Ideas for Altoids (and Other) Tins




About: @garooob

This whole thing came about because I wanted to carry some gum around with me. However, I didn't want a whole pack, nor did I want it rattling loose in my pocket. Over time, I found myself in a few situations where I thought "Man, I wish I had ___." These things would be useful, but I didn't want to carry around a man-bag to hold them all. Enter the Altoids tin...

This is another picture of the first idea, (sub)urban survival kit.

Step 1: (sub)urban Survival Kit

3 bandages, taped to the top of the tin
3 business cards, wedged into the top and slightly bent
1 Chapstick
1 mini bottle hot sauce
1 pair ear plugs
5 sticks Trident
1 small flashlight (available at Borders/Waldenbooks)
10 ibuprofen
2 quarters
1 tissue

The original. All things I wanted to carry with me, but to have them loose in my already overcrowded pockets would be a mess. As with all of these, they're just ideas, so put what small things you need to carry in yours.

I have ChapStick, for those freezing winter mornings, waiting for the train, hot sauce for boring food, ibuprofen for a good old fashioned work-induced headache, ear plugs for the train or races, my gum, bandages, business cards and a small flashlight. The tissue (in addition to being used to blow my nose) is there to keep everything wedged in place, so it doesn't rattle. The quarters are in case I wanted something from the capsule machine at the grocery store or mall.

Step 2: Alternate Altoids (sub)urban Survival Kit

+1 mirror assembly from mint tin
+1 hacked Chapstick
+PSK sheet (
+1 small plastic bag, folded
+1 small plastic tasting spoon (from an ice cream shop)
-1 Chapstick
-1 mini bottle hot sauce
-1 tissue

Another configuration on the original. Remove the full-size Chapstick, hot sauce and tissue and add the mirror from a mint tin (see step 4 for more info), a hacked Chapstick (also see step 4) and a copy of the PSK sheet. The flashlight goes under the mirror assembly.

Step 3: Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

This one is more pocket sized.
1 New York & Company gumdrop tin (just throw the candies away; they taste like axle grease)
1 Chapstick
2 quarters
1 pair ear plugs
5 ibuprofen
5 sticks Trident
1 tissue

The full-size Altoids tin was getting a bit big, so it was time to evolve. While shopping with my wife, my eye was caught by a basket of tins in New York & Company. So I bought one. The "gumdrops" were "gross." As you can see from the picture, it's just the right size for a full-size Chapstick. So I prioritized and packed it full of only the most necessary items.

Step 4: Even Smaller (sub)urban Survival Kit

Super small!
1 mint tin with the mirror removed
1 hacked Chapstick
2 quarters
1 pair ear plugs
4 ibprofin
4 sticks Trident

Even the New York & Company tin was too big, so when I stumbled upon these tins, I bought two immediately. I found these mint tins (by Little I) in Urban Outfitters on clearance (so who knows if there are any more). They can also (obviously) be purchased from I also found similarly sized tins in JoAnn Fabrics (they're silver with "Love" on them).

This one has almost the same amount of stuff as the NY&C tin, but it's 1/2 the size of a full Altoids tin! It's almost too small! The quarters are taped to the top of the tin to keep them from rattling.

The Altoids Smalls tin will actually fit all of these, too, except for the quarters.

Hacked Chapstick:
The full-size Chapstick doesn't fit in this mini tin, so I decided to cut it up. Take a chunk out of the middle, because the ends are important. The bottom has a ribbed edge to hold the twist screw in place and the top holds the cap. Measure one cap length in the middle and mark it, then CAREFULLY cut that section out. It's hard plastic. You will also need to trim the twist screw in the center. Mine is just a hack job that's uneven and held together with tape, but with a better saw or Dremel, you can probably do it cleanly.
Note that there are grooves which the lip balm center travels on to keep it straight. When affixing the two pieces together, make sure they line up.
Also note that if it's new, you will have to trim some of the lip balm off so it fits. You can set that aside and reload the hacked Chapstick container when it runs out.

