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17 Ridiculously Easy and Smart Uses For Your Old Pill Bottles

Over the years different illnesses and medical conditions in our home have left us with a cupboard full of empty UNRECYCLABLE prescription bottles. As you may know from past posts like this one: (My Top Ten Repurposed Household Containers) and this one: (Repurposing Laundry Detergent Containers Into Useful Objects) I really HATE throwing things like that away.

Since our recycling center doesn’t accept this kind of plastic and our pharmacy doesn’t recycle or reuse them either, I decided to do some research and figure out ways I could repurpose them into other useful objects.

I’ve compiled a list for you (and me) below:

Important note: Before reusing any empty prescription bottle, take off the labels, so no one has access to your personal information, then clean and sanitize the bottles thoroughly.

Mini Survival Kit

Keep matches and other necessities dry while you brave the wild: camping, boating, or just for a day at the beach.

Mini “Car Kit”

These bottles fit perfectly inside your car’s glove compartment or door cubby, and they’re great for storing change or small amounts of cash for garage parking, toll fare, or the Laundromat.

Mini First Aid Kit

Keep an emergency first-aid kit in your handbag or the glove box of your car “just in case.” Include things like band-Aids, Q-tips, alcohol swabs, packets of antibiotic ointment, etc. For more items you may want to consider adding to your kit check out this emergency essentials list.

Ear Buds Holder

Prescription bottles work great for small cords and ear buds. Easier to find them in your purse too!

Flosser Holder

I don’t know about you, but I find myself flossing in the car more than any other place! Thanks to these little individual flossers. This is the perfect little holder for them

Emergency Snacks

My son Kell has had Type 1 Diabetes since he was 2 years old and so we have ALWAYS made sure to have some emergency snacks on hand in case of low blood sugars.  These bottles make a handy little storage container for just enough Skittles or M & M’s to bring his blood sugar back up to a normal range.

Caution: Putting candy in a prescription bottle can confuse a child. Please be careful about where you place these reused prescription bottles and your real ones. Children can’t tell the difference between one and the other.

Mini “Sharps” Container

Store used lancets, blood test strips, until they can be disposed of. They are much cheaper than the sharps containers sold at the drug counters; are more compact; easier to store; and easier to dispose of.

NON-Prescription Pill Bottles

Sometimes I buy pain relief, vitamins, etc. in those big bottles from Costco, so I like to fill up a couple empty prescription bottles of these things to keep in a couple of locations. I also keep one in my toiletry bag I take on trips.

Miniature Portable Sewing Kit

Prescription bottles are just the right size and shape for a sewing needle, a small spool or two, a few straight pins, and a few plain buttons. Have one in the car, purse or office drawer. If a button comes loose or a hem unravels the kit is handy and the pins are tucked safely inside where no one can get pricked when not in use.

Seed Keeper

Collect the seeds at the end of the growing season and store them neatly in small pill bottles. Come spring, you’ll be all ready to get your new garden started.

Make Mini Ice Packs

Just fill them with water and freeze. These are perfect for packed lunches.

Cat Toy

Placing a small bell inside makes a great little play toy. The bottle rolls around and is light enough not to cause harm to the kitten, cat or furniture it might be rolled into.

Toothpick Holder

Drill a quarter inch hole in the cap, fill with toothpicks, and keep in your purse or car.

Condiment Containers

Line old prescription bottles with inexpensive baggies and use them for condiment containers for bagged lunches. Lined, they’re great for mayo, granola for yogurt, salad dressings, croutons for soup/salad, etc.

Drawer & Closet Sachets

Drill holes in the bottom and the top of the pill bottles. Add a slice or two of scented soap. Put the cap on and place in a drawer to keep clothes smelling fresh without risking stains on your clothes.

Portable Perfume

If you wear perfume and don’t want to bring the whole bottle with you in your purse but like to freshen up at midday, try this:  soak a cotton ball or two with your favorite cologne or perfume, place them inside a small bottle and close with the cap. By midday the cotton ball will still be wet and can be dabbed to the areas you spritz with perfume.

Donations

Check with your local free clinic or veterinarian’s office to see if they accept used prescription bottles. Some of them will reuse them for filling prescriptions. So, call around in your area to see if vets will take your bottles, or if any free clinics need them.

Similar programs exist for third-world nations… your empties could help with medical aid.

Well, I better get busy! I’ve got a lot of bottles wasting space and gathering dust in my kitchen cupboards.

Do you have any other ideas for reusing empty pill bottles? 

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  • I noticed that you didn’t mention that you easily can de-activate that child-proof feature in the prescription bottle lid. Simply press a thumb tack onto the top of the lid, making sure that the sharp “tack” goes all the way through the inner liner. You can choose the color of thumb tack to represent what is in the bottle if you like.

