8 ‘Outside the box’ repurposing ideas for packaging

Another holiday season is upon us, which means a lot of cluttered boxes and waste from the presents we receive. That’s a whole lot of cardboard! And while you could always recycle them, there are much better ways to use all sorts of different packaging boxes.

You could repurpose them into a number of useful items, some of which you might even have to buy, so a bit of upcycling could save you money. Here are some of the most creative ideas:

Cat Scratching Post

If you recently moved you probably have a lot of cardboard boxes. That’s exactly what you need for this project to work. Flip the boxes upside down if they are printed so you get the brown side and then build a short tower. That shredded cardboard/layered card packing material can be wrapped around the outside and secured with string, helping you to avoid having to buy a ridiculously expensive scratching post.

Photography Light Box

If you’re into photography or use the pictures for your blog, having a white background can really help the items like makeup or jewellery stand out. Sure, you could buy an expensive light box, or you could simply fashion one from a packaging box. Obviously, you’ll need a large white cardboard box. Even if it’s not white, you could use white paper to cover it in white to give you the perfect background for product shots. I also find that brown cardboard works well as a background for craft DIY blog posts – and it keeps my table clean while working on messy projects too!

Plant Pots

One of the most popular repurposing choices is using old boxes to make plant or flower pots. All you need is a plastic bag (or a planter) to line the box, some embellishing or paint, and you won’t even recognise the old box. I’ve seen brown paper bags and hessian sacks used to wrap around plant pots, so maybe try this with your other leftover packaging.

Storage Containers

“That’s obvious” you might think. But I’m not suggesting simply using the raw boxes. Instead, invest a little time in decorating them with fabric or wrapping paper (or wall paper). Use old belts to fashion straps, or cover with string and you’ve got yourself fancy new storage baskets.

Weed Prevention

If you have a weed problem in your garden, cardboard is the ideal solution as it is a compostable but durable material. Simply place flat cardboard pieces over the area that tends to develop weed and water them down to keep them in place. The last of daylight will kill off the weeds underneath the cardboard. When you’re finished simply cover them with soil to hide the cardboard.

Store Your Magazines

How many cereal boxes have you thrown out recently? Why not repurpose them as magazine files instead. It’s a neat and inexpensive way to organise all your favourite subscription magazines. Just strap some decorative paper over the cut boxes and you’ve got a great storage solution for your magazines.


And finally – everyone knows that boxes are the best fun when it comes to playtime. Turn a massive box into a castle fort, or use a smaller cardboard box to turn into a TV so that your little ones can perform their own telly show. The possibilities are endless, especially when you add a child’s imagination into the mix!

Let me know if you can think of any other ideas for upcycling and reusing leftover boxes and packaging by leaving me a comment below. And when you’re finished with your projects and no longer need them – be sure to recycle the leftovers!

This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

4 Responses

  1. Thanks Becky! Oh yes, keeping hold of packaging for posting is a great way to recycle 🙂

  2. Some great ideas! We also simply re-use boxes and packaging where ever we can for posting orders & gifts out. I love the thought of them being re-used whenever possible 🙂

  3. Hahaha I love the idea of little cardboard houses for the cats to scratch on – I bet they look so cute! 🙂

  4. Covered cat trays cost a fortune and then you find your kitty hates it! I now use cardboard boxes to make covered cat trays.
    I first though make them look like little houses. No my cats couldn’t care less about their look, but they make me smile and when they get shredded they go in the compost bin and I have the fun off making new houses.
    Do something similar for my Chinchilla but no paints or glue. Crafty fun for me and fun for my furry friend discovering the new abode.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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