on plastic) or our favorite craft accessory, caps from squeezable kid food pouches. Add a second floor by cutting a piece of plastic from another container and hot gluing into place. Let the cars and toys move right in.

Turn a Repurposed Food Container Into a Piggy Bank

Child inserting coins into blue plastic piggy bank made from repurposed food container

Prime and paint container and lid with spray paint or craft paint. Add features such as eyes, nose, and tail with craft paint or permanent marker. Cut various sized slots for coins. An electric soldering iron is the best tool for cutting this thick plastic (but be careful with the heat of the soldering iron and the heated plastic). Sand cut edges with sandpaper. Spray with sealer to preserve details. Save up for a special purchase!

What are your thoughts on repurposing plastic food containers? Let us know how you’ve creatively repurposed plastic containers in your home.

Favorite repurposes for plastic food containers

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!