Giving an Old Popcorn Tin a New Purpose

December 21, 2011 One comment View all articles in Re-Use-It

If you are like millions of other Americans you probably have at least one giant popcorn tin waiting for you under the Christmas tree. While popping open the tin at the end of Christmas Dinner for a late-evening snack is both tasty and rewarding, finding something to do with that giant empty container afterwards is even better. This holiday, rather than throwing the popcorn tin in the recycling bin after New Year's Eve, (or heaven forbid putting it in the trash) why not re-purpose it and put it to use around the house?


  • Store your cat or dog-food : Plenty of little critters like mice, rats, and insects love to chew through those pet food bags and make a snack out of Fluffy's dinner. Combat the pests by storing the food in the popcorn tin. Not only will the tin keep everything dry and fresh, but the strong aluminum will keep out even the most tenacious rodents and bugs.
  • Find a new home for your houseplants : Lots of us have houseplants in need of a bigger home. Help your plants out by replanting them in your popcorn tin. Simply poke two or three holes in the bottom of the tin with a nail for drainage, place the tin on a platter or metal lid, fill the tin with potting soil, than place your plant in its new home.
  • Organize the toys: Anyone with kids knows how quickly their bedroom can go from perfectly organized to a major disaster. Combat the chaos and use your popcorn tin as a handy toy-box for smaller dolls, miniatures, action figures, cars, blocks, and even Legos.
  • Create a quick-fix for smokers: Have friends or family members who smoke? Find a place for them to throw their cigarette butts while keeping your sidewalk and lawn free of litter. Simply fill the tin about ¾ full of sand and place it anywhere smokers tend to congregate. When you need to empty out the trash, filter the sand through a sieve or metal colander into another bucket.
  • Tidy up the mess around the entertainment center: Anyone with gamers knows the frustration of finding controllers, cords, games, and remotes scattered in and around the television. To keep the games (and the games) organized, first clean out the popcorn tin with a damp cloth and wipe it down with an alcohol wipe. Next, stack all games and game cases on the bottom of the tin with all controllers and miscellaneous cords on the top. Pop the lid on the top and achieve instant clean (and perhaps even a little nerd cred.)
  • Keep those keepsakes safe: With the help of the kids or grandkids, paint the outside of the tin and glue on their picture. Any artwork or report card worth keeping can go inside the tin. Storing the tin up on the shelf in a cool, dry place will help to preserve those keepsakes while at the same time giving everyone something to cherish and enjoy later on.
  • Store sand or salt for the winter months: Frozen and slippery sidewalks are a pain for all homeowners. Battle the elements by keeping sidewalk sand or de-icer stored in the popcorn tin on the corner of the porch. Drop in an old laundry-detergent scoop and enjoy an ice-free winter.
  • Organize your bulk food: Sometimes those big bags of cereal, rice, or oatmeal can be hard to store in the kitchen. Empty out your bulk-food packages into a popcorn tin to preserve their freshness. Try storing bulk flour, sugar, and other baking goods in a tin as well. Lining your tin with a clear plastic bag will keep out both moisture as well as unwanted bugs and other pests.
  • Trash Can: Do you need an extra trash can in a child's bedroom or maybe at work? Don't purchase a new one at the store; just draft your popcorn tin to a new purpose.


Tina on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.

Great ideas! Thank you!

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