New Uses for Things in Your Office
RELATED: 7 Unexpected Problems You Can Solve With Rubber Bands
Putting old things such as wall hanging file folders, file holders, earrings, and more to repurposed new uses can turn home office clutter into functioning organizers. The space will feel fresh and organized, and it may not even cost a penny. Old kitchen tools can serve as organizers for office supplies; old office supplies can double as cleaners. With these new uses for old things, anything can have a productive second life. After all, who doesn’t love a multitasker in the office?
Pitcher as Office Supply Holder
Corral office tools like scissors, letter openers, and rulers in a pretty pitcher on your desk.
Magnetic Knife Strip as Note, Key Holder
Use the knife strip you already have in the kitchen to hold tonight’s recipe. Hang another as a sleek, streamlined memo board under a kitchen cabinet or in another small space. A strip by the door or the garage can hold reminders or stash keys where you can actually find them. It's a sharp way to keep track of your to-do list.
Xylophone as Message Board
Technically, the metal (as opposed to wooden) keys make this instrument a glockenspiel, but no matter. Hang it on a wall and use magnets to display invitations, photos, art, and more.
Twist Tie as Wire Gatherer
Streamline tangled cords. Shorten a too-long one by looping the center and wrapping with a tie, or secure several cords together.
Gift Tags as File Label
Use leftover, adhesive gift tags to label file folders. Holly leaves = medical records, Santa = bills (obviously—you owe him for the bike, the LEGOS, the dollhouse…).
Cupcake Liner as Mason Jar Lining
Secure a cupcake liner over the top of a jar with a rubber band. It can be a temporary fix if you’ve lost the lid, a pretty solution to keep flies out of the lemonade, or a cute topper for a gift-in-a-jar.
Rubber Bands as Sandwich Labels
Distinguishing chicken salad from tuna is no picnic. Next time you’re packing sandwiches, stretch a thick rubber band around each one and label it with a permanent marker. Divvying up lunch will be a snap.
Clothespin as Cord Holder
Keep a retractable cord from rewinding too soon. Just clip the cord near the opening to prevent the cord from being sucked back in too quickly.
Binder Clip as Sponge Stand
To prevent a smelly, waterlogged sponge, air-dry it in a binder clip away from the sink.
Sponge as Envelope Sealer
Safeguard your taste buds during holiday card season. Replace a dried out ink pad with a damp sponge and use it to seal envelopes and attach stamps—no licking required.
Poker Caddy as Pencil Organizer
Dialed back on late nights? Corral some clutter with that poker caddy. Glue a poker chip to the bottom of each slot, then close the gaps on the sides with playing cards to create compartments for stray pens and pencils.
Picture Frame as Dry-Erase Board
Let’s see—you need milk, eggs…and something to replace the stark white memo board that’s sucking all the style from your otherwise charming kitchen. Frame a pretty piece of fabric or paper, then write temporary to-dos on the glass with a dry-erase marker.
Accordion Folder as a Glove Compartment Organizer
Store your car insurance, registration, manuals, and maps in a neatly bound holder to avoid an avalanche of papers every time you reach in for your sunglasses. It's the first step to getting your car chaos under control.
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.
Business Card Organizer as Gift Card Holder
Reduce handbag clutter by catalogging the family’s club cards and gift cards according to store name. Your back will thank you for toting a lighter wallet around.
Cupcake Carrier as Knickknack Organizer
For the 359 days of the year when you’re not hauling cupcakes, use the cups to store jewelry or craft supplies.
Cereal Box as Drawer Organizer
If you're the flaky type, cereal boxes (including the single-serving minis) can corral desk-drawer chaos. Slice off the tops and the bottoms and fill them with loose odds and ends.
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
Clipboard as Place-Mat Holder
Hang a clipboard on the wall (or inside a cabinet) to clamp down on place mats—and that old “I can’t find them!” excuse from the person setting the table.
Binder Clip as Picture Frame
Use this office supply staple to create an easy-to-update photo display. Stand clips on their flat ends and place pics between the two arms.
Business Card Organizer as Photo Album
Showcase favorite walletsize photographs, or make a timeline of school portraits by stashing them in a business card file on your desk.
Checkbook as Ruler
Size up a piece of fleamarket furniture. Checkbooks are roughly six inches long, making them ideal on-the-go measuring devices.
Pencil as Key Lubricant
If a key is sticking in the lock, scribble on its edges with a trusty number two. Graphite in the lead helps the key glide and turn more easily (so it also makes your day go more smoothly).
Cotton Swab as Computer Detailer
With the machine turned off, disconnect the keyboard and trace between the keys with a cotton swab lightly dipped in isopropyl alcohol. If your mouse is the kind that rolls on a ball, unscrew the bottom and go over the ball and the interior with a cotton swab, too.
Cutting Board as Placemat
Use a non-skid chopping board as child's placemat or deskside placemat.
Dryer Sheet as Book Deodorizer
Prevent your beloved volumes from acquiring a musty smell by inserting a fabric-softener sheet between the pages.
Duct Tape as Light Bulb Loosener
Safely loosen a hard-to-remove lightbulb. Press the center of a footlong strip of tape to the middle of the bulb. Fold each loose end in half so it sticks to itself. Gripping each end between a thumb and index finger, give a counter clockwise twist to loosen the bulb.
Egg Carton as Paint Palette
Create a custom paint palette for an afternoon art session.
Emery Board as Eraser Saver
To revive a dried-out eraser or clean a smudged one, lightly rub it over an emery board. The board's fine grain will shave off the eraser's old top layer, leaving you with a good-as-new mistake-removing surface.
File Folder Labels as Cord Identification
Attach adhesive file-folder labels with the names of the cords' owners (for example, phone, computer, fax, and lamp; or TV, DVD, VCR, and phone) near the plugs. This way, you can quickly ID which cord belongs to which machine—and you won't unplug the wrong one.
Film Canister as Stamp Dispenser
Unspool stamps by cutting a slit in the side of a film canister and threading the end of the roll throught it.