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Chances are good your closet is full of empty shoeboxes. Instead of tossing them, use these tips to repurpose them into something you can actually use.

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After a day full of shoe shopping for the whole family, the shoeboxes likely end up either stuffed in the back of a closet or in the recycle pile. While recycling makes sense in some cases, consider repurposing that mountain of shoeboxes for everyday uses around the home.

Easy Organization

The most obvious repurposing of a shoebox is to cover it in scrapbook paper or fabric and use it as a storage box. They can be used for filing systems in the office, magazine storage components in the living room, or for supplies in your craft area.

Speaking of crafts, a shoebox makes a great way to organize ribbon spools. Using large craft rivets, create holes in one side of the shoebox, feed the ribbon through each hole and store the spools in the box. Or you can make the holes larger and turn the shoebox into a charging station, hiding the unsightly extension cord and cables.

Use the bottoms of shoeboxes as drawer organizers in a dresser. You can also use them in conjunction with toilet paper rolls to organize your desk supplies. “Do you have kids at home?” asks a writer at So Creative Things.  “So you know they love all craft materials related to art: pencils, pens, scissors, glue, crayons, brushes… One way to organize them is using a shoebox and lots of toilet paper rolls. Place the rolls inside the box and use each one to place the craft materials.”

And if you’re looking for a way to organize and display some cool knickknacks or collectibles, turn your shoeboxes into shadow boxes for the wall. The tutorial recommends you stick with displaying lightweight items. We also recommend strengthening the shoebox by adding upholstery fabric to the outside. This will provide a decorative look, as well as giving the box added structural integrity.

Inexpensive Toys

There are so many toys out there that your child would love to have, but so often they aren’t in the budget. Shoeboxes are a great way to create awesome, lifetime memories of imaginative play. Try these suggestions:

  • Mini City – Paint the outsides of the boxes to look like a variety of houses and businesses you’d find in a city. Make your child part of the creation process and get his or her input on what he or she would like to see in the city. As a bonus, the “buildings” double as storage for small toys.
  • Guitar – “They might prefer the guitar-related video games but who knows, they might actually enjoy playing with your shoe box guitar, too,” reads a post on AllWomenStalk.
  • Dollhouse –You can spend more on the miniatures to fill the rooms when you use shoeboxes to build a multi-level dollhouse for your little one. Stack the shoeboxes on their sides, creating rooms inside. The outside of the shoeboxes can be the outside of the dollhouse too. Cut out doors and windows or simply draw them on. Attach the shoeboxes for a fixed structure, or keep them apart to allow your child to create a different house each time.

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Spoof Up the Holidays

Of course, you can always wrap gifts in shoeboxes rather than purchase more boxes at the store. “Shoeboxes are sturdy and compact, and thus they’re perfect for packing up homemade gifts—especially gifts of the delicate-baked-goods variety,” explains the Care2.com website. “A standard box is the perfect size for a typical batch of cookies!” The wrapping possibilities are endless for Christmas and birthdays, and you can use the boxes over and over again.

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Or you can really get creative and turn your shoeboxes into Easter baskets this spring. “This could be a fun pre-Easter egg hunt activity for older kids and mommies that want to join in the fun,” says Xiomara Roman on her blog A Styled Fete.  “With a little help, younger ones could glue pieces of the crepe paper to their shoe boxes and make their own baskets as well.”

There are certainly a number of ways you can turn your shoeboxes into something useful. What have you done to repurpose an old shoebox? Share in the comments below.

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