  • I like the idea of the flossers in RX bottles I got a holder for them with a package of Plackers, and I keep that in my purse’s inner pocket. this would be nice for a camper or backpack or work bag. I’ve been re-purposing small containers: I get wild berry mint omeprazole in small bottles 3-pack from Amazon and have covered them in a pretty craft paper that matched the color of the cap. I use it to put one daily dose of vitamins in my purse just if I forget to take it at home.
    Also, 5-hour energy bottles cleaned well, dried well, labeled off, and re-labeled with labeler for pain med or vitamin type with the milligrams included: for instance Vitamin C 1000mg or Vitamin C 500mg; or for arthritis formula vs regular Tylenol. They fit in a travel beauty pouch, 5 of them for every once-in-awhile needed quick meds: First sign of dragging Vit. C, L-lysine for canker sores that I do not get anymore– because I use this, Ibuprophen is separate from Tylenol for the family that prefers Ibuprophen. Also, cranberry capsules for preventing UTIs, and cinnamon capsules if too many sweets are taken. I have two travel pouches at the ready. These are handy for traveling or camping, and backpacks as well.
    ice cube gum containers work for dispensing one piece or fully opening to refill. Helpful for the gum itself, but also for earplugs, and for change in the car that l labeled with craft liquid pearls or Nuvo drops that add dimension and color– useful to find in low light if needed. RX bottles will work for pills. 5-hour energy bottles properly prepared will hold liquid condiments, as they were meant to hold liquid. Hope this helps. I love One Good Thing by Jillee and the readers’ comments as well!

  • How appalling it is that this post is years old, and yet I don’t see any comments pointing out that the first picture portrays choices that are not only utterly irrational, but also dangerous. It says RIGHT THERE on the toe warmers that, like all warmers of that type, they are air-activated. This means the reactants inside start activating and generating heat as soon as you open the package. You’re supposed to shake them up to make them nice and hot rather quickly, but the fact is, after a day or so out of their packaging, they will be utterly useless.

    Combine that with the fact that whoever made that photo decided to put in EXPOSED MATCHES with them after ensuring these heat-generators will activate, and then suggests closing these things in a container together … smh, what a dangerously idiotic thing to do.

    That entry should be removed from this article, and the fact that nobody caught it before publishing is just wildly irresponsible.

  • I wear hearing aids. Sometimes when we are away from home, I need to take them out and a small pill bottle makes a great place to keep them safe until I get home!

  • We learned, while planning a funeral for my dad, that some funeral homes will use prescription bottles to send cremated ashes to different vendors that make keepsakes with the ashes for the family. The container holds plenty and has the least chance of opening during transport. We have dropped ours off there ever since.

  • Being that I’m a carpenter/remodeler and do ALL trades, plumbing, electrical, ceramic tile etc. as well as carpentry here are some of my uses.
    1) Electrical: I put my wire nuts by color in them and then use a colored Sharpie to color the white cap to match the size. I do the same for the older type fuses, 15amp BLUE 20 amp YELLOW etc.
    2) Plumbing: Put the PVC compression washers in them as well as other small items like the rolls of Teflon tape & screws.
    3) Tile: I put the plastic tile spacers (which come in plastic bags and never seem to stay closed) into the vile & use a black Sharpie to write the size on the lid, 3/16″, 1/8″, 5/16″ etc.
    4) All Trades use drills so by putting the SMALLER sized drill bits in the small vile and the LARGE ones in taller ones so they are NOT always getting lost in the tool box as with all the above items. Saves Time searching as well saves MONEY$ not having to run to the store to buy a new just to find the one the one you couldn’t later which you ALWAYS END UP DOING 5 min. after you get back from wasting 2 hours running around to do a 10 min. job!

  • Something I use to get all kinds of label “sticky” off is Electric Shave men’s shaving lotion. It takes it off great and smells good too!

  • […] Whether you use the plan bottle or dress it up with some spray paint or washi tape, gone are the days of finding bobby pins tucked in every nook and cranny. Not only is it the perfect size for hair accessories, but everything from jewellery to headphones. Check out more ways to repurpose a prescription bottle here. […]

  • Use it as a hidden place for your spare house key! Instead of putting your key under the mat or above the door, put the key in a pill bottle, seal it, and add some grass or hot glue a small pine cone to the top! Bury it in your garden, potted plant, or in your yard!

  • I use pill bottles for button project storage. Used pins and needle disosal, 90% of the lists posted. I’ve taken the larger 90 day bottles, cut off the bottle necks and used them for seedling containers. Don’t overpack the dirt in them and you can gently ease out the plant for transplanting.

  • Hi. This a great list and I’ll be incorporating some of your ideas. Thanks. I sew and use the containers to store several bobbins in them. If threaded, they are ready to use, and it’s good to have empty ones too. I label them. The larger ones are good to keep dog treats in the glove compartment. Another one holds a pair of gold and silver earrings for the days I go out and forgot earrings. Oh, they are good to carry your own salad dressing too.

  • Used Rx bottles are great to throw away used needles for sewing, mending, quilting etc. Its worrisome to put pins and needles into the trash, I worry that someone could get stuck by a rusty needle while handleing trash, the garbage collectors and recycle types perhaps.

  • Fishing bobbers (aka “corks”). Thread a loop of fishing line into the bottle and snap or twist the cap back on… keeps bait or lure suspended at whatever level you wish. When the bottle goes under water, you’ve got dinner on the line.

    Try it next time you go fishing. It’s a great conversation starter, as well. When people ask, you can tell them you’re “fishing for your health.”