Step 5: Personal Mini First Aid Kit

3 bandages
3 packets of 2 ibuprofen
3 packets of topical antibiotic
2 packets of 2 generic cold/cough pills
1 disposable vinyl glove
PSK sheet (

Just some basic first-aid supplies, available in large quantities from an office supply store. You can throw this one in your backpack or glove compartment. You never know when you'll need a bandage.

Step 6: (kind Of) Survival Kit

3 bandages
5 ibuprofen
1 book matches
1 smaller tin of drier lint (tinder)
1 packet salt
1 packet pepper
1 packet sugar
1 razor blade
PSK sheet (

Everyone else has a survival kit. I tried to copy the "Survival kit in a sardine can." Mine is by no means the best or complete. But the PSK sheet is important! It has basic survival information that should be in every survival kit!

Step 7: Screwdriver Accessories

foam padding to keep them from rattling
all your standard hex screwdriver bits

If your Swiss Army knife doesn't have enough options for you, stick your hex screwdriver bits into an Altoids tin. The foam is important, because the sound of them rattling around will drive you nuts!

Step 8: Mini Screwdriver Accessories

I found an Altoids Smalls tin and lo, all the hex bits that I carried around fit in there, too! Actually, they're in a little bag inside the tin, mainly to keep them from rattling. This is so small, regular foam may not work well.

Step 9: Hot Sauce Carrier

hard foam padding to protect the hot sauce
2 mini Tabasco sauce bottles

This one is my favorite. I am a big fan of hot sauce and spicy food. Most of the time, "hot" food doesn't cut it and I've found myself wishing I had some hot sauce with me.

Mini Tabasco bottles can be found in some fine grocery stores, directly from Tabasco and are in MREs. One of these is factory sealed, while the other has been refilled with my wife's uncle's secret recipe...

Find some firm packing foam.
Measure and cut enough to fit into the bottom of the Altoids Tin.
Trace the hot sauce onto the foam and cut the shape out, but be sure to leave some foam benieth it.
Cut a thin layer and tape it to the inside of the top of the tin.

I don't have exact measurements. I just went by trial and error.

Step 10: Headphone Case

headphone accessories

I didn't want my ear buds to get roughed up in my backpack, so I just stuck them in an Altoids tin. I folded the cord up and twisty-tied it.

Also worth noting, the Zune 4/8/16 barely, just barely, fits in an Altoids tin.



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    105 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I use 6 ibuprofen in mine idk how many u need to use for one time though 1 or 2


    3 years ago

    I have all that except the altoid tin.

    Bobby T

    3 years ago

    I'm somewhat of a freak on fitting things in containers and keeping them organized. I can tell you this is wasting huge amoutns of my time. I put like 15 minutes to order a box with stuff all fitting perfectly. And then I need something out of it... Much more prefer to be slightly messy than lose my time..


    4 years ago

    Why hot sauce


    5 years ago

    This is going to be my first year having lockers, so I'm going to make this and put it in my locker for "emergencies" :)


    6 years ago on Step 10

    I really do hate altoids, but some of these ideas are really good, thanks! I might just endure for the first aid kids.


    8 years ago on Step 1

    i did the same thing exept with some different supplies for different situations. mine was for a day in middle school. it had a bunch of rubber bands, electrical tape, 2 springs, a penny, some paper, and one stick of gum. saved my life 5 times no joke.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    what would you do with all those things ? cause if you tell me what to do with that stuff i would make it to for all those boring school days


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I crammed a small slim jim in mine but it was bent. do you know any place where i can get a travel size hot saucebesides online??


    7 years ago on Introduction

    but don't bring to school
    you will get caught for the ibuprofen


    7 years ago on Step 4

    hate to be hateful here but HALF OF THESE IDEAS ARE URBAN SURVIVAL KITS.