Clever Ways To Upcycle Empty Tissue Boxes Around Your House

Having tissues around the house is just as essential as providing access to other paper products like toilet paper or paper towels, but the simple fact that they come in a box rather than wrapped around a cardboard tube makes them a less commonly discussed candidate for creative DIY projects. According to data from Kleenex (via the New York Times), the average American home has four boxes of facial tissues sitting around at any given time, and these boxes are replaced about eight times a year. The result is a substantial collection of tissue boxes that are just itching to be transformed into something functional instead of being broken down and thrown right into the trash or recycling bin once they run empty.

Luckily, the internet is a creative place, so there are plenty of ideas floating around that can help you cut down on your household's waste. With some of these hacks, you could even save some money by making products on your own instead of buying them already made from the store. With a dose of creativity, some clever cuts, and just a little bit of time, you'll be able to transform your existing tissue boxes into organizational solutions, décor pieces, and even gardening gadgets. Most of these ideas don't even require the purchase of additional materials, so you can get ready to craft right away!

Holding yarn

Knitting and crocheting are great hobbies if you enjoy being able to do something with your hands throughout the day without much thought, but this peace can quickly be interrupted by a rogue yarn ball rolling away. Many people invest in yarn bowls that have a small hole or hook on one side that keep the yarn ball in one place while still allowing it to rotate as you continue your project, but a tissue box can do the same job. Simply pop in your ball of yarn and either pull your working strand through the top or feed it through a hole you created on the side.

Drawer organizers

Drawer organizers are fairly easy to come by when you're shopping around, but if you don't want to spend the money on something so simple, try making your own out of tissue boxes. Cut off the top of the tissue box to fit the depth of your drawer and leave it at that, or cut your newly minted organizer in two to create one that can be adjusted by width or length. If you try this hack for yourself, however, just make sure you're using it somewhere that will stay fairly clean and dry — the thin cardboard used to make tissue boxes will quickly deteriorate with water.

Toilet paper holder

Having some extra toilet paper rolls in your bathroom is essential, but simply stacking them up on the back of your toilet can be a bit of an eyesore. Luckily, there's another paper product that can easily solve this issue. The average tissue box is about the same size as one or two toilet paper rolls (depending on whether you prefer square or rectangular boxes) so, when the top is cut off, they can make for an easy organizer. Glue several square boxes together for a larger organizer or stick to just one rectangular one if you only need a couple of spare rolls on hand.

Store plastic bags

Opting for reusable grocery bags when shopping is definitely the most eco-friendly option, but if you forget them on your trip, reusing the plastic bags you receive can still help to cut back on your negative environmental impact. To create a more streamlined storage solution than the typical bags-within-a-bag method, consider securing an empty tissue box to the inside of your cabinet with double-sided tape or command strips. Fill it with the clean plastic bags you've collected, then, when you want to use one, simply pull it out of the top of the box like you would if it were a tissue.

Mini trash can

It's easy to go through a whole collection of tissues when you're sick, but getting up to throw them away each and every time you blow your nose isn't ideal if you're feeling under the weather. Instead, once you empty a tissue box, use it as a makeshift trash can. This can also be helpful if you're working on a crafting project that creates a lot of waste if you don't have a trashcan by your desk or if you want to give your child a cleanup task that will ensure they stay focused. After it's full, simply throw the whole thing away in your regular trashcan.

Seed starting station

Growing plants from seed is often more rewarding and less expensive than buying already-established plants, but it also requires more effort. Luckily, there are plenty of seed-starting hacks that will make this process simpler. For an easy way to make your own mini greenhouse, consider using an old rectangular tissue box. Cut the top off, fill with pre-moistened soil, and cover with plastic wrap to trap in humidity. If the box isn't lined with plastic or paint that won't break down over time, it's also safe to plant it directly into the ground, though it's best to do some research on what materials you're working with.

DIY gift tags

Tissue boxes typically come covered in pretty designs and colors, so they're not an eyesore when they're sitting out around the house, so why not use this decoration to your advantage? Break down your empty tissue boxes until they're easier to handle, then cut out small shapes — squares, circles, hearts, flowers — from the sections of material without writing. Use a hole punch to make these shapes functional gift tags, then use the plain cardboard side to address your presents. The pattern will add a fun pop of color to your gifts, and the durable but thin cardboard will ensure the tags hold up with handling.

Collect dryer lint

Cleaning out your dryer lint each cycle is essential if you want to avoid a potential fire hazard, but it can get a bit annoying to do when you're in the middle of doing laundry and don't have a trash can accessible nearby. Instead, simply keep an empty tissue box next to your detergent to act as a convenient collection point. The plastic on the top of the tissue box will ensure that none of the lint clings to your hand or flies around with the slightest amount of air, and you can repurpose the lint to make your own fire starters once you collect enough.

Gift boxes

If you need a last-minute gift box, try using an empty tissue box. You can leave it as-is and simply wrap it if you're not worried about your recipient knowing that it's a tissue box, or you can cut the top off and tape up the hole to create a more traditional base and lid situation. If you're looking for a way to spruce up your holiday or birthday décor, festively wrapping an empty tissue box can also make for a very convincing faux present decoration. Place them on the table as a centerpiece, or fill with a couple of rocks to act as a balloon weight.


Tissue boxes are typically made of fairly thin but durable cardboard with fun patterns and prints, so if you have a box that you find particularly pretty, consider cutting it into a bookmark for you or your kids. Regular cardboard is a bit too thick for this purpose and typical printer paper can be too flimsy and easily tear or crease, but the material tissue boxes are made of presents the perfect middle ground between these two extremes. Cut it into whatever shape your heart desires, then punch a hole and add a color-coordinated ribbon if you want to ensure you don't lose your bookmark between the pages.

Dispense dryer sheets

Most dryer sheets already come in fairly functional boxes, but if you're on a mission to organize your laundry room, putting them in an empty tissue box instead can help cut down on visual clutter and create a more minimalistic look overall. Choose a tissue box pattern that fits with your aesthetic, or get crafty with some paint, wrapping paper, ribbon, or twine to create one that blends in with its surroundings. After filling up the box, it should function in the same way it did when it was used to dispense tissues, so you'll have an easy time grabbing a dryer sheet while doing laundry.

Car trash can

Finding a convenient place for a trash can in the car can be difficult, especially if you drive a sedan, but a tissue box can present a solution that stays out of the way and off the floor. Next time you have an empty tissue box on hand, cut two slits across from each other on the sides of the box by the bottom. Thread a piece of elastic, ribbon, or twine through, then tie it around your passenger seat headrest, facing towards the back. You'll be able to stuff trash inside the box instead of allowing it to accumulate on the floor or in a cup holder.

Faux greenery centerpiece

Adding a centerpiece to your table setup is a great way to accessorize the space and add some interest for a special occasion, but they can get unnecessarily expensive for something that doesn't serve much of a real purpose. Instead, try your hand at making your own. Cut the top off of a rectangular tissue box, then get to work covering the sides with your material of choice — paper, paint, or decorative tape, for example. Add a block of floral foam in the middle, then place some faux flowers or plants throughout to create your very own tabletop planter decoration.

Craft station organizer

No matter your crafty hobby of choice, it's easy to find yourself struggling to organize a wealth of different materials in one space. Luckily, there's a solution that allows you to combine two objects that would otherwise go to waste into one helpful organizer. Grab a tissue box, cut the top off, and collect some used toilet paper rolls. Glue the bottoms of the toilet paper rolls to the inside of the tissue box to essentially create cups that can hold things like pens, paintbrushes, and scissors. Decorate as you please, then display the organizer on your crafting desk for easy access to your tools.