    You’re welcome.

  • Oh, and to reply to Pam’s comment – I get my non-childproof caps at my local Safeway pharmacy. If I take the bottles in, they’re nice enough to match them up with the correct size lids even.

    Hope that helps, thanks again!

    Janice

  • Thank you so much for these great ideas! I’ve been taking medications for 20+ years now, after my first kidney transplant and have always wanted to find great ways to reuse my pill bottles. Your list is going to help me finally put all of mine to great use, as I have hundreds of various sizes and am now excited to do something with them!

    Oh, reading through your list, I also thought they’d be great for using as travel size containers for Q-tips, jewelry, shampoo, conditioner, etc.. Also, I think they’d look cute with decorative stickers on the caps to hide the unattractive pharmacy print :)

    Thanks again,
    Janice :)

  • I just want to say that I am still using empty prescription bottles from 70 years ago. They were with sewing supplies from my husband’s Grandma. They glass and so cute!! She had eyelets, Buttons, sequins snaps, etc in them.

  • Hey Jillee ! Love the site, and your Facebook page . I’ve been on about 8 different meds in the last year, so when I get switched off it, I dump the contents into a ziplock bag (and place in the top shelf of a closet, so no little hands can get into it) then I’ll take it to the pharmacy every so often . I always have a pill bottle with a few tylenol, a days worth of my current prescription in my bag . It’s also great because I have several piercings (nose, lip, tongue ect) so I keep spare jewelry in there . Great tip about the snacks though :)

  • Have used pill bottles for years to save quarters in. While out on the road, I drive a big truck, the quarters mounted up till I had a significant number of bottles, which I took to our Credit Union where they have a machine to count change. $300 plus is not too shabby and didn’t notice the quarters being saved. My other change goes in my wife’s gallon jar which is mad money for…whatever… Thanks for all the ideas, recipes and practical hints.

  • Jillee,
    These are great ideas.
    I follow you everyday and love your “good things.”
    I was very interested to see that you have a son with type 1 diabetes. My youngest son (of 3 sons) is 23 and was diagnosed nearly 7 years ago. There is a special place in my heart for families dealing with T1D. I knew you were special. Now I know that you are VERY special.
    God bless you and your family and thank you for your “good things.”

  • Love the ideas… I’ve been searching for non-childproof lids for repurposing our prescription bottles, but have had difficulty finding them. I want the simple, thumb push-up kind of lids. Any ideas?

  • I use my pill bottles for spices in my RV. They take up less room than full spice jars, are light weight and can be returned to my home jars at seasons end. The large ones store spice blends that I make.

  • I glue to the side of a plastic post-it notes container, and put a couple of pens/pencils in it. When I want to write on the post-it, there is a pen handy.

  • I just fixed up several first aid kits for the ones in my family that work outdoors. Two each of pepto bismol tabs, bandaides, Tylenol and ibuprofen, individual packets of antibiotic ointment, burn gel, and anti itch ointment ( ordered on Amazon). They were quite pleased with them. You’d be surprised how much you can get in one of those bottles. Mine were the medium size bottles. One of the bigger bottles would hold a couple of wet wipes in addition to all the rest.

  • I am an avid quilter and have used a pill bottle for years to put my dull sewing machine needles in when I change them. Keeps them contained when disposed of. Thanks for all the other fabulous tips!

  • We use old pill bottles to ration out small amounts of paint for our son’s art time. They’re resealable so the paint doesn’t dry out, and it keeps him from dumping out a big jar of paint on accident. If you want to get really whimsical, you can drill holes in the lids and insert paint brushes into the paint through the hold. Then, the paint brush has a guard to protect paint from spilling down onto the child’s hand.

  • Even though I can put them in my recycle, I did keep some from when my husband was on several meds before having back surgery. Now we use them when we travel to keep his new and used pen needles and used test strips. He is a Type 2 diabetic. Then I can empty them into our large sharps container at home.
    Our daughter keeps hair pins in one in her purse.

  • Love the ideas. In regards to the laws about drugs being in their
    Original containers. Does anyone know if there’s a website to
    Check on this info. I’m going to be flying out of state next week
    And I would hate to be busted for not having Tylenol etc in its
    Original container.

  • OK, I thought of one other disposable/reusable container that some of us may have and hate to throw away: Anyone who uses an Intuition razor gets refills in a small plastic container. They are odd shaped and don’t look like they would be useful for much. I have found uses! I often get hair ornaments in multi-packs (you can often find bags containing bobby pins, headbands and other clips for about $3 instead 0f buying separately and paying a fortune). This sometimes leaves me with bobby pins or clips on cardboard, taking up room until I use them up. Bobby pins and those smaller triangular clips both fit perfectly in the intuition containers! An entire cardboard of bobby pins will fit in an intuition container and can be taken anywhere easily without worrying about pins all over as the cardboard disintegrates over time. You can even line them up on a strong bar magnet for further organization. I also use them for storing beads-I make jewelry. They are easier to access than when in a tall slender pill bottle. Just my 2 green cents! ;-)

  • My suggestion would be to LABEL all pill containers, so as not to confuse your vitamins or ? with your pet’s supplements etc. Also, I wouldn’t use the plastic containers for spices as they will leach chemicals from the plastic. I always transfer my spices from plastic to glass or purchase my spices in glass jars……………Just food for thought………….

