Got a lot of type 1 diabetes waste building up? Not all of it has to go in the trash—here are a handful of clever ways D-parents and people with diabetes have found to reuse and repurpose test strip containers after the goods are gone.

  1. So Easy Sewing Kit

A test strip container is just the right size for a few needles, a small spool of thread, tiny sewing scissors, pins, and safety pins. Throw it in your glove compartment or bag and be ready the next time something rips or tears when you’re on the go.

  1. Geocache Container

Geocaching can be a fun family hobby that gets kids outdoors and active. Want to play along? Repurpose strip containers as mini geocaches, seeded with a few tiny trinkets or a find log. Hide the cache in a secret place, log the location on, and wait to see who discovers it!

  1. Crafty Gifts

“My son is almost 11 and we are not crafty at all—but my neighbors are! That’s why we give all our test strip containers to a precious 8-year-old girl who uses them to store the tiny beads she uses to make personalized bracelets.”

—Dena P., mom of Reid and blogger at

  1. Cat Toy

To give your cat a thrill, put some jingle bells inside the canister and watch as he bats it across the floor. For added excitement, add some catnip in there too! Cats’ sense of smell is strong enough to detect the enticing aroma through the sealed lid.

  1. Candy Stash

“We have used cleaned-out vials for quick-acting carbs. We remove the labels, clean them out, and fill them with tiny candies so that Caleb has a handy carb fix ready when he needs it.”

—Lorraine, mom of 12-year-old Caleb and blogger at

  1. Dollhouse Furniture

You know what Barbie® could really use in her kitchen? A sleek, canister-style garbage can! Scrub labels off the container and decorate with small stickers.

  1. Tiny-Item Storage

Where to store that broken beaded necklace until you can get it fixed? Strip containers are handy for storing small items that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle. Simply scrub off the label and replace with a new label naming the item(s) within.

  1. Tooth Fairy Container

Make it easier for the Tooth Fairy to do her job: The next time your child loses a tooth, help him or her decorate an empty test strip container with stickers, glitter, and glued-on scrapbook paper. Place the tooth inside at bedtime so it doesn’t get lost under the pillow.

  1. Coin Collector

“Our daughter used to keep change in them when she was little. It was great for sorting pennies, nickels, and dimes (and quarters if the container is wide enough).”

—Penelope W., mom of a now 15-year-old daughter

  1. Air Freshener

Soak cotton balls in essential oil and place them in a cleaned-out test strip canister, poking a small hole in the lid or just leaving the lid open. Then store it wherever you need some odor control or could use a sweet scent, such as the bottom of the trash bin or the bathroom cabinet.

  1. Survival Kit

Because strip containers are so sturdy and airtight, they make a great place to store matches for emergency use. Place matchsticks in canister and glue a flint strip to the underside of the lid. Store in a glove compartment or with the rest of your emergency supplies.

  1. Seed Sorters

Got a green thumb? Save and sort seeds for next year’s bounty by storing harvested seeds in cleaned-out strip containers labeled with the seed name.

  1. Fish Hooks

Before your next family fishing trip, clean out a few containers and use them to store hooks and sinkers. Doing so could reduce the chance for accidents should little fingers make their way into the tackle box.

  1. Play-Kitchen Accessories

“When our daughter was younger, we outfitted her play kitchen with an entire set of ‘spice jars’ made from empty test strip containers. Label each one with the name of a spice to make all those make-believe meals even tastier!”

—Pam, mom of a now 13-year-old daughter

  1. Teachers’ Aides

When in doubt, ask a teacher if they could use some extra supplies. Preschool teachers, art teachers, and science teachers can take just about anything and repurpose it. That bag of cleaned-out containers you hand over could become bud vases for a Mother’s Day flower project, water sample containers for a science experiment, or top hats for cotton-ball snowmen.

  1. DIY Board Game

“Save up the lids of 24 strip containers. Paint 12 of the lids red (or any color that contrasts with the other 12 lids). Use a marker and ruler to make a simple checkerboard on a large piece of construction paper. Instant checkers!”

—Julie D., founder of and mom of two grown sons and a 17-year-old daughter, each of whom has type 1 diabetes

  1. Noisemakers

Skip the party store next New Year’s Eve and make your noisemakers by filling empty strip containers with small beans or pebbles. Decorate and seal with brightly colored duct tape, then shake it up! (After January 1? Maracas for your family band.)

  1. Trash Stash

“Used test strip containers are perfect for collecting…used test strips! This is handy for on-the-go testing. Just remove the label first so as not to mix up the contents with viable strips.”

—Lorraine, mom of 12-year-old Caleb and blogger at

  1. Paint Canisters

Make art time a little less messy by placing paints in empty strip containers. Once your little Picasso has made another masterpiece, snap the lids on the containers for easy storage and cleanup.

  1. Holiday Decorations

To make an easy holiday ornament, punch a hole through the container lid and thread with a loop of ribbon or string. The shape of a canister is perfect for making a snowman, Santa, or angel ornament, or a witch or ghost at Halloween. Use a hot glue gun to affix a base layer of fabric or paper to the canister (or paint), then hand over to kids to add the finishing touches with regular glue or fabric glue, as needed.

  1. First Aid Kit

For first aid ease no matter where you are, tuck a few small bandages, a sample-size packet of first aid cream, and an alcohol wipe packet into a cleaned-out container. Never be unprepared for boo-boos again!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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