Perfectly Practical #67 - It's Not Just a Shoebox Part I

At the frugal living class the other day, I opened and closed with a shoe box.  I held it up and asked what the ladies do with a shoe box when one comes into their homes.  The top three answers were: 

1.  leave their shoes in it
2.  throw it away 
3.  recycle them

I then proceeded to tell them about my experience the other day. 

My Mother-in-Law gave me a pair of shoes she no longer wanted which were still in the box.  I immediately started to disassemble the entire package. 

The shoes went in my "shoe under." (Do you have one of these?  They're fabulous!) 

Next I grabbed the tissue, dividing cardboard, box, lid, and silica packets and put them where I wanted them before realizing that the shoebox represented a point I wanted to make - being intentional is a big part of being frugal - and I put them all back together again...until after the class.

So what can be done with a shoebox and its contents?

Box & Lid

1.  Wrap them to be used as a gift box or better yet, for Operation Christmas Child 
Use the newspaper's comics, scraps of wrapping paper, material, or even wallpaper samples to wrap the box.  I keep three shoeboxes in the top of a closet and as I get stuff that would be suitable for OCC, I put it inside the shoeboxes.  By the time the deadline rolls around, they are always filled and ready to be shipped. 
2.  Periscope
Directions here.
3. Sunscope (Eclipse Watcher)
Directions here.
4.  Storage for Tiny Things
Diva has an affinity for tiny things.  Until you have stumbled into a room half asleep and stepped on a minuscule teacup, chair, fork, or platypus with your bare feet, you cannot truly appreciate the utmost need for tiny things storage.  Shoe boxes are perfect because they fit under beds, in closets, or on shelves and are very stackable.
5.  Pinhole Camera
Yes, you can even feel like McGuyver and make your own camera with everyday objects.
6.  Shoe Storage
Okay, so although it is not unusual, it is useful if you have the space.  You can elevate its usefulness by taking a photo of the shoes to tape onto the outside of the box so that you know exactly which shoes are in which box.
7. First Aid Kit
Instead of buying a dedicated first aid kit, consider using a shoebox. One advantage is that you can write on the underside of the lid what the contents are.
8.  Distraction Box
When you are travelling with a small child it is always good to have some distractions and it's even better when those distractions are contained.  When they are small, you could keep toys that they only see when you are travelling in said box.  They are less likely to be bored with toys they don't see much.  Plus, put a couple of snacks in there and away you go.
When your kiddo is a bit older and they want to choose what toys they take with them, it is inevitable that they fill a ginormous suitcase filled with stuff.  Give them a shoebox and tell them that whatever they take has to fit inside of it.

Just the Box

1.  Shoebox Harp
Directions here.
2.  Teach Your Kiddo to Tie Their Shoes
My Momma laced up a shoebox for me so that I could learn to tie my shoes.  Just cut some holes opposite from each other on the sides of the box and lace an old shoelace through. 
3.  Liquid Storage
Whether it is in Engineer's man cave, our bathroom cabinets, or under the sink, wherever there are bottles of liquid, there too are boxes to catch the drips.  Bathroom storage is particularly bad because it builds up and is gross on the cabinet shelf.  This way, when the bottle of mouthwash starts to get gummy on the bottom, you just recycle the box it was in and get a new one.  All the while, your shelves stay sticky-free.
4.  Food Storage
Boxes give just enough rigidity to cupboard items to keep them in line.  I also have boxes that just have things like Mom approved snacks for Diva or lunchbox items in them.  It makes snack time or packing lunches very easy.  Even in my freezer, I have boxes to help me contain like food items together so that I can identify them quickly.
5.  Mail
A shoebox is the perfect size to house your correspondence.  You can have the front half for bills and letters that need to be sent and the back half for those waiting in the wings.
6.  Card Storage
Why not keep a variety of cards in the box and when an event arises, you already have a card to send.  In the front you can keep cards ready to go and in the back, cards that are waiting to be used.

Just the Lid

1.  Liquid Storage
Just like above.  If I don't have enough room for the box but still want the shelf protection, I go with the lid of a box.
2.  Food Storage
Again, the lid is the perfect size to stand up pouches of food like tuna, rice sides, or cornbread mixes.

If none of these ideas appeal to you please consider donating the boxes with their lids to schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, or places that hold art classes. 

If you are ever stuck for ideas using a box, just ask a child; they will come up with 100 different uses for the box.  In fact, did I get to keep the box I used as show and tell for the class?  Nope.  Diva asked for it before I even walked out the door to teach the class.

Next week I will give you some ideas on what can be done with the "innerds" of a shoebox.

This is part of We Are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. All great ideas, but what's a shoe under? That's really got my curiosity peaked.

  2. Howdy Ms. Heidi (love your site by the way.) I have just realized that it is actually a shoeS under and I have a link for it here:
    That thing is awesome for shoes but also for an easy way to see what you have in your stockpile or for kids toys or for anything at all that you need to shove under something. Thanks for stopping by!


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