  • Just like using them for broken or old used sewing machine needles, they are a great way to dispose of used xacto knife blades or other small sharp objects. It keeps you safe, keeps the garbage bag from breaking open and keeps the garbage man safe too. Think if you were him and you got cut with a blade, you wouldn’t know if it was contaminated and you might get sick from it. They usually wear gloves but you never know. (I put broken glass in paper bags too)

  • When going to the timeshare on vacation I put spices I use most often into the pill bottles. Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, dehydrated onion, seasoned salt are a few. One of the larger bottles had a gasket-type cap and I put a couple of ounces of olive oil in the bottle.

  • I used my empty pill bottles to put some of the Homemade Hand lotion that I made from your recipe with the Baby Magic Lotion, Coconut Oil, and Vitamin E. Nice to have a purse size bottle of it handy. :)

    Another use is I keep my different color blades for when I am Walleye Fishing with my husband in one. He swears by the Gold hammered blade, but I get bored if I’m not catching anything, so I have to try every color we have in the tackle box. I keep mine in an old pill bottle so I can switch colors easily. Saves me from digging into the huge tackle box to find them.

  • Hi Jillee, years ago on Carol Duvall’s crafts show, she used old prescription bottles to make sponge nail polish remover containers. She fitted sponges after making a slit for your finger (to rub polish off) to fit inside the medium/large bottles, poured in some nail polish remover and you were good to go. Those push down tops sealed well, if you’re not sure if yours seals, try it first with water. I always
    remembered that, because it was a handy thing to have at work. I believe you posted something similar. I really enjoy reading your blogs, I’ve learned a lot, tried a lot, and I’m even saving some cash! Win-win! keep up the great work!

  • I use empty pill bottles in large flower pots in the bottom to take up space instead of wasting good dirt. The flowers seem to like having something to latch their roots to also. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s fabulous!

  • Jill,

    We have many pill bottles in our home as well but I recently found out that my county coroners office will take the bottles even if they have leftover pills. Also, they give me those syringe containers for free and they come in a couple of different sizes. Then they’ll take the container back when it’s full.

    I like the reuse of the bottles especially when they are redecorated with a new cover.

    Thank you,
    Rene’

  • I use them for dog treats, they hold just enough for one dog and a short trip wherever especially if it’s a new dog you are still training. Plastic baggies are no good because they can smell the treats and it’s distracting. A dog with a good sense of smell can still smell the treats a little bit in a bottle but it’s not too terribly distracting.

  • Here are a few thoughts I don’t think were mentioned.
    Look closely at your bottles–some of them the top is reversible; meaning they have one end with the child proof gadget in them but the other end is threaded and so no struggle to open. Flipping the lid can make them water tight.
    Also, they come in colors. Humans usually get the amber bottles, but our vet uses blue bottles, and our emergency vet uses green (don’t ask, 2013 was a ruff ;-) year for our dogs). No pets? trade.
    My current favorite use, I bought a bunch of glass roller bottles for DIY essential oil remedies (allergies, cuts/scrapes, Jillee’s breathe jar, etc.). They were out of stock on the colored bottles (oils are light sensitive)-so I slip the clear roller bottle into an empty blue or green vial & add a label.
    Ladies–they can also hold a couple of tampons (non-applicator style) & keep them from floating around the pocket book.
    BTW those mini M &M’s containers are just as versatile Using them for kid snacks will avoid any/all confusion.
    Can’t wait to read the new comments at the end of the day,

  • All of these are great ideas. I use the large bottles to carry vanilla coffee creamer in, in my purse.

    I get some of my meds mail order, 90 day supply. These have screw on lids. I do have a bit of trouble getting the labels off of these, so I mark out the information. Then cover with tape or scrapbook paper, and label what is inside. These are great for travel. You can use these for so many things.

    All of these ideas can be used for camping, travel, either in an RV or camping. Or if you are into the Prepping and wanting to make a 72-hour Bug Out Bag (BOB) you can out so many of these items in the bottles, and then in the Bag.

  • I have lots of uses for these bottles. I make reborn dolls and there are lots of small items that need to be contained and separated. I store doll eyes, magnets, beads, rooting needles, etc. I tape several containers together with washi tape to place the brushes I’m using (brush side up) making it easier to see and grab quickly. The dolls are weighted with glass beads and the bottles come in perfect sizes to use as “scoops” to fill the legs and arms with these beads.

    My granddaughter likes to use them as paint stamps for making various size circles on her artwork and they make great “circle guides” for drawing on paper or fabric for any number of artistic projects.

    In the kitchen they are great little cookie cutters; my granddaughter loves her “tea parties” with treats that are sized just for her and her reborns.

    Sometimes I label the bottles with the contents, draw pictures on plain paper to show what’s inside or (especially for colored beads) I just glue one to the top of the lid making it a snap to tell what’s inside. I NEVER run out of places to use my containers, but I often run out of containers to use for my projects!

