January 22, 2009

Green Living: Clementine Boxes

Like many of you, I hate throwing away those sturdy boxes that clementines come in. It's not often that you find products packaged in wood boxes, which seems nostalgically along the lines of tea and biscuit tins. But if you go through as many clementines in the winter as we do, these boxes can quickly overwhelm your kitchen.

We have a high chair with a shelf underneath the seat, which is great for storing bibs and cloths for wiping up messes. However, the shelf itself was starting to become a mess with fabric and dishes.
{Should have taken a "before" photo}
I was thinking of something to put under there to corral the chaos, and remembered the clementine boxes.
Although pretty in their own right, sometimes you might want to dress up a clementine box. You can paint them or decoupage them with wallpaper or scrapbook paper. I took a box and glued some striped paper onto the sides using Mod Podge, an acrylic-based glue that's great for decoupage.
To decoupage, you just spread the Mod Podge or glue on the side of the box, lay the paper down (first cut to size of course), and then put a layer of glue/Mod Podge over the paper. This creates a smooth surface that is somewhat protected, unlike plain paper.

Because the box has some large staples on the side that hold it together, I had to cut some slits at those spots so the paper didn't bubble up. Then you just smooth those areas down when your gluing. Mod Podge takes very little time to dry, so I had my box in place within the hour.
Much better!

Here are some other ideas to reuse your boxes

1. Use them for all kinds of storage throughout the house (duh!). An entire shelf of these painted or decoupaged in coordinating colors would look great. They stack nicely too.
2.. Make a window sill herb garden by lining the box with plastic and sitting some small pots inside the box. Tie some twine or garden-esque ribbon around the box for decoration. There's a nice photo here. You could also just add dirt to the box itself and plant some things.
3. After decorated, use it as a shadow box on your wall or for a classroom project like a diorama.
4. Use it for packaging a gift, like a kitchen gift box with a dish towel, a bottle of wine, or some cookies.
5. Turn it into a doll bed by adding a cushion and a tiny blanket. Or just a cushion for a cat bed (my cat is too fat for this).
6. Use it in the pantry to hold sticky and messy things like oil, honey, and syrup so that the bottom of the shelf doesn't get yucky.
7. Fill it with deer moss or real wheat grass and use it as a centerpiece for Easter. You could nestle eggs in it too.
8. You could fancy-up one of these and store extra toilet paper in it, either on the bathroom floor or on the back of the toilet.

Feel free to add some of your own ideas in the comments. I'd love to hear them.


  1. Great ideas! Anytime I've gotten clementines it's been in a cardboard case :( Hmmph!

    Along the same lines, I've reused & covered cereal boxes as magazine folders. Actually I keep printed out recipes in them. What else, OH! Since Mat goes through so much honey, I save the bottles and use them as soap dispensers in our bathrooms. And I fill them with Dial so it looks like honey ;) I've stumped a few guests before.

  2. Such a nice idea, and a great alternative to a bunch of plastic bins!

  3. Corraling the chaos. Priceless! And what a nifty, thrifty idea, too!!

  4. Ooo! Love these ideas. I especially like the idea of using it to help organize the pantry. We don't go through as many clementines as you guys do, but I might start buying more just for the boxes!

  5. i like how you prettied it up:) i have one in my fridge and one in my pantry holding odds and ends.

  6. That is SO creative! Of course I'd never actually DO it, but I love the idea. :-)

  7. I do like your creative tips. Now I know what I will be working on for storage, thanks.

  8. That's a wonderful idea - love the paper you used.

  9. Like Erin, our clementines usually come in a cardboard box. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think I even bought any clementines this year. If I ever get some that come in a wooden box, I will definitely keep it around for something useful! Thanks for the Thrifty Green Thursday tip!

  10. I absolutely love the aesthetic creativity you bring to green frugality! My husband adores clementines so we go through them at a crazy rate in the winter and did have at least one wooden box this year that's now sitting in my garage. Now I'll have a little project to plan! Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

  11. Look at you and all of your awesome giveaways so fun!!


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