New Uses for Accessories
Accent pieces work double time with these creative twists.
It's a cinch to keep belts organized and visible: Coil them into spirals and stack them on top of one another in a large clear vase. (Put favorite belts at the top for easy access.)
Cooking up a storm? For easy access, attach a button to the front of an apron so you can hang a pot holder or a looped dish towel from it.
With the cameras flashing and all eyes on you, there’s a lot of pressure to look your very best. Stash extra makeup—think lip gloss and concealer—in an empty glasses case and tuck in your purse for quick touch up’s throughout the day.
Whether you’ve held onto your grandmother’s keepsake or purchased something special for this occasion, add some bling to your bouquet. The flowers may last only a few days, but you’ll always have the pin—and the memories that go along with it.
When working with a too-tiny-to-grip nail, slide it into the grooves of a bobby pin, then hold the end of the bobby pin as you hammer.
Turn a tangle of ribbons into a neat presentation. Hang coordinating colors over the prongs of a tie hanger.
Add a feminine and romantic touch to the reception by illuminating tables with an array of small glass votives wrapped in delicate white tulle.
Give roomy heels and ballet flats a perfect fit (so you don't pull a Cinderella) by filling in the toe area with some cotton balls.
Let everyone know you march to the beat of your own drum; use colorful ribbon in place of shoelaces. Change when the mood strikes.
More lovely to look at than the branded box from the store, but it still slides easily into the pantry for storage.
More than just a hair accessory: Attach a note to a ribbon with a colorful or bedazzled bobby pin.
Are those comfy pumps in need of something special for your big day? Attach your favorite sparkly hair clip to add just the right amount of flair.
Get a grip on a tricky top; wrap a rubber band around a slippery or sticky lid to give yourself some extra oomph.
A pretty jewelry box top is the perfect size for most wine glasses. Decorate the inside or add some confetti for a party.
Time for your lingerie drawer to step into line. Cut shoe boxes in half, along the length or width, and fill the resulting compartments with folded briefs, socks, or stacked bras.
Bangles bulging out of your jewelry box? Slip them over a candlestick and let them accessorize your dresser.
Protect wood floors. Slide socks onto the legs of chairs and tables so they don’t scratch the floor when you rearrange the room (yet again).
Travel is best done in pairs (think of Lewis and Clark or Thelma and Louise). To keep a set of earrings together on your next overnight jaunt, fasten them to a button so they won’t get lost in your suitcase pocket.
Pack small amounts of salt, pepper, and spices for a camping trip.
Revive a forgotten flickerer. Slide a dusty candle inside a stocking and roll it around.
Help strappy garments stay on hangers. Affix a circle to each end.
Artfully dab on costume makeup without getting your good makeup brushes dirty.
Anchor a cutting board’s corners to make prep work easier and safer.
Balance the oiliness of moisturizing makeup. Brush on a thin layer as a finishing touch.
Make breaking shoes in less of a pain. Rub clear-gel deodorant on spots prone to blistering before you step out in a stiff new pair.
Have one special button? Thread it onto a thin chain or a delicate piece of ribbon for a standout necklace.
Wipe fine-grit sandpaper over a sweater in one direction—gently!—to lift pesky pills.
Hook extra dish towels and pot holders on a belt hanger for easy retrieval.
For tangle-free jewelry during your travels, unclasp the chain, thread it through a plastic drinking straw, and reclasp. For a shorter chain, cut the drinking straw to the desired length.
Roll up pairs of stockings or leggings and wrap hair ties around them to keep the rolls from unraveling. It will be easier to find a specific pair on mornings when you're, well, tight on time.
Help a purse or boots to keep its shape with tissue stuffed inside.
Instead of tossing out seldom worn or broken brooches, remove the pins with a wire cutter, glue a magnet to the back of each, then use them to mount postcards, children’s artwork, or this week’s grocery list.
Use a spare post earring to fix broken spectacles (without resorting to tape). If the tiny screw that connects the arm to the frame of your glasses goes missing, replace it with a stud and secure it with the back for a temporary solution.
Maintain some modesty in the locker room. Hold towel in place with a clawlike clip post-shower.
Rub a few drops of baby oil into each knot and work them gently free with a straight pin.
Use a bejeweled hair clip to save your place in the latest thriller. Slide the pin over a few pages (so it stays in place) to mark where you left off.
When a plain napkin simply won’t do, break out the bangles and dress up a place setting.
Adjust the fit of—and add a touch of sparkle to—a loose blouse or shirt by pinning it in back with a brooch. Or turn a cardigan into a form-fitting wrap sweater: Pull one side across the body and pin it in place.
If your umbrella has detached from its metal spines, tie or sew it back together with waxed floss, which will endure longer than regular thread.
Give store-bought plastic eyeglasses a custom fit. Heat them with a dryer, then mold them to suit your face.
Those little boxes are so sturdy and tidy that you hate to throw them out, so don't. Instead, clip them together to create a neat divided storage area for pens and pencils, lipsticks, plastic flatware—whatever it is that clutters your drawer.