  • It’s really easy to separate the lid into its two components. I tend to discard the child-proof part and use the small, flat snap-on lid that remains. Makes the bottles easier to stand up next to each other, and makes the overall container smaller for use in purse. Though it seems quite secure to me, I would avoid using just the liner lid with liquids or anything that would be messy if the lid were nudged off.

  • They are great for storing USB Flash Drives for the computer when you are on the road. Since they are so small, they don’t get lost among the cords and chargers.

  • Many great ideas. Some I’ll start using right away. I plan to make “emergency” fishing kits for my 10 year old grandsons. I think they’ll get a real kick out of it.

    I LOVE the idea of using them for small cords – like ear buds for my iPhone. Much easier than keeping them in the small pouches some of them come in. Can also put charging cords in them as well. And with a large enough bottle you could even include a small wall charger. WhoooHooo! Great ideas!

  • I do use some of your ideas (before I knew they were your ideas!) and I have sent the rest to various overseas medical missionary facilities as they have a dire need for them (well washed, of course). Now I send them to a veterinary pharmacy in Sebastian, FL. I also need to call my local schools to see if they can be used for poster paints, so each child has a ‘set’ of colors to use.

  • I use the lids to hold jewelry in my jewelry drawer. They are just the right size for rings and they keeps the necklaces from having tangled chains.
    Thanks for all of your great ideas.

  • I am an artist; I paint on porcelain. We use many oils and solvents. I drill a hole in the top of my prescription screw on lidded bottles, cut a pipette to the length of the bottle and insert it in the hole. Each bottle is filled with an oil or solvent. When I need a little bit, I squeeze the pipette, withdraw it and direct the liquid to where I need it. I am not sure but this application may work for other art mediums and crafts.

  • Store individual salt and pepper packs in them. Or for RV use, drill a tiny hole ow two in the tops for a salt and pepper shaker. Keep in fridge when not in use.

    Take to the beach. They make cute sand castles for little ones and great additions to large sand castles from the older kids.

    Take on a cruise or trip to the beach to collect sand as a momento. You can put in a little baby food jar once your home to see them.

    Traveling with a pet, store dry food for a light snack on the road.

    Clean out well, add juice or yogurt, a Popsicle stick and freeze for child size cold treats. Easily pop one out but dipping in hot water for a second to release.

    Contact wearers or dry eyes, store individual use saline packs. Great to keep in your purse for the beach or any day your eyes get irritated.

    Out of Chap Stick… Put some Vaseline in one and keep upright in the car. Also great to smear Vaseline on your feet before putting socks on! No more blisters!! Make sure you get between your toes too.

    • I tried to bring a very small amount of sand back with me from a Bahamas cruise and customs wouldn’t let me. Apparently Dept of Agriculture doesn’t allow individuals to being sand or vegetation of any foreign nature into the US for fear of introducing undesirable bacterial or other substances that could harm vegetation natural to the US.

      DoA does allow businesses to bring stuff in but it’s “sanitized” or irradiated first.

      Who knew. I was VERY disappointed.

  • As an alternative to pill bottles I have used empty plastic spice shakers. The kind with the lift tops for shaking or spooning out spices. No drilling holes, no association with medicine and really easy to use. So far I’ve just been using them for broken needles and bent pins in my sewing room but I love these other ideas!
    My friend who works at a retirement center uses pill bottle lids for bingo markers.
    We have a recycling program in our city so my pill bottles go there.
    Great ideas!

  • I have started oil pulling. Everything I read tells me to spit it in the trash afterward because it can clog up drains. But I just HATE spitting it in the trash. So I use an empty prescription bottle and spit in that. When it’s full I throw it away and get out a new one. Appeals to my “ewww” side better than spitting in the trash!

  • Hi, I am a senior with a number of perscription meds. This results in lots of empty plastic bottles. Luckily the labels are not a problem, they strip off quite easily. The bottles that are three inches and five inches in height, I am putting in a shoe box, standing upright, minus the lids. I intend to use them to hold the pens, pencils, markers and brushes I use for my card making projects. I will have to tape them together in some way to keep them from tipping but, I think when I finish this, I will be able to sort different colours and sizes making finding what I need easier. The smaller bottles are great for holding little items like brads, buttons and other decorative bits.
    Thanks for all the great information you give…

    Marg.

  • Good containers for my children who have recently moved away from home. They need “just a few” of many small items which Mama keeps on hand.

    Office supplies – brads, staples, clips in various sizes & shapes, eraser; and around the outside of the bottle – rubber bands & clear Scotch tape dispenser (so easy to lose!)

    Sewing kit, including safety pins

    Pain relievers: seldom used Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin, Immodium, Gas-Ex

    Labels are good. And for quick id, I store my plethora of prescriptions (with labels) in a drawer upside down.

    Fishing kit – add hook, line and sinker, use bottle as a bobber.

  • As a professional organizer, I am always touting the many uses of these beauties to my clients, but you’ve even mentioned some I’ve never thought of before. Since I have to be ready for all contingencies on the job, I use them to hold paper clips, thumbtacks, rubber bands, AA batteries, binder clips, safety pins and even mints in my work bag. I also use them in my kitchen for holding homemade spice blends. Many of these bottles are leak proof (always test first), so I often send them in my husband’s lunch as a container for salad dressing.

