Unexpected New Uses for Laundry Room Items
A few surprising spins on utility-room essentials.
New Uses for Bleach Bottles
- Pick up a scoop: Cut diagonally across the middle of an empty, clean bottle and use the half with the handle to scoop up fertilizer, rock salt, or pet waste.
- See your garden grow: Slice the bottom off an empty, clean jug to make a miniature greenhouse for seedlings. (Place the bottle open-side down over the plants.)
- Start a home gym: Fill two empty bottles with sand and use as dumbbells.
- Keep them afloat: Tie empty bottles together to use as buoys or to mark the deep part of a swimming area.
- Speak up: Cut off the bottle's base to make a megaphone for refereeing pickup soccer games in the park.
New Uses for Wire Hangers
- Hold your hoses: Use a wire cutter to snip a hanger into a few six-inch lengths. Bend each one into an arch, then use them as "staples" for keeping a soaker hose in place in flower beds.
- Reach new heights: Untwist a hanger and use it to adjust out-of-reach air-conditioner vents. Also good for retrieving objects that have slipped between the stove or the refrigerator and cabinets.
- Make a utility strainer: Pull the hanger into a roughly round shape, cover it with a panty-hose leg, and use it to strain anything you wouldn't want to put through your kitchen colander.
- Bend one into a giant bubble wand for kids (of all ages): Use one part dish detergent and one part water to make your own bubble solution.
- Remove static cling: To prevent sticky situations, run the long side of a wire hanger over a skirt, or between your skirt and panty hose or slip.
New Uses for Laundry Baskets
- Have a beach picnic: Tote items to the shore in the basket, then flip it over and use it as a table. Hose the basket off when you get home, and it's ready to go back to wash-day duty.
- Serve drinks al fresco: Line the basket with a trash bag and fill with ice to make a cooler for impromptu parties.
- Tame the sprinkler: Store a coiled garden hose in a basket; stash sprinklers, nozzles, and other attachments in the middle of the coil.
- Protect plants: Place a laundry basket upside down over delicate plants during a downpour or a hailstorm.
New Uses for Clothespins
- Hold that thought: Use a couple of pins to keep cookbooks open while you follow recipes.
- Track your towels: If you have houseguests, write their names (and yours) on separate clothespins, then attach each clothespin to the appropriate towel to avoid mix-ups when all the towels are hanging in one bathroom.
- Support your stems: Clothespins can support vines and climbing plants in the garden. Just make sure the stems pass through the holes in the pins.
- Make clips for displaying recipes and to-do lists: Glue a magnet to the back of a clothespin and stick it to the refrigerator or stove hood.
- Use as place-card holders: Or use them to keep napkins and plastic utensils together at a backyard barbecue. Spray-paint them bright colors for a fun, summery look.