How can I reuse or recycle … shoe boxes?

A shoe boxI never throw shoe boxes out. Because they’re always useful for odd bits and pieces, right?

But the thing is, I can never think of enough random bits and pieces that would utilise them properly. I tend to buy more bigger, more sturdy boxes for anything that needs a permanent home, or use plastic (ice-cream-esque) tubs if I need the contents to be kept dry so the shoe boxes end up cluttering up the place with their potential, but unrealised, re-usability.

So any suggestions of other ways I could use them? Or specific suggestions of things I could put in them?

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … shoe boxes?”

  1. Clare P says:

    I use them in drawers to organise my toiletries or underwear or other such items that benefit from being separated in a drawer.

  2. Give them to kids to use for school projects. They are the ideal size for dioramas.

  3. Cadan ap Tomos says:

    Keep your shoes in them.

  4. Zoe says:

    Store your pictures, craft items, craft paints, etc; and dont forget to lable the outside of every box.

  5. rita says:

    Boxes can be painted with emulsion paint so that they become storage boxes that look nice on show. Also there are charities at Christmas that need shoe boxes that people fill with presents for kids overseas. Often all the local shoe shops have none left to give to people at this time of year.

  6. Hannah Phillips says:

    I decorate them and use them as gift boxes for home made presents. I even go as far as going to the shoe shop to get more.

  7. Nadja says:

    I decorate them exactly as the wooden boxes, painting inside and outside, first with wall paints, then with acrylic paints, gluing decoupage and ornaments (such as polymer clay little pieces, laces, etc) and a finish coating. They become beautiful gifts, which my neighbours and friends beg for.

  8. Pat says:

    Students at the university where I work often use them to make goody boxes for homeless shelters during the holidays.

  9. luke says:

    you could always start with recyclable clear shoe boxes like the ones at

  10. Gill says:

    Every year before Christmas (October/November) – a charity called SAMARITANS PURSE does a shoe box appeal. People are encouraged to pack box of toys/items for children around the world.
    We do this at Guides & we never have enough shoe boxes – so why not offer to donate them to a local church or Guide unit thats collecting

  11. Grendor says:

    The pity about normal shoe boxes is you have to remove the lid from the top and nothing is visible so they are no that great as storgae for things you like to use. If you tried the clear shoe boxes with drawers like the ones I just bought from you can see everything you have stored and get to it in a snap.

  12. Vanessa says:

    I found your shoebox and had to add it to my blog about shoes and shoeboxes with a credit. It is so minimalist. I love houseplants and immediately saw English Ivy overflowing out of it. I’d paint the top black and white polka dots and now that I think about it, you could lacquer the whole thing so it would last. This is a great site!

  13. Sarah121 says:

    easy way i love the idea of organizing my nicker draw but i usssualy just reuse them, paint them and give them to someone for a birthday box ofcorse there is somthing inside the box.Wrapping papper is always good i have a box for every occassion it saves a lot of time nad money.

  14. Pet says:

    I decorate shoe boxes by making a collage with pictures from old magazines, all with the same theme, e.g. with flowers. After that I put plastic glue-foil (English?) over it. They look beautiful.

  15. Bertie says:

    Use them to make a goodie box for our brave troops overseas. If you know someone serving at a BFPO address you can send as much as you can fit in a shoebox FOR FREE as long as it’s not over 2kg.

  16. Easy Ideas says:

    Use your old shoe boxes as dvd case organizers, paint and label the box and neatly place them in.
    Another way to recycle them is to place some other boxes in and cut them to size, place some toilet rolls it and place pens, pencils and other stationary.

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