Whole Living Daily

12 Ways to Reuse Your Old Prescription Bottles

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When the pills are gone, don't toss those bottles!

My rescue dog's allergy prescriptions recently left me with a bunch of now-empty prescription bottles. I'm sure you have some of these around, and like most people, toss them in the trash. But I have a better idea. In fact, I have 12 ideas.

First, peel or soak the label off the bottle then wash and dry thoroughly. Stick a blank label on or write the contents directly on the bottle with a permanent marker so you'll know what's inside.

Then, you have many uses to choose from! (See below for more instructions)

1 of 13

1 Wait! Don't toss your empty prescription bottle.

2 Store picture hanging hooks.

3 Keep ear buds clean and tangle free.

4 Create a paintbrush organizer.

5 Store extra eyeshadow applicators.

6 Craft a glitter shaker.

7 Make Fluffy a toy.

8 Keep safety pins handy.

9 Toss a bottle with a few band-aids into your handbag.

10 Make bobby pins easy to find.

11 Keep earring backings with your jewlery.

12 Store parts and specialty tools.

13 Corral craft beads.

1. Picture hangers: Hooks, nails, sawtooth hangers and picture wire fit snugly inside the bottle.

2. Ear buds: Keep your ear buds clean and tangle free by slipping them inside a prescription bottle for handy organizing.

3. Paintbrush: Use a rubber band to hold a few bottles together to craft your own paintbrush holder.

4. Eyeshadow applicator: Once you open a new package of makeup applicators you can keep them sanitary by storing them in a bottle.

5. Glitter shaker: Stop wasting glitter. Simply shake out the amount you need by crafting your own glitter shaker. Here's how to create the shaker:

  • Place the lid on a hard surface after protecting it with a folded dishtowel
  • Carefully push a corn holder through the lid in multiple spots to create the shaker holes
  • Pour glitter into the bottle and screw the lid on.

6. Cat Toy: Don't forget about Fluffy. Make a jingle cat toy by adding a few uncooked beans or jingle balls to the bottle and then screw the lid back on.

7. Safety Pins: Store safety pins in your desk drawer for those fashion emergencies.

8. Band aids: Keep a few band aids in your handbag or the glove box of your car just in case.

9. Bobby pins: Forget digging through the vanity drawer trying to locate a single bobby pin instead store them in a bottle and you'll always be able to find one.

10. Earring backings: Never waste time searching for those tiny backings again, simply store them inside a bottle and keep it with your jewelry.

11. Parts and pieces: After assembling an item such as a desk chair store the screws and allen wrench inside. After taking something apart such as a bookcase store the nuts and screws in a bottle and tape it to the item so you can put it back together again.

12. Craft beads: Sort and store beads by shape and color. Glue a bead to the lid making it simple to identify what's inside.

So tell me, what did I miss? How else can we reuse empty prescription bottles?

What other household items do you hate throwing away but aren't sure how to put to good use? I take requests!
Until next time keep it simple and clutter-free! -Jamie

Jamie Novak, The World’s Most Relatable Organizer, is author of "Stop Throwing Money Away: Turn Clutter to Cash, Trash to Treasure—And Save the Planet While You're at It." Please visit her website at JamieNovak.com.

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Comments (25)

  • Provided they are washed/sanitized, I use the smaller ones in my massage business by using them to keep thick massage creams for my clients. The problem with massage creams that come in large containers is that you can't just dip into them, as that would be unsanitary. Instead, dollop the cream into a small pill bottle for use. If your client is a repeat, you can reuse them or use the bottle to blend in essential oils. Just make sure the bottle will fit your finger!

  • I have been using old plastic film role canisters for years as a vessel for a small amount of salad dressing to take with my lunch salad - rather than dressing the salad before work and ending up with a mushy/gooey salad. Since film canisters are no longer readily available, I think pill bottles could easily do the same job.

