Recently, I dropped off several out-of-prescription eyeglasses at a facility that collects old eyeglasses for medical missions. With the cost of glasses equaling a year's salary in some countries, donated eyeglasses are the best hope for bringing sight to many visually impaired people who can simply not afford the cost. The attendant kindly asked, however, that I not leave the cases.
My first thought was to toss them into the trash on the way out and just be done with it. But it didn't feel right. There just had to be a way to give new life to these sturdy, protective cases. Some quick research turned up these clever ideas:
--Electronic accessories. An eyeglass case is the perfect size for headphones or a charging cord for the typical mobile device. No more tangled mess.
--Sewing kit. Travel-size threads, scissors, needles, pins and so on fit easily inside one of these cases. Gluing a couple of magnets in the lid helps to keep sharp items in place so they're handy.
--Toiletries. Because these cases have hard sides, they're ideal for organizing makeup items and small toiletries -- the kind of emergency items we like to carry with us. Notably, a full-size bottle of nail polish fits in one of these cases perfectly, which, as one who has experienced the heartbreak of a bottle of polish emptying itself inside my purse, makes me very happy. A hard-shell eyeglasses case holds a toothbrush, dental floss and small tube of toothpaste.
--Jewelry case. The last place you want that necklace, those earrings or other delicate jewelry item to land up is in the bottom of your purse or backpack. Perhaps you know that sinking of feeling of digging around and finding only one of the pair. Designating an old eyeglasses case as your portable jewelry case will put an end to that disaster -- and keep your items exactly where you can find them at all times.
--First-aid kit. Band-Aids, ointments, tweezers and other small items needed for rending first aid can fit into one of the cases. Now everything is together and easily accessible.
--Emergency art supplies. Filling one of these cases with stickers, crayons and a pad of mini Post-its will come back to bless you the day you're stuck in a line or a waiting room with a child.
--Contact lens kit. One of these cases will hold a spare pair of lenses as well as a lens case and wetting solution. And it will keep all of that safe, sanitary and able to be found quickly when needed.
--Coin case. You know what I find really annoying? Loose change rolling around in the bottom of my bag. What a great idea to use an eyeglasses case as a coin holder.
Mary Hunt's column, "Everyday Cheapskate," can be found at creators.com.