You know how some companies, like Apple, tend to over package even the tiniest gizmos? And then you’re left with this package that could withstand a zombie apocalypse? And there’s NO recycle logo anywhere on any of the plastics so you’re basically stuck with keeping it or harboring the guilt of schlepping it off to landfill? I hate that.

Because I didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good box (and I’m a bit of a hoarder), I’ve been hanging onto this little plastic lucite box that my magic mouse came in, hoping to find a use for it. But it was difficult. The little lucite box was too shallow to hold pencils or even a goodly amount of paper clips. Anything within it would be seen since the box is clear so it would look messy no matter what. And the lid doesn’t lock in place making it a poor travel container for my briefcase.

Oh what to do?

Well, it took me a while but I finally made a terrarium out of it! Yep! And I kept the white insert that originally held the mouse in place inside the box and it now acts as a plastic mulch on the soil, both functional and lends a clean and modern appearance.

Here are the materials and steps I used. It’s really not difficult, just tedious more than anything else. If you have large fingers, you may want to use some tweezers and a tiny spoon.

Materials:

  • 1 Magic Mouse lucite packaging box with white insert from Apple, remove the mouse yo!
  • 1/2 teaspoon teeny tiny activated charcoal
  • 2-3 tablespoons terrarium soil mix
  • 1 tiny Baby’s Tears plant (Soleirolia soleirolii) or a section of moss (just make sure whatever you use is under 1 inch tall, preferable 3/4 inch) UPDATE: baby’s tears is growing too fast, you should try for something that will stay short.

Steps:

  1. Wash the lucite box and white insert with hot soapy water but be careful not to scratch the box. It will scratch easily, as you can see in my photo.
  2. Dry with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Pre-dampen your soil mix and rinse the charcoal to remove dust (charcoal dust will make this look dingy and dirty and you’ll have to start over, I’ve done this twice now).
  4. Set the lid aside and insert the white liner into the lower portion of the box. You’ll be working with the white liner in place because, trust me, there’s no way to insert it after planting because the soil and charcoal will be in the way. And in order for the lid to fit, the insert must be seated all the way down.
  5. Carefully scatter the charcoal in the hole of the white insert and push some of it under the lip.
  6. Now gently push the damp soil under the lip of the white insert while holding the insert down firmly. As you’re pressing, the insert may want to pop up, that’s why you’re holding it down.
  7. Leave room for the root mass of your plant in the hole of the liner. I almost didn’t have any soil in this area because the plant I used had a lot of roots, even after I trimmed away most of them.
  8. Dampen the root mass/soil attached to the plant and using tweezers or tiny fingers, place it gently in the hole of the white liner.
  9. Trim excess tendrils from the plant so it’s neat and compact. Then wipe the white liner with tissue or Q-tips to remove specs of dirt for an especially Apple-clean appearance.
  10. Replace lid and position in non-direct sun. I keep mine on my desk near a window.

Keep in mind, this is a sealed terrarium so choose a plant that will survive. I’m not sure yet how long the Baby’s Tears will last and I’m positive I’ll have to pop the lid to trim it up as it grows. I like to think that Steve Jobs would approve of this reuse of Apple packaging. And that he’d like the zen-like appearance of a simple single green plant with white plastic mulch. Now if only I could find a tiny critter to put inside but it’s hard to locate micro-miniature snakes, bugs and spiders.