  • after having cleaned them, i like to use them to store spices that otherwise come in little baggies instead of their own shakers =]

  • Carrie B. love that idea and thanks for reminding me to schedule a massage :)

  • Jamar M.,

    Don't you hate a soggy salad! This is a great way to store a little dressing. Thanks for the thought.

  • Sorry Jamar I got the names mixed up, I meant to say that you are so right spices work perfectly. So many of the spices I like come in packets or baggies.

    My spices sit in a drawer- do yours? Do you label the top of the lid?

  • SEOLSearchKaty yes soggy salads stink :)

    Great thought with the dressing and I sometimes take the mayo or veggie dip on the side too...thanks!

  • I keep a prescription bottle in my handbag for a safe place to put my earrings when I'm at the hairdresser's or, yes, the massage lady! No more struggling to remember which little zipper compartment they're floating around in, or fretting that I must remember to get them out of the key pocket of my jeans before I do the wash. It makes the experience all the more relaxing. Thanks for these great ideas.

  • Stephanie what a great idea! Just the other day I took mine off at the hairdresser and tucked them in my purse, well the little wire bent and now it hangs at an odd angle. If only I'd had an empty bottle with me then...thanks and my earrings thank you too!

  • This suggestion came in via email today from F, thanks for this!

    I hate to throw them out (I do recycle) and have found some sizes are perfect for holding quarters
    and kept handy in the car for toll fees, quick drive through snack attacks.

    But my favorite is: after
    removing all the Rx labels I stick on a new label and add the tube to a plastic sack which I keep in the car with a fine line magic marker. I use them to hold seeds that I find on walks or when traveling, and make notes on the label. If I don't know a lot about the plant I take a digital photo, note the photo #, and later identify what I have found. Sometimes I have brought home some really great native plant seeds.

  • And another great idea via email from S, thanks!

    The larger ones are good for use in geo-cacheing (http://www.geocaching.com)

    Also good for holding a mini medical history, and medication list, your name and names and address of someone to contact in an emergency.. Especially Helpful for those of us who are older. I have one in my car, one in my purse and one with a magnet taped on it, attached to the refrigerator in case of emergency. They say it is a place paramedics look in an emergency. The label should read EMERGENCY INFORMATION.

  • And yet another great idea from A on Facebook- thanks!

    I actually use them for old prescription bottles for a couple of things:
    1) To store quarters for parking meters. Keep it in my glove compartment.
    2) To keep paper clips in my work bag.

    Any suggestions for what would you do with plastic tags from bread or English Muffin bags? :-) ...

  • Film canisters should not be used for holding any kind of food. They may have chemical residue in them.

  • I use the lids to keep my earing in pairs in my standing jewelry case!

  • Dotti I love the idea of using the lids. I'm always looking for clever ways to keep my earrings together.

    In fact you gave me a great idea, I stuck a lid to my bedside table. Now if I forget to take my earrings out before bedtime I can keep them safe until morning- thanks!

  • I use them to store plant seeds I've collected from my yard.

  • I've used my extra vet-pill bottles to take stool samples to the vet.

  • You can glue or nail the caps to a thin piece of wood and
    mount it under a shelf or cabinet in craft area garage or
    Sewing room .then label and fill the bottles with items
    You want at an arms reach. Screw the bottles to the caps
    and no more searching fir those items.

  • To remove labels from pill bottles... using a hairdryer heat the label and inside the bottle for a minute or so.

  • You girls are very creative! great tips!


  • thank's admin beautiful post

  • [...] don’t have to stop with just these seven ideas- – substitute a refillable egg for prescription bottle using these ideas from my blog post on Martha Stewart’s Whole Living [...]

  • [...] I shared twelve clever re-uses for empty prescription bottles. Turns out I’m not the only with a surplus of pill bottles, you asked for them so here are [...]

  • Jamie- Useyour bread tags to label hook up wires and power plugs.

  • I use many in my craft room. And I use the lids to do small painting jobs in my craft room.

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