When you end up with lots and lots of different pill bottles, you might be tempted to just throw them out. But how about recycling and reusing them instead? When painted or decorated, they can make cute little containers that actually come in handy for holding a variety of everyday things! Their small size makes them extremely portable, and the way the lids seal make them practically waterproof! From traveling to backpacking to camping to storage, here are:

17 Creative Ways to Reuse Prescription Pill Bottles

Jewelry Holder

Store earings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, or any other item of jewelry to keep them from getting lost or tangled up in your luggage. You’ll have them all in one place in a secure container.

Travel Containers

Just squeeze your regular shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or any other item you need travel-sized into a pill bottle. I’m using one for backpacking that contains my contact lens case, q-tips, and mini toothpaste, and another small bottle for sunscreen. I wouldn’t recommend this tip for longer trips, but for a couple of days you should be good to go.

Mini Survival Kit

This is a great idea if your a backpacker. It’s great for day-hiking, and can actually help you in the event that you have a mini emergency. See the instructions here.


This one is brilliant! Hot glue the pill cap to the underside of a rock, load the bottle with your key and attach. Then dig a small hole in the ground to stash the bottle. It’ll look just like a rock sitting in your yard! Go here to learn how to make one.

Purse Trash Storage

Pill bottles are lightweight, and can make a great emergency trash container that’ll keep your purse clutter free!

Waterproof Valuables

You could hot-glue a lanyard to the top of the bottle and use it to store keys or cash when you’re somewhere you need those items waterproof, such as a white water rafting trip (which my family and I are planning on this summer!). I’d recommend painting the bottle first if your going to carry cash, though – you don’t want to really advertise that you’re carrying that stuff around.

Fire Starter Kit

If your backpacking, camping, hiking, whatever – this is a lightweight, compact way to carry emergency fire starters! Get some cotton balls, smear them with Vaseline, and use the pill bottle to store the cotton balls. The pill bottle with keep them waterproof until you need them!

Hold Pain Relievers

Use a pill bottle to store extra pain relievers, heartburn medication, vitamins, etc.

Store Your Odds and Ends

Push pins, bobby pins, sewing needles, tacks, hairbands, rubber bands, buttons, beads, paperclips, cake piping tips…need I go on?

Souvenir Keepers

My grandmother liked to collect sand from places she’d been. Pill bottles would make great temporary souvenir storage until you can get your sand, shells, flower petals, etc back home and really put them on display.

Seed Storage

Seed packages are great, but once open you need to do something with them. The packaging doesn’t last forever, and rodents are capable of eating through your seed packs. If you store them in pill bottles, they’re both water and rodent proof!

Coral Loose Change

If you’re collecting loose change in every nick and cranny of your car, then use a pill bottle to gather all that change into one place. Keep one for quarters so that when you’re downtown, you always have change for the meters.

Mini First Aid Kit

I’ve actually put one together for a three-day hiking trip this weekend! I liked the fact that I was able to get a number of items into one of my bottles: several band aids, alcohol wipes, tweezers, moleskin, etc. It’s still small enough that I can actually fit it inside my purse.

Wet Napkins

We’re in the season of picnics. If you’re carrying loads of gear for cooking, not to mention food, cut down on the weight a little by making your own wet napkin container.

Emergency Fishing Gear

Duct tape fishing wire to the outside of the bottle and wrap a good length of it around the bottle. Secure under the tape. Inside, add small lures weights, hooks, and if you have room a small bobber. In the event you need to use it, you could also put a small hole in the cap with a nail and tie the wire in such a way that the cap becomes the bobber. You can find the basic design on Instructables.

Travel Sauce/Condiments

I like having travel sized (aka: “taco sauce, ketsup, mustard, mayonaise, stolen from fast-food restaurants”) with me when I’m camping or hiking. I also like to take my own sweetener to restaurants. Pill bottle storage does the trick!

“Night-Out” Kit

If you’re going to do this one, PLEASE paint it first and make it cute! Depending on the size, you could hold a lipstick, false lashes and glue, chapstick, a one-time-use mini toothbrush (think Colgate wisps), mascara (if it’s a tall bottle), or anything else you can fit in the bottle if you need to get ready on the fly.

That’s all the ideas I have! What else would you recommend?

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1 Comment

Karen Ching · July 11, 2018 at 2:48 am

This is why I don’t throw away my pill bottles right away. I always find them useful whenever I travel! They’re very handy and very helpful in containing beauty products that take too much space in their own container. Anyways, thanks for sharing this! I didn’t know there are a LOT more ways we could reuse these pill bottles 🙂 Cheers to you, Jennifer! 🙂
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