using Altoid tins to organize drawers

talley_sue_nycMarch 14, 2012

Found this one on another organizing forum on a website that a friend of mine is an editor for

Cool, huh? I'm considering it for my junk drawer--if the Altoids tins aren't too tall. I love that theyre standing on their sides.

I may look into some other sorts of containers, maybe even some from container-type places .

This guy used a different candy container.

I keep the bits for the electric screwdriver in a candy container of a similar shape. (Mentos gum, maybe?) But it's a little too tall to stand up in the drawer. I might switch to a metal container so it'll stick to the magnet I want to put the tools on. (Since the electric screwdriver isn't metal, I may need to figure something out. Maybe a piece of PVC pipe that's caulked to the wall . . .

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yes, the altoid thing IS cool!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:30AM
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Love that! Now, how many Altoids tins have I thrown out?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Altoids tins and plain tins are available on Ebay!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:40AM
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OMG, I just opened my desk drawer and found that I have been using tins too--not to this extent but for several of the same things.

Thanks for validating my effective use of tins.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Cool! I could not picture it, so thank you for the link. We don't buy mints, but I might be able to get the tins from other people. I love the way it looks so organized!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I like that these are on their sides. Like a filing system, almost.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:35PM
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So I have decided that this guy is a genius, as is mustangs.
(or maybe it's the designers of the Altoid tins that are the geniuses)

I'm cleaning out my 3 junk drawers, and I tried out the Altoid tin I've got on all sorts of things. And guess what--it's EXACTLY THE RIGHT SIZE!!

It fits all the packets of Camelback cleaning solution.

The little rubber tips for the dishwasher tines that I'm keeping in case I need them fit perfectly, without anything to spare (but also no stress)

The shoelaces might be a bit much for it, but I might use that to help me limit the number I have! (for them I really want a double-height Altoid tin)

I'm going to put the Quake Hold in there--but to make it fit, I'll cut it into pieces and stack them. And they'll fit perfectly.

I bit on some on eBay, which may turn out to be a mistake (oh, well). Because maybe I don't really need THAT many (though I love the idea of using them in another place as well)

If I don't win, I'll just go buy about 5 tins of Altoids, and dump the mints into a bowl on my desk at work.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I've been using Altoids tins in my sewing notions drawer for years. Perfect for sewing machine and hand sewing needles, odd-size pins, bobbins and Q-tips for cleaning out under the bobbin area. So nice that they are all the same size.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:54AM
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Here's another cool thing. By standing them on their edge, you take things that can't stack, and FORCE them to stack in a tall, narrow space.

In my case, all the way to the *top* of the drawer!

For example: I have several of these little packets

And they now fit in a space that's 2.5 inches tall and 3/4 inches wide! Because of the tins.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Ask your friends and co-workers for the tins. Usually there is an Altoids addict in the group.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:11PM
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These tins have the drawback that it is fussy to put things into them. I find I put things away more readily if it is easy to do so. If it needs two hands and some time, I tend not to do it. Lazy! But knowing that saves me trying systems that are not going to get used.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 7:57PM
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That's a good point, Karin1.

In fact, that's one of the organizing principles I firmly believe--make it easy to put away, even if it means it's a little harder to get it out.

But I also know that the stuff I put in the tins in my junk drawer is stuff I'd get out for a specific reason, and I'd just pull the tin out, carry it to where I want to use it, flip the lid open, and set it down gaping open. Then I can put stuff back in pretty easily.

It's also a little bit of fun for me, to "file" the Altoid tin, so I think that's an appeal.

And right now, the stuff that's in them is stuff that I wouldn't randomly, suddenly want to *add* to. I'm not going to suddenly go buy more quake wax or poster putty. (paper clips and rubber bands might be the kind of thing that you find yourself wanting to 'put with the others,' though--and I'm going to keep your point in mind when I finally tackle the office drawers)

Right now they're holding:

quake wax / poster putty / poster sticky squares
superglue tubes (the little ones)
Dishwasher tine tips
those Camelback cleaning tablets above
trash-can bands
wobble wedges / plastic "washers" for glass countertops
upholstery screw tacks
tiny matches (though every now and then, I wonder why I have so many of these--especially given that I now use the long Zippo lighter--and these probably should be easier to get to)

None of those are things I'm likely to add to. I'll only take things out to use them.

And only the trash-can bands are at all fiddly to put in there. And they won't go in and out--these are only the spares in case the ones in use get lost.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 7:49AM
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I found another tin I can use!

The cool thing about the Altoid tins is that they are all the same shape & size. (would be true of any standardized container, of course)

But my husband buys Starbucks mints that come in a very FLAT tin, and it's the same height and width as an Altoid tin. Not exactly, but off by only a tiny bit. So it'll stand on its edge in the exact same space.

It's only about 1/4" deep, so not much would fit in there, but it could be useful for the right thing!

Of course, right now it won't fit at all. As you can see from the pic, the matchbox fits snugly in the space that's left. But I'm holding onto it, just in case.

(got to be sure I don't end up w/ "container clutter," of course--especially since I discovered that a freelancer we often use eats Altoids a lot and has agreed to give me his tins--which I will try to put to use in the nails-and-screws box downstairs, I think. Though I sort of like the clear containers that are in there now)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 9:06AM
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here's the Altoid-tins drawer, finished--see how the matchbox fits behind the tins? if I want to add a tin, even that thin one, I'll need to shift things around.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I've got a lot of mints to consume but I'm working on it!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:22PM
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LOL, mustangs!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:36PM
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If you want a whole bunch and don't eat the mints yourself (or have anyone around you who does) , you can buy plain ones for a lot less. 79 cents or so, but then of couse there's shipping.

Lots of companies sell them.

Here is a link that might be useful: hinged rectangular tins

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:33PM
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Cool! And I like that they are sans the Altoids logo.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:45PM
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I'm slapping my head here in a major "DUH!" moment -- I've been using my Altoids tins to store small things in the junk drawer for quite some time, but I was stacking them flat and shuffling through the stacks to get to the items .... I am ashamed to say it never occurred to me to stand them on their sides. Simple and brilliant! Off I go for the label maker. Thank you tally sue!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:17PM
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You're welcome!

Isn't it funny how we make certain assumptions about how things should work, and just never challenge it?

I've taken to folding pieces of paper facing out, so I don't have to unfold them to figure out what they are. It was SO counterintuitive to me, to fold them that way. But it's SO helpful.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:15PM
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natebear zone 10B

FYI- Yesterday, I saw tin containers with a Spam label in the $1 section at Target. They seemed slightly larger than the Altoids tin.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Now I want Altoids to make a larger tin--same dimensions around, but twice as tall!! Not because I want the Altoids, but because I want to use them for organizing!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 6:56PM
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