Keep a snag in your stockings from growing by dabbing it with clear nail polish.
Help shoes keep their shape and smell fresh by stuffing them with newspaper after wearing them.
Remove dust from candles by running it through the leg of an old pair of panty hose.
If the backing for one of your studs goes AWOL, slice off a disk-shaped wedge from an eraser. The earring will stay put, even if your pencil looks denuded.
Organize delicate jewelry by placing necklace chains, charms, and small earrings in individual vellum envelopes inside the box.
Contain rain-boot runoff by placing a tray near the entryway when wet weather descends.
Slip a (clean) patterned kneesock over the bottom of a bottle, then knot the top to create a decorative carrier. Better yet, offer your hostess two bottles so she can later enjoy toasty toes.
Insert an empty one-liter plastic bottle into a tall boot to keep it from sagging, creasing, or toppling over. Bonus: Upright boots create space on your closet floor to fill as you please (hmm…more boots?).
Rest your soles. Store shoes on the tiers of a stool in the closet.
Seal the end of a frayed shoelace rather than running out for a replacement.
Pack enough jewelry for a week away. The individual compartments are the perfect place to keep earrings, necklaces, and rings safe and tangle-free.
Preserve the shape of tall leather boots by placing a bottle into each one's shaft for reinforcement.
Protect your hands from an extra-hot latte by stretching a wristband around the coffee cup so your fingertips don't get burned. (Your tongue is another matter, so sip with care, for goodness' sake.)
Keep track of your earrings while you hit the gym (or the spa). Place the studs through the holes on the watch strap and then attach their backs.
Ward off wrinkles in silk scarves by wrapping them around the tube between wearings.
Prevent gunk from settling into your hairbrush by pushing a swatch of stocking fabric over the bristles, so it rests on the base. When the brush needs cleaning, remove the swatch and hair and product buildup will go with it.
Each ring, necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings gets its own cubby when you use an ice-cube tray to organize your baubles. Trays can be stacked in a drawer for a multitier alternative jewelry box.
To keep a scarf or tablecloth wrinkle-free roll the fabric around the tube then run a length of ribbon through it and tie a bow.
Save your shades from scratches by slipping them into a spare mitten before stashing them in your purse or glove compartment.
After tightening the loose screw, dab polish across the top for a longer-lasting fix.
Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, then apply a small drop of oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks.
It will never be a fashion trend, but tying bags over your shoes can keep you from tracking mud into the house when you come in, or protect slippers from dirt, snow, or rain when you run out to fetch the paper from the front lawn. (Be careful when walking on smooth surfaces, as the plastic won't give you any traction.)
A rainy day equals wanting to stay in bed, under the covers. That’s rarely possible, but there is a silver lining. You can brighten up a decidedly utilitarian umbrella by tying a pretty bow on it.
When you’re wearing a French-cuffed shirt, substitute a snip of ribbon for cuff links to keep your sleeves closed. Just slide a piece of ribbon through and tie a knot on each end. They’ll stop your arms from getting a chill and add a little color to a wardrobe staple.
When you’ve lost (another) backing to the Bermuda Triangle of jewelry, mosey on over to the junk drawer and cut out a small square from a thick rubber band.
If each member of your family has, oh, four or five scarves, put some of them to work as a tree skirt. Arrange in a pinwheel fashion around the base of the tree and secure with safety pins.
Place hooks on a closet bar and hang purse handles from them to keep your carry-alls at eye level. Say goodbye to a mess of accessories on your closet floor.
Store hair accessories on an empty TP tube by stretching elastics around the roll and sliding clips and bobby pins on one end.
Contain computer or television cords inside a stretchy trouser sock with the toe cut off.
Come on―when was the last time you wore them, anyway? Instead, slip a pair over your windshield wipers on the eve of a storm so you won’t have to deice the blades in the morning.
Snack-size bags are perfect for packing a weekend’s worth of jewelry. Bag silver jewelry to reduce tarnishing. Dedicate a bag to extra earring backs.
Prevent necklaces from tangling in your jewlery box by hanging them on a cork board with thumbtacks.
Keep a loose screw secure in your eyeglass frames by dabbing it with a touch of clear nail polish.
Protect your fingers from being burnt on a hot cuppa joe, by slipping a sock over the cardboard.
If a loose lightbulb has lost its box, slip a sock over the bulb to prevent it from shattering.
Marry pairs of earrings. Stick the posts into a cork to keep them together.
Rethread the beads of a broken necklace. Slide beads onto a piece of floss one by one, leaving a few extra inches of loose string. Tie the ends to the jewelry findings from the original necklace and knot several times.
To prevent a breakfast bar from becoming a breakfast crumble, stash it in an eyeglass or pencil case before throwing it in your bag.
Desk upgrade. Place a Mason jar into a pretty patterned sock, then tuck excess fabric inside the jar. Fill with supplies.
Jazz up a canvas tote by securing a doily to it with adhesive spray, scalloped-side up, then gently painting over the holes with fabric paint. Remove the doily and let dry.