31 Uses for Coffee Cans, Baby Formula Cans, or Other Containers

My husband and I drink a lot of coffee and we always end up with empty coffee containers. We also use formula now with my almost four month old and we end up with empty formula cans. I am not a fan of throwing these away, so I went on to my Frugal Free Gal Facebook Page and asked my fans what they did with empty coffee cans or other containers. I was amazed at the response, so I wanted to share them here. Here are their responses:

(***Warning: Some containers may have sharp edges. I do not recommend using any cans that could be dangerous. Also, do not pour hot grease in plastic containers. Make sure grease has cooled down before adding it to any container.)

  1. My hubby uses coffee cans out in the garage to store nails, screws, etc.  -Delois
  2. To organize the tools in the garage, cut holes in the bottom of the coffee cans to make a week long watering system for your plants, organize crafts (buttons, string, thread) -Trish
  3. Pencil holders, kitchen tools, garage gadgets, make candles in, stored on their side for fabric, yarn or electronics (cords), Legos, small toys, trash collection in the car -Darcy
  4. I use the plastic Folger coffee cans to throw vegetable scraps, onion peels, coffee grounds etc in. Once a day I empty it onto the compost pile in the back yard. We also use them to start seedlings for the garden. -Leeann
  5. Pens, coins, makeup, small gift containers -Lucy
  6. I’m container gardening this year and plan to use my coffee cans for peppers. -Robyn
  7. Teacher appreciation gifts! -Leslee
  8. Lay them on their sides, cover with mac tac, cover with fabric, decoupage and glue together to make a pyramid…ta da… great looking storage! -Vanessa
  9. I have my kids re-use them for crafts as often as I can, but they can only go so far. So far we made road trip bins with the tall cans of formula. (Example: Filled w/a few action figures, matchbox cars, non perishable snacks, a hand held game of some sort, maybe some pictures etc.) Just enough to fit in the can and take on long trips full of stuff that’s still a novelty. I also had them put wrapping paper on some and decorate them and make piggy banks or jewelry boxes for their grandmas, etc. -Chandelle
  10. I finally found a use for the empty Ovaltine containers, my husband brews beer so he keeps different colored caps in each one.  I saw something for using Pringles containers and Oatmeal containers to give cookies or baked items during the holidays. Wrap with scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, use ribbon, etc. We don’t use coffee cans anymore but I hated throwing those out when we did. Those might work good for giving baked goods during the holidays wrapped in scrapbook paper or wrapping paper. -Tasha
  11. My hubby uses them to sort parts in the garage. -Candice
  12. I am covering some with cute paper and using them as utensil holders and putting balloon weights in them to use as centerpieces at a up coming party. Or have the kiddos decorate them and make banks out of them! -Livy
  13. Make mini first aid kits. -Heather
  14. Kids toys. -Danielle
  15. We have used coffee cans to transport dry dog food camping. Any cans you can slap some cute paper on can become a pencil holder. Or noise maker for kids if you have a lid and put some rice in it. -Nik
  16. I get the plastic coffee cans and recycle them. If metal, I use them for grease. -Rita
  17. I use ours for my makeup in the bathroom. -Jennifer
  18. We glue or tape a decorated piece of construction paper, fill them up with goodies (depending on the holiday) and give them out as presents. People love they can re-use it afterwards for office supplies, etc. And they have a keepsake of my children’s handwriting/drawing skills as they progress. -Jennafer
  19. Paint the cans and attach sturdy wire to make a handle, even curl the wire to make it more decorative and use it for valentines or Easter for holding candy. Use them for birthday parties to hold their treasures like a goody bag or for a candy toss–get the kids to decorated it with pieces of cloth, paint etc. The craft possibilities are endless. -Rachelle
  20. We use coffee cans to put used cooking oil in. -Shelli
  21. I put holes in the bottom of the Folgers buckets and use them for planters. If you “rough up” the outside, you can spray paint them and make them look nice. -Jennifer
  22. Paint them and put hair bows/rubber bands. they could also be used to hold the remotes. -Tammy
  23. In my storage dry room I have rows of coffee cans filled with different beans, rice, and noodles. I use them in the garden for my young tomato and pepper plants to keep earwigs and cutworms away–as the tomato or pepper grows, I add more soil. This gives it a stronger root system and nothing is touching the ground to get spoiled. I also save them for camping. -Dianna
  24. I use formula cans as my vase and I make a bouquet of baby stuff for baby showers. They look really cute! -Angie
  25. I use them for old cooking oil. -Kelly
  26. You could donate them to a preschool or save for VBS! -Janet
  27. Spray paint or decorate them with construction paper, wall paper, etc. -Angela
  28. Check with your children’s ministry leader at your church.  They might be able to use them for VBS. -Lesa
  29. My parents use coffee cans for fat oils and freeze it. -Alison
  30. I use the formula tub for chalk outside so it stays dry when it rains. -Margaret
  31. I use formula containers for small toys or to keep toy sets together. -Jennifer

So, before you throw away those empty containers, think of a way in which you can reuse or recycle them!

If you’d like to add your own idea, please leave a comment in this post!

Thank you to the fans that contributed ideas for this post.

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  1. Mary in Tecumseh, MI says

    My former neighbor would make toilet paper holders with the large metal coffee cans (though I’m sure you could also use the cardboard cans too).

    She’d use 3 cans, cut the bottom from 2 of the cans, save one bottom for making the top. She’d use a hot glue gun and duct tape to attach the cans on top of each other. Glue then quickly tape over glue. Once you have your cylinder made, cover in material tucking excess inside opening down a few inches and glue/tape that down. Then she’d use the save bottom to make her top. She’d cover in the same material as the body and put something on top that could have been anything from an actual knob to a stuffed animal. She’d also decorate the body with fake flowers, shells, beads, etc.

  2. Kaity says

    I use the big plastic similac formula containers to store different cords and chargers. Example one has all iPhone/ iPad chargers.

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