A sufficiently sturdy pillbox
January 30, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe

The inside of my purse is a hazardous place, and I have trouble finding a pillbox that will stand up to it.

I've discovered that the only way I'll remember to take my pills on a regular basis is to keep them on me. That way, if I remember late, I can just rummage in my purse.

Unfortunately, I have trouble with containers popping open in my purse. I tried a steel keychain-type, but after long enough, I'd find it unscrewed itself and I lost the lot (also, the generics I am on now are too large for that option anyway). Lately, I've been using the screw-bottle that the pills come in, but it takes up way too much space and has actually come unscrewed itself once or twice (although in that case, at least all I have to do is turn out the lining of my purse to retrieve the errant pills.) The plastic day-of-the-week type I see at drugstores look like they'd be perfect, but I am convinced the plastic snap-lids would come unsnapped or come off entirely.

What's the absolutely sturdiest portable pillbox I can get?
posted by Karmakaze to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use an Altoids tin. Seriously. It's never yet come undone in my purse and it's been in there thunking around with my camera, wallet, pens, books, etc., etc., for going on three years now.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:32 PM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

do you have an inside pocket in your purse? put the pillbox in there.

failing that, why not use a zippered pencil case (if you can't buy one, make one - it's easy!) and put your pill box in there.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:40 PM on January 30, 2008

Get a little bag, like the velvet drawstring pouches that jewelry sometimes comes in, and keep a hinged pillbox (like the day of the week kind) or tin in that. It should fit closely but not so tight that you can't slide the box in and out. The bag will prevent the box from opening wide enough to spill the pills.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2008

An Otterbox or Pelican-type hard case would probably be pretty durable.
posted by box at 12:47 PM on January 30, 2008

I have to take painkillers all the time or else I won't be able to get to get to a place where I have more pills, so my strategy is to have many, many small stashes. everywhere.
I have one main childproof little pill bottle that I try to use exclusively, and which I recommend you use [you know what I mean. the little yellowy-brown snap-top things that have been around forever and are indestructible]. Other than that, I do the following trick:
Get duct tape and cover a [ziplock bag, grocery bag, garbage bag, sheet of plastic, etc]. Then cut it into 1 by 2 inch rectangles. Then just fold them in half, staple or tape the sides together, insert a few pills, staple or tape the top shut.

[then place them in every coat pocket, bag pocket, shirt pocket, pants pocket, etc, and do a pat-check before you leave so that you know you have them]

These packages are reusable [if you seal the top by poking a twist-tie through the top, re-use is easier], small, and resistant to everything but crushing.
Maybe this is more trouble than you were looking to go through, but maybe this system will be useful to somebody. It sure is useful to me, but I'll be watching this thread for more ideas.
Also - tic-tac containers happen to work perfectly for one pill I take, so maybe your pills are small like that, too.
posted by Acari at 12:48 PM on January 30, 2008

Not very attractive but these seem to be lockable and child resistant.
posted by simbiotic at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2008

I have a great pillbox that I got as swag at a research conference. Two compartments, sturdy plastic, never pops open, slightly narrower and shorter than a pack of smokes.

Got any friends who work in research, medicine, pharma, etc?
posted by desuetude at 12:56 PM on January 30, 2008

I didn't read where your pills are large, so sorry.
Waterproof match containers [available at places that sell camping supplies] are small, don't come unscrewed accidentally, and really durable. Probably about a dollar or two, and worth many times that.
posted by Acari at 12:59 PM on January 30, 2008

An Otterbox or Pelican-type hard case would probably be pretty durable.
2 mins of perusing led me to this. As the interior shares the approximate dimensions of a zippo, I think it would be absolutely perfect for pills.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 1:05 PM on January 30, 2008

perfect for pills.

I meant to say, "pills in danger of being smashed by a purse full of bricks and 1" ball bearings."
posted by crunch buttsteak at 1:07 PM on January 30, 2008

I use a tin that's shaped like an Altoids tin but is somewhat smaller - it originally held gum and I bought it at a deli. I keep it inside a soft zippered bag that also holds makeup, band-aids, tampons, safety pins, and the like. It's never popped open in the three years or so that I've had it.

For extra security or if you didn't want to carry the tin itself inside a small bag, I would recommend wrapping a rubber band around it, which is another method I have used.
posted by emmastory at 1:08 PM on January 30, 2008

Seconding the Altoids tin. I prefer the Smalls sized tin, which holds about a dozen or so Excedrin. The chewing gum size is also very handy!
posted by platinum at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2008

You could also try a mini Altoids tin and then use a binder clip to keep it closed. That's what I use... A 1 1/4" binder clip is the perfect size. A regular sized tin would probably work as well, but I can't vouch for it.
posted by natabat at 1:17 PM on January 30, 2008

I don't know whether you ever use camera film, but a 35mm film canister has worked for me for 15+ years. I've worn out several bookbags, but I'm still using the same canister.
posted by ROTFL at 1:20 PM on January 30, 2008

Can you find a childproof prescription bottle? They're damn near impossible to open.
posted by streetdreams at 1:45 PM on January 30, 2008

hip steel cases for sale at this site
posted by zepheria at 1:47 PM on January 30, 2008

A friend of mine recently showed me a neat little portable ashtray keyring she'd gotten from a tobacconist. Being a portable ashtray, it was designed to be very secure; it was a bit fiddly to unlock. The thing was the size and shape of an old-fashioned pocket watch. So, try a tobacconist. The same problem applies to roll-your-own smoke makings as to pills. Even if they don't have the thing I described above, they probably have something suitable.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:36 PM on January 30, 2008

i use a wooden stash/snuff box sort of like this. never comes open, stands up to everything. you can get prettier ones at your local head shop. i think they come in many sizes.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:06 PM on January 30, 2008

I use a contacts case (either the hinged-in-the-middle type that snaps or the two-caps-that-screw-on, I've used both in the past)

Bonus: you can carry two types of pills
posted by mysterious1der at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2008

I like the kind mentioned with the little locking bar. I used to keep a small one with tylenol, etc., in my backpack in high school...which may have been a more hazardous place than your purse!
posted by radioamy at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2008

What I wound up with was one of the drugstore day of the week boxes that comes with a sliding case: with case on, with case off. I also have a new purse with snug inside pockets, which may help with the chaos somewhat.

(Lest you think my original requirements were inaccurate, I shall note that the pills you see in the picture are not all of the pills I need to carry; there's a "horse pill" that I just ran out of today and need to refill and I also often throw in a multivitamin. The ones in the end are just OTC painkillers, because, while the tab there is unprotected, I don't much care if my Advil winds up all over the lining of my purse.)
posted by Karmakaze at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2008

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