  • I knit with very fine yarns. I use the bottles to hold the small balls of yarn. Also, I save my little snippets of yarn ends in one. I take knitting with me everywhere.

    When it gets full, I put al the pieces on my backyard fence for the birds to use in their nest.

    I used to just keep the small bits of yarn in my knitting bag, but this is so much neater!

    I’ve covered the outside with glued on yarn, that way I can tell what it is for. I also use the pill bottles for pins, sewing nedles and thread and my lancets.

  • I have used the small pill bottles for lots of these same ideas. I do label mine as to what is in there. And you can also take the printing off of the lid with finger nail polish remover. Or you can paint it or cover the label with a sticker or whatever.

    I have lots of empty, label free bottles. You can also make a fishing bottle with fishing line and fish hooks for a Bug Out Bag, if you’re into Prepping.

    • These are great for storing campfire starters! Just work some petroleum jelly into a cotton ball and store in the bottle; a small one will hold 2 to 4 cotton balls. I use them for camping.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been going crazy trying to think of something to do with all of the pill bottles that we accumulate. You are so crafty!! Love your website and it’s first thing I check in morning. Thank you again.

  • Jillee,
    Just when I think you can’t get better, you do! It drives me nuts to throw this stuff out.

    Can you repost on your oldies but goodies how to clean stains from white tablecloths and yellowing white clothes. I have a huge stack to clean post holiday! I know you are the laundry queen! I own a laundromat and plan to share!

  • These are wonderful suggestions. I use my bottles for screws and nails also. My father used to use baby food glass jars, but I find the medicine bottles safer. I also use them for office supplies like paper clips and push pins. I remove all my medicine labels and use my p-touch to label the bottles. My friends think I’m crazy when I keep my bottles, but I always find a use for them. Better than in a landfill. I love your site and am constantly sending ideas to my sister. Thank you for all the marvelous ideas.

  • I recently bought two empty prescription bottles with a single large stone glued to the top– I put a spare key in them and put one in the back yard in the dirt so only the stone shows. The other I put in the dirt under a shrub by the front door! Now I never have to worry about being locked out of the house!

  • Uses for prescription bottles,

    I purchase large packages of birthday candles at thr Dollar store and always have lots left. The RX bottles are the perfect size to store them in. Also I store my bobby pins in them and my extra backs for pierced earrings.

  • I can think of one more idea for an empty pill container, one which I’ve read on several other sites but don’t see mentioned here. Those of us who end up with little bits in our purses all the time, such as candy wrappers, tissues, etc, make a pill bottle into a mini trash container, to hold you over til you get to an actual trash can. Nothing worse than disintegrating tissues and gum wrappers swimming around in the bottom of a purse! I haven’t needed one in my purse now, but before I started switching my purses frequently, I sure could have used this kind of idea! The ones I saw, someone used a rather cute printed napkin and some mod podge to decorate the bottle and lid (of course this was before the washi tape and fancy duck tape revolution).

  • We reuse them for my two young sons. They pack shark teeth, fossils, arrowheads, and rocks they find into them. They are always exploring and always finding new treasures to put in their bottles.

    • Most can probably be removed with some WD-40. Peel off as much as possible, then spray WD-40 on what’s left. Let it sit for a while, and you should be able to peel the rest off easily. Any goo left, spray on a little more and wipe off with a tissue or paper towel. Then, wash in regular soap and water. Goo gone can be used too but is more expensive per ounce than WD-40. However, if you are going to use something non-transparent to cover the bottle such as duck tape or a paper print out, just remove the top layer of the label with all the information by peeling and cover whatever is left.

    • The easiest way to remove any sticker off anything is with WD-40 or even the walmart brand of it. Takes only a few seconds and it comes right off, including the sticky stuff.

      • When my mom ordered an expensive dining room set, it was delivered with stickers attached! WHAT?!? They told her to use lighter fluid. It didn’t mark the furniture and it’s so greasy that the stickers came right off. I’ve never used WD40 so I can’t provide a comparison.

    • A mixture of baking soda and coconut oil. I found this recipe (called Goo Gone also) on Pinterest all over the place and it is the BEST and CHEAP! I do find it best to strip labels off as much as you can and then put on the Goo Gone for a few hours (because I’m usually doing 15 bottles at a time) and BAM it’s gone :)

  • I’ve been using these pill bottles to make water resistant survival kits for hunting, Boy Scouts, etc. A few matches, sewing needles, a small spool of duct tape, fishing line, handmade single use neosporin capsules, etc. You’d be surprised how much you can get to fit inside one of these!

  • CAUTION::: In MANY states, its illegal to carry pills of ANY kind, prescription or over the counter, in anything other than their original labeled containers. You can tell the cop they are just tylenol but if its not in its original container, they have the right to arrest you and detain you and fine you for carrying them in the wrong containers. To them, all pills are DRUGS and must be carried in their original containers, even VITAMINS. PLEASE dont do this. All the other ideas are fantastic !!

    • You are correct, lisac. It is the case in Florida. Also for overseas flight travel from many airports. As in any scenario some enforcement officers will check more closely than others, and some not at all. I wouldn’t count on someone not checking however.

