New Uses for Old Things: 10 Ways to Rethink Household Items
Common objects do double-duty around the house with these clever new uses.
Attach Gift Cards With Photo Corners
Original purpose: Creating scrapbooks.
Aha! use: Attaching a gift card. Neater and more attractive than Scotch tape (but just as easy to apply), they make even the simplest wrap job look impressive.
Reward: A prettier present.
Reader tip: Linda D’Onofrio
East Brunswick, New Jersey
Hone Scissors With Sandpaper
Original purpose: Smoothing splinters.
Aha! use: Sharpening shears. To hone dull blades in a pinch, just snip a piece of sandpaper a few times.
Reward: Scissors cut paper.
Baking Soda as Hair Cleanser
If daily use of mousse or gel is weighing down your locks, add a pinch or two of baking soda to your shampoo once a week to remove product buildup. Getting squeaky-clean strands is a piece of cake.
Candle as Zipper Fixer
Release a stubborn zipper by lightly rubbing a candle along the teeth on both sides to smooth the way.
Paper-Towel Tube as Plastic Bag Holder
Store and dispense plastic bags by stuffing them in a cardboard tube, then place it in a drawer for handy retrieval. A tidier kitchen is in the bag.
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.
Wine Corks as Cabinet Silencers
Silence cabinet doors that slam by slicing a cork into thin disks and sticking them onto the inside corners of cabinets to muzzle the closing noise.
Tape as Scoop Scraper
Attach the sticky side of a shorter piece of masking tape to the sticky side of a larger piece. Then place the tape across the top of a container of, say, cocoa so that the ends adhere to the sides of the can. The next time you scoop, you can easily level off your helping and avoid cocoa-verload.
Cast-Iron Pan as Recipe Board
Hang a skillet on a kitchen wall and you’ll have a convenient magnetic spot to display recipes, important reminders, and anything else your brain is too, well, fried to remember.
Key Protectors as Jingle Stoppers
You love your dog and can even tolerate the occasional barking. But you could do without the incessant jinglejangle of his tags. Well, here’s a new trick for you: Cover them with rubber key protectors.
Courtesy of reader Jayne Burns of Sebastopol, California