Back to school supplies are all over the place and the beloved plastic pencil box is ever prominent.
I found these “1/2 size” boxes at the local big box store and was totally floored at what I could do with them. Think they are just for holding pens and pencils? Not even! They can serve as easy access storage for all kinds of things…
Here’s a few more ideas to use these little gems! And, the small boxes are only $.49, so you might want to grab a couple.
First Aid Kit
For under $5, you could make up several quick first aid kits to have in the car, in your purse, to go bag, and even in a gym bag.
These little boxes hold an entire box of bandaids, some antibacterial cream and a couple of hand wipes. Add in a a couple of dollars for an emergency and you’ve got it made!
Traveling or camping? These little boxes make the perfect holder for toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and washcloths, or even small bottles of shampoo/conditioner/deodorant.
At the Beach
While not completely water and sand proof, these little gems can hold money, a cell phone, or other small items and help keep them more secure.
On the Road
Try putting video games in these little boxes instead of spending money on a “holder”. They are easy to open and snap shut, keeping the games secure and yet close by. You could even add some packs of dried fruit or nuts for a quick access snack.
In Your Purse
I have to admit to loving these for holding the small stuff that normally gets lost at the bottom of the abyss that is my purse.
I have one that holds all my pens (genius!), my lip balm, a small hairbrush, and my cell charger cord. Why not a makeup bag?
They are far more flimsy and for some reason, I can’t get what I need to fit in there. These little boxes are perfect for just about anything!
Office Supply Organizer
Of course pencil boxes have a place in the office or the classroom, but you can do so much more with them than just store pencils.
They work great for other supplies too! Use your pencil box to organize all of those paperclips, rubber bands and other office supplies.
Rulers, markers, eraser, sharpener, glue stick: it’s the perfect size for keeping track of your tiny odds and ends, and especially ones that can do damage or cause harm like tacks.
They are perfect for keeping little items like that close at hand inside a desk drawer and they keep things from skittering to the back where you’ll never find them until you take the drawer out.
Craft Storage Box
I don’t know if you have taken a stroll down the storage aisle at your local hobby store, or looked at any of the multi compartment containers at your hardware store, but the prices are frankly outrageous.
You don’t need to leave all of your hobby supplies disorganized or just sitting on your crafting bench because you don’t want to participate in highway robbery.
Have a lot of beads? Or glitter? How about scrapbooking materials, stationary and tools? Art supplies like paints, paint brushes and model building materials? Keep them neat and tidy in your new craft storage box.
I love using the two- or three-compartment pencil cases for this if you can find them: The separate bins make it easy to find what you need on a flash and help keep your tools and things from clattering together. These are truly great for a wide variety of materials.
“Blocks box” is the term I use for storing all kinds of little building blocks that like to go missing and get underfoot; every parent knows the agony of stepping on those indestructible little Legos with bare feet!
Help keep all of your kids’ (or your own) Legos in one place with a handy pencil box. They also work well for keeping marble run tiles and other similar building toys organized by type, color, size or anything else you can think of.
Easy to stack, easy to store and far, far cheaper than the manufacturer’s “recommended” options for storage. I say pencil boxes are a win for storing your blocks. Say goodbye to stepping on and losing the little pieces!
Junk Drawer Organizer
I use the term loosely, because a junk drawer is a proud tradition with a distinguished history in kitchens around the world but the fact of the matter is that a drawer full of miscellaneous bits, bobs, fasteners, tools and so forth all sloshing together in a jangling mixture is not doing anyone any favors.
If you want to get serious about decluttering and actually be able to find a few specific things when you finally think of a use for them, use your pencil box for harmonious organization of all those miscellaneous items that naturally accumulate in the junk drawer.
If you’re anything like me, sewing supplies have a mysterious way of growing out of control and taking over spaces.
Yarn, needles, buttons and all the rest never seem to stay organized. I don’t know why this is, but I do know that things go a lot better when I keep them in an actual container for the purpose.
Use your trusty plastic pencil box for storing supplies like thread, needles, pincushion and scissors. It’s great for keeping everything neat and tidy when on the go, too! These boxes are the perfect solution for small scale storage of all your various sewing supplies.
Mobile Games Box
This is one of my very, very favorite uses for pencil cases.
And when I say mobile games, I’m not talking about those addictive little brain-melting games that you can get on your smartphone: I’m talking about smaller, portable versions of good old-fashioned analog games, board games and things like that.
From dice games like Yahtzee to smaller, homemade versions of Battleship complete with gridded boards and pegs, the sky’s the limit when using a pencil case.
I’ve seen folks use theirs and include printed paper with grids on it to play everything from checkers and chess to backgammon, Catan and more.
The generous size of the pencil case allows you to include multiple games or plenty of pieces for playing.
Throw in a deck of cards, dice, colored tokens and a small book containing instructions for multiple games and you’ll be all set to have a ton of fun when stranded at the airport, in a tent on a rainy day or anywhere you happen to be.
Survival Kit Container
Create an emergency kit to keep in your car or home with a pencil case. Fill it with items like a compass, emergency blanket, knife, cordage, signal mirror, fire starting kit and a couple of ration bars along with other essentials you may need in case of an unexpected natural disaster.
They are just the right size for a well-equipped kit that won’t break the bank, and that way you can afford to place these kits in multiple places, or make several for every member of the family.
Of course, a pencil case isn’t the toughest or most secure container, so they aren’t ideal for tossing into a heavily loaded backpack where they might pop open or get wet, but for simple storage at home or in your vehicle, they work just fine.
For the fisherman who likes to stay organized, a plastic pencil case for storing tackle and lures along with tools and other supplies makes a great, compact tackle box.
Cheap, reasonably durable and easy to carry, this is the perfect compliment for a collapsible fishing rod for minimalist or impromptu adventures.
It is a lot easier to carry around than a toolbox style tackle box.
In fact, there was almost a sort of Zen enjoyment to be had by it perfectly outfitting your compact tackle box with everything you need and nothing you don’t (based on the fish you were trying to catch in season).
Another special use for pencil cases I really like is as a blackout kit.
As the name suggests, it is ideal for keeping candles, lighter, flashlight, batteries and some other things you’ll need during a blackout like the contact number for various utility companies, friends and family. Just in case!
You might have all the things you need already to deal with a blackout but having them in various places throughout the house just adds to the stress level of dealing with what’s going on.
One or two simple blackout kits in strategic locations can make getting the lights back on simple, quick and easy.
What are some other uses you can come up with? Be sure to pin this to your favorite board for later
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.