New Uses for Things You Have in Your Dorm Room
Dorm living calls for creative repurposing. Get the most out of the things you already have, and a few ideas for items to, ahem, borrow next time you’re home.
Rubber Doorstops as Laptop Risers
Help your computer keep its cool by propping it up on two sturdy nonskid wedges. The extra elevation allows air to circulate, which prevents problematic overheating.
Make sure your child has all the essentials for setting up their new space by using our dorm room checklist.
Permanent Marker as Lampshade Decoration
To customize a standard linen shade, trim the seamed edges with a permanent marker in a shade that matches your decor. If you don't have a steady hand, use painter’s tape to outline the area to be colored.
Flat Iron as Touch-Up Iron
No time to drag out your iron and ironing board? A straightening iron works perfectly between buttons where a regular iron doesn’t fit. And it smooths collar creases and minor wrinkles. So you can look perfectly pressed when you're pressed for time.
Cassette Case as Cord Organizer
Neatly coil the cords of your small, tangle-prone cables and earbuds and tuck them into the empty plastic holder. If you have several, label each case with a sticker for clear identification. It'll be the end of crossed wires.
Address Labels as Bookplates
Stick or tape them on anything you don't want to lose: books, magazines, umbrellas, Tupperware containers, cell phones, the stapler on your desk at work. That way your stuff will see many happy returns.
Baking Sheet as a Memo Board
Set the baking sheet inside a 16-inch plate hanger mounted to the wall. Make sure the sheet is magnetic—so good ideas will stick.
Zippered Bed-Linen Bag as Art Supply Carrier
Stash supplies for scrapbooking, knitting, or sewing in one of these sturdy, transparent pouches so all of your materials and tools are in one place.
Bed Sheet to Even Out a Mattress
If your mattress dips in the middle, place several folded bedsheets under the center to even out the surface. (The number you need will depend on the depth of the dip.)
Use a Binder Clip as an Inexpensive Photo Frame
Display photos. Stand clips on their flat ends and place pics between the two arms.
Secure a Belt With Double-Sided Tape
Don’t let your too-long belt tail get caught between your legs. Keep it in line with a small bit of Scotch. Neat.
Earrings as Pushpins
Face it: That long-lost earring is probably gallivanting with a wayward sock in Ye Olde Land of Misplaced Items. (What a stud!) Let its lonely, abandoned mate rebound as a pretty thumbtack on a bulletin board.
Courtesy of reader Bailey Mulholland of Appleton, Wisconsin
Hair Clip as Towel Securer
Maintain some modesty in the locker room. Hold towel in place with a clawlike clip post-shower.
Mouse Pad as Trivet
Instead of trashing an old (or extra) pad, save it from the landfill and put it to work as a trivet in the kitchen. (Be sure to use one with a nonplastic coating.) The best part? No more hot spots on your table.
Plastic Bags As Wet Umbrella Holders
To avoid dripping water all over your (or anyone else's) house on a rainy day, pop your wet umbrella into a bag as you cross the threshold. You can even tie the handles snugly and throw it back into your purse―unless, of course, your bumbershoot is of Mary Poppins proportions but your carpetbag isn't.
Use Rubber Bands to Keep Clothes on the Hanger
No more worries of camisoles, sundresses, and other slippery garments slipping off hangers when you wrap the ends with rubber bands.
Tea Bag as Drawer Sachet
Subtly scent a drawer by placing a mint, vanilla, or lavender tea bag in a drawer of delicates.
Wall Calendar as Wrapping Paper
Use expired calendar pages to wrap gifts. Because the sheets are just the right size to cover paperback books and other small items, pictures from past months can find new life with a present.
Wristwatch to Keep Track of Earrings
Keep track of your earrings while you hit the gym (or the spa.) Place the studs through the holes on the watch strap then attach their backs.
Yogurt Containers as Measuring Cups
And you thought they were good only for storing leftovers. An 8-ounce container, filled to a pinkie's thickness from the rim, holds about 1 cup of flour or liquid. A quart container, filled to the same distance from the rim, holds 4 cups. Use this Band-Aid solution for small-scale cooking―pancakes, rice, soups―rather than for serious baking projects, which demand exact measurements.
Binder Clip as a Wallet
Make a clip-on key chain/money holder that's ideal for your morning walk. Take a 1¼-inch binder clip and pinch one of the wire arms toward the center to release it from its hinge. Slide on your key and refasten. Clamp to your waistband with a few bucks for coffee and a paper. No more wondering where to stash your key and cash.