      • We, too, purchase our prescriptions in 90 day supplies, and often the bottles are too big to travel conveniently with. I have found that our pharmacists will print a second label for me to wrap around the smaller bottles, making it legal and easier to travel with them.

        In addition, the Women’s Auxilary of many American Legion and VFW chapters collect the clean empties to ship overseas.

        I use assorted size containers in my make-up basket to hold my brushes, pencils, tweezers, etc.
        My husband uses them in the cars to keep auto light bulbs (those little ones that come in multi-packs) from breaking when they roll around loose.
        I keep tea bags in my car and travel bag, and another with sugar/sweetner packets.
        I use them to store the cables to my phone, I-pod, etc. in both my car and travel bag.

    • Texas as well. I’ve seen the police tell a friend that it is illegal to carry Tylenol, or any OTC, in a used prescription bottle, even with the label pulled off. Avoid any kind of pills in used bottles unless you want to spend the afternoon at a police station, or at the very least having your belongings and car searched.

    • This is good to know, thanks. I was under the impression that as long as you carried a copy of the prescription with you it was OK. Having said that, I tend to put a few pills in an older bottle of the same prescription (or vice versa) to take with me so I’m not traveling with the entire supply unless of course I’m going for that long, or in a smaller vial for the same script if I’ve gotten a multi month supply.

  • The best way I’ve found to get all of the labels off of the bottles is to use your hairdryer on the label for a few seconds. Then it just peels right off. There’s a little sticky residue left but none of the white paper or sensitive info left behind. If you don’t want the sticky residue either, take a wash cloth with a little rubbing alcohol and lightly scrub the area and that will come right off too.

  • Great ideas. I hate to keep throwing those away even though my city accepts them in the recycling bin. I have 4 sitting in my counter now and will now get to work on that emergency medical kit. And great use for those scraps of wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, decorative duct tape too! (instead of washi tape)

  • Great ideas!!! This will be a great idea for the camper or car! :)
    Not sure about the Mini Ice Packs in the lunchbox…I think that they would leak, or at least the ones we’ve had :)

  • Every once in while, we go on a cruise where there is a casino. I’m not much of a gambler, though I enjoy trying my luck with the quarter slot machines. My solution to not getting sucked-in and losing a lot of money, is to fill a bottle with quarters and use them for the games. When the quarters are gone, it’s time to quit. I love these new ideas. Especially covering the old bottle to make it more attractive. I have a bag of old, empty prescription bottles just waiting to be put to use. (I just couldn’t stand to throw them in the trash).

    • I meant to mention that this also works for giving kids coins to use at an arcade. No whining, because everyone knows when they are gone that’s all there is.

  • Keep one in my sewing room to collect broken or worn sewing machine needles or worn out straight pins. Safe! Never get lost on the floor or falling out of the garbage!

  • Love them covered… will add a little round label to the top and cover with clear tape.

    Please will someone direct me to the spot on this site to change my e-mail address. Sorry, off subject.

    • I think just registering your new email in the subscribe and connect box and then canceling the old one is probably the way to do it in case someone that knows more than I do doesn’t see your question. Good luck

  • Wow, ask great ideas! I use the over the counter bottles to drill tiny holes in the top to put cosmetic glitter or mica in. Then I can just shake it on my homemade soap and other crafts.

  • We get a 3-month supply of our meds at one time, so some of our RX containers are quite large. They are great for storing any number of small things: safety pins, straight pins, rubber bands, etc. I put one in my work kit (I’m a florist) full of chewing gum (small pellet type). It keeps it clean and easy to find when I want it.

  • Our church collects prescription and over the counter pill bottles to send to an overseas health care provider in the third world. People come to the clinic and were sent home with pills in their pockets or in a handkerchief or rag. Now, the recycled pill bottles (washed and with labels removed) have a use!

  • Lots of good ideas and as I was reading through viewer comments I thought of one I did when my kids were smaller. We used them as miniature vases, to hold the tiny little dandelions or violets, etc, they would bring into the house for me! Then, we used those little vases for dolly tea parties. Even now, painted up…papered up, or however you want to fancy them up…..they can make really cute little vases for real or silk flowers.

    And if you really must use them to store candy pieces, you MUST educate, educate and EDUCATE your children very well about the difference between candy and medicine. Be vigilent…..it is not overkill to remind them, because that’s how we all learn…..repetition, repetition, repetition!

  • These are great ideas! One I will implement right away is the car kit with quarters…how nice to just have that right there when you need it without looking all over the place for the change!

  • I just read your tips for reusing prescription bottles. Please be certain to label your bottle when you store any OTC medicines in them! I do not think reusing these bottles for anything which your child might use is a good idea! They are child resistant to keep children safer. By showing them how to open them you are asking for trouble….

  • I use them for storing sewing needles, beads, and for keeping screws and nails in my toolbox.
    Also, my husband puts some of the homemade salve in them to take with him to work – a more portable solution than the glass canning jars.

  • Check with your local recycling center. Ours does accept them. Just be sure to remove the label, or as much as you can, to insure all your personal information & the Rx number is removed.

