Totally 80s: The Caboodle

Welcome the first installment of my year-long look back at the decade that was ruled by big hair and bigger egos. Every other week I’ll be covering pop culture tidbits from the 1980s, sharing memories, choking on the ridiculousness, and maybe offering an insight or two into what made the 1980s so great/bad/silly. Serving as my inspiration are two lists from Buzzfeed, and I’ll include links to the original list items in each post. So throw on your neon windbreaker, lace up your hi-tops, and adjust your Wayfarers, because this DeLorean is taking off! (Ugh. Did I really just type that? Gag me with spoon, seriously.)


First up, list item #19 from 53 Things Only 80s Girls Can Understand:

Organizing all your cosmetics, bath products, and jewelry in a Caboodle (which in itself was sort of the reason to buy tons of stuff to put inside it).


I know what you’re thinking: why the hell would I choose to cover something as mundane and plastic and nondescript as an organizer in my very first 80s post?! Because this is my Caboodle, present day:

Fascinating, no?
Fascinating, no? …no.

I was utterly amazed to see the Caboodle on Buzzfeed’s list, let alone any list! I mean, it’s just a colorful, plastic organizer, right? Well…yes, but it was also a funny, must-have phenomenon. Today, organizers are a dime a dozen. You can find them everywhere, and there’s even a whole store devoted to organization paraphernalia! But back in the 80s, if you, as a girl or woman, wanted an organizer, your choices were limited to tackle boxes and multi-drawer devices sold in hardware stores, neither of which was very girly. In response, enter the Caboodle! Call it a tackle box with bright colors and feminine curves, it was designed to hold, well…anything you wanted it to. (Though, as Buzzfeed alluded too, mainly cosmetics and jewelry crap because, y’know, girls.)

And guess what's in  mine... [Isigh, girls]
And guess what’s in mine… [sigh, girls]
And the thing was, back then your household probably had one of these, whether or not it belonged to you. I don’t ever remember specifically begging for  Caboodle, but sure enough, there it appeared one Christmas, and I think it was there because of travel. Growing up, my family took regular summer vacations to see family or places of interest. We had a set of luggage that we shared as well as a single case (call it a cosmetic case or train case, like this) for bathroom gear. It was red, probably dated to the 1960s, and belonged to my Mom. As me and my siblings got older, and as our luggage needs became more voluminous, that red case eventually brimmed with all sorts of junk that we insisted that we needed for whatever journey we were about to take. I’m pretty sure that as soon as my Mom saw a Caboodle, she sighed with great relief, for here was a cheap and indestructible device that was perfect for kids and their crap. And I won’t lie, I really liked having my own case for my own stuff when we were on the road.

Shit, I loved it. I mean, I still have the damn thing. So there!

My Caboodle has been served as my cosmetics storage facility for going on twenty-five years now, and it still goes with me on long vacations.  This silly purple and green case has traveled with me across the country and back again. It’s been jostled and thrown about in car trunks and moving vans, but it, like Gloria Gaynor, has survived. The latch still works, the internal drawers still function, and hell, it’s even got my (original) name on  it. And y’know what? Caboodles are still produced today, though in much more modern forms. But my Caboodle, it’s totally 80s.

(Oh man. I promise not to end these posts in a way so contrived. …maybe.)


  1. I have two of these! I think I remember getting both as gifts because I never really wanted one either. It’s really handy and it’s sturdy too! It still organizes my stuff to this day. 🙂


    • I’m pretty sure our Caboodles are going to outlast us! I’ve considered buying one of the newer ones, but it hasn’t happened yet. I guess I’m not ready to be all that organized, ha!


  2. Great post, Cary! I probably would have never heard about a Caboodle if you hadn’t put a link to that list that mentioned it an earlier post. By the way, I think that’s the perfect way to end your posts. It’s totally 80s.


    • Thanks! I have to say that I never, ever thought I’d write about my Caboodle, but there it is, all up on the Internet. I’m hoping that this turns out to be a fun series.


    • Thanks, glad you liked it. Hopefully future ones will be interesting as well…or at least silly enough to capture some attention!


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