Thrifty Uses for Margarine Tubs

Butter or margarine gone? Here are clever uses for their empty containers.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Corral those odds and ends
Loose thumbtacks in every room? Odd bolts and nails in a broken cup? Stray superball under the couch? These are just some of the items waiting to be organized into your extra plastic margarine tubs. Get your board game going faster and easier by storing the loose pieces in a tub until the next time. You’ve sorted out all the sky pieces for a puzzle, so keep them separate and safe in their own tub. With or without their lids, a few clean margarine tubs can do wonders for a junk drawer in need of organization.

Make a baby footprint paperweight
Make an enduring impression of your baby’s foot, using quick-drying modeling clay — which comes in lots of great colors. Put enough clay in a margarine tub to hold a good impression. Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on baby’s foot and press it firmly into the clay. Let the clay dry as directed, then flex the tub away from the edges until the clay comes free. Years from now you’ll be able to show Johnny that his size 13s were once smaller than the palm of your hand! You can also preserve your pet’s paw print the same way.

Use as a paint container
Want to touch up the little spots here and there in the living room, but don’t want to lug around a gallon of paint? Pour a little paint into a margarine tub to carry as you make your inspection. Hold it in a nest of paper towels to catch any possible drips. The tubs with lids are also perfect for storing that little bit of leftover paint for future touch-ups.

Make frugal freezer storage
Reuse your clean, sturdy margarine and other plastic containers for freezing measured portions of soups and stocks, and to break up leftovers into single servings. A 2-pound (1 kilogram) container, for example, stores the perfect amount of sauce for 1 pound (.5 kilogram) of pasta. Hint: Before freezing, let the food cool just enough to reduce condensation.

Give kids some lunch box variety
As a break from the usual sandwich, put some fruit salad, rice mix, or other interesting fare in one or two recycled margarine tubs for your child’s lunch. The tubs are easy to open and will keep the food from getting crushed.

Bring fast food for baby
Need to bring your home cooking for Junior on the road? Use a disposable margarine tub for a container that won’t break in your baby bag. It’s also a handy food bowl, and you won’t have to wrap it up and bring it home for cleaning.

Make a piggy bank
Use a tall tub as a homemade bank for your little one. Cut out a piece of paper that will fit wrapped around the side, tape it in place and encourage him or her to decorate it with flair. Cut a slit in the top, and start saving!

Travel light with your pet
Lightweight, disposable margarine tubs make the perfect pet food containers and double as food and water bowls. And those valuable dog cookies won’t get crushed if you put them in a plastic tub. If your pet is vacationing at a friend’s house, make things a little easier for the caregiver by putting one serving in each container, to be used and discarded as needed.

Create thrifty seed starters
Starting your seeds indoors is supposed to save you money, so don’t spend your savings on lots of big seed trays. Take a margarine tub, poke a few holes in the bottom, add moistened seed-starting mix, and sow your seeds following packet instructions. Use permanent marker on the side of the tub to help you remember what you’ve sown, and use the tub’s lid as a drip saucer. Small tubs are space savers as well, especially if you want to start only one or two of each type of plant.