  • I liked all your ideas for reusing medicine bottles. Here area a few of mine:
    – use to hold a roll of stamps (easy to carry in purse).
    – add rice or dry peas, they make great shakers for small hands in children’s choir.
    – leave the lid off and use in medicine cabinet to hold Qtips.

    I liked the idea of decorating with wasabi tape. I might add a printed label also.

  • Great ideas for re-purposing prescription bottles!!!

    I’ve used those empty pill bottles to store a days worth of prescription meds, OTC meds, vitamins, and quarters for years, hadn’t thought of using them for a mini-sewing kit or first-aid kit and certainly not for condiments or snacks.

    I’ve also used these “just-the-right-size” pill bottles to store hand lotions and homemade lip ointments inside my handbag and several places around my home, including my home office.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas with us as always.

  • Great Ideas Jillee! I have also used them to carry a mini hair kit, filled with bobby pins and hair ties. Or how about a mini baby snack container to hold cherios when you need a quick snack for your little one?

    • No way!!! Do NOT suggest people use pill bottles as a way to feed their small children when they are hungry! All that’s going to do is teach them to associate pill bottles with food as well as possibly learn to open the child-resistant cap, then one day you will have an emergency on your hands. Please use your brain.

      • I don’t think using these containers is harmful if you take a few precautions. I always decorate my containers, label them and cover the lids as well. Sometimes I will draw pictures on plain paper before it’s applies so even the kids know exactly what inside… m&m’s, gum, hair pins, etc. When it’s for the kids I use the lid so the kids are able to open it easily and when it’s holding pills… well, obviously the lids are turned over. When they are old enough (and strong enough) to get the containers open I think their brains will be able to realize that these containers are for different purposes. Use your brain and give us some credit for good parenting.

      • Very good!! We all need to use our brains, use precautions and teach our kids to avoid pill bottles that are not allowed for them.

  • Our pup has bad arthritis (just like me). We give him fish oil as per our vet. I use a recycled bottle to keep some handy where I keep his medicine. I also use a pill organizer for his fish oil and his glucosamine. If we go away on a trip, I just toss the bottle and pill organizer in our luggage and we’re good to go!

    • Hey Nancy, not sure if you’ll see this or not, but if you do or if one other person does, it will have been worth the post. I recently lost a dog to the awful side effects from being prescribed Previcox by my vet to treat my dear Sadie’s arthritis that made it difficult for her to get up. The vet never told me the side effects could be deadly, but once she was severely ill with kidney failure, I googled “previcox” and apparently thousands of dogs have died from being prescribed it, including young, healthy dogs. Sadie had been on every natural pill, oil and supplement I researched and tried for her over the last year or so, but when she suddenly got so bad she whined in pain while trying to get up and walk, in desperation, I went the extreme and prescription route for which I will be forever sorry for. I feel just awful about it and mourn again every time the facebook group I joined after Sadie’s death gets another member with a similar, sad story, which is very often (5 dogs in about 2 weeks recently). So, if you or anyone else that sees this post has a dog that gets a prescription for ‘Previcox’ or any drug for that matter, please be sure to ask your vet about any side effects and do a google search on your own just to make sure what you are giving your pet won’t kill them. My vet feigned ignorance in knowing about the horrible side effects and I’m sure will continue to prescribe it without hesitation or the disclosure, unfortunately.

      P.S. Sorry Jillee, didn’t mean to hijack your post, but I just had to share my story so hopefully it saves a furry life from such an awful end. :)

    • I know this was a while ago so you probably won’t see it but…worth a shot. Do you give your dog fish oil by pill?I have been giving our 4 legged family member Salomon oil but it’s liquid that I put on her food, she loves it! We call it her mojo juice and she reminds me if it isn’t on her evening meal. She is also on a chew that has glucosamine, msm, chondroitin (I think) and a few other natural things that make up a joint/arthritis supplement. I replaced the Previcox and Rimadyl she had been prescribed and the difference was tremendous, she does so much better on this chew (which she also like, really dislikes taking pills) shes like a new dog. Thought this might help Cheri too, I’m so sorry for your loss Cheri. Love the idea of putting the chews in a recycled script bottle Nancy, so much better than the plastic bag I have been using for travel! Thanks

      • Hello:
        Maybe I am taking this comment wrong, but your comment sounds pretty snarky. Sorry if I have misinterpreted it.

    • Our pharmacy puts the label inside the bottle so here is no stiky label to remove, they will also refill your prescription using the same bottle so there is no wasted bottles.

      • Wow, that is a progressive thinking pharmacy. Kudo’s to them, impressive. I wonder if this could catch on or if state to state the regs are different. Only drawback is you don’t have as many around for all these great uses!

  • 1. Crafting supplies like beads or sequins.

    2. Storing small stones or crystals. I use small mini crystals/stones to make crystal medicine bags and the bottles make excellent storage containers.

    3. Store dried herbs from your garden. Just be sure they are dry before storage.

    4. Use the larger bottles to store your own herbal tea blends and to share your blends with friends or family.

    • I painted little flowers to make it look pretty and I keep my USB flash drives in them so I can throw them in my computer bag and not have to scramble for them; or if I’m taking my tablet, I throw the bottle in my purse.

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