New Uses for Things in the Kitchen
Gift Box as Sugar Holder
More lovely to look at than the branded box from the store, but it still slides easily into the pantry for storage.
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
Cereal Box as Sweets Carrier
Attention, PTA members: Here’s a practical Transport Alternative for the bake sale. Tape a cereal box closed, then cut away the front or back panel to create a tray for those top-selling brownies. Best of all, you can just "donate" the box.
Chopsticks as Glue Stick
To get a tiny sequin in just the right spot during your next craft project, use the tip of a chopstick to nudge it into place without gumming up your fingers.
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.
Cupcake Liners as Garland
Using a large sewing needle, thread a string through the alternating colorful cupcake liners to make a ruffled garland.
Turkey Baster as Pancake Shaper
Use a baster full of batter to squeeze custom pancakes onto the griddle. Start with easy letters and shapes, then work up to more complicated designs, like these leaves. (The trick is to draw the outlines and veins first, let them brown, then fill in the gaps with more batter.)
Colander as Splatter Blocker
When frying, top the pan with an upside-down metal colander to protect yourself from burns while still allowing heat to escape.
Binder Clip as Sponge Stand
To prevent a smelly, waterlogged sponge, air-dry it in a binder clip away from the sink.
Colander as Knitting Assistant
To prevent balls of yarn from tangling, string the end of each through a colander hole.
Bowl as Garlic Peeler
Peel garlic. Place cloves in a bowl, cover with another bowl to form a sphere, and shake. The peels will flake off.
Contact Lens Case as Travel Spice Holder
Pack small amounts of salt, pepper, and spices for a camping trip.
Salt as Iron Cleaner
Eliminate sticky residue from an iron. Run the hot iron (no steam) over plain paper sprinkled with salt.
Cereal Bag as Crumb Maker
These durable bags can take a beating. Fill one up and give it a whack with a rolling pin to make crumbs out of crackers, cornflakes, or candy. Remember to twist the top closed to prevent flyaways.
Muffin Tin as Large Ice Cube Tray
The cold, hard truth: Small ice cubes melt fast, leaving a pitcher of lemonade watery. To make long-lasting jumbo cubes, use a muffin tin. Pop them out by running the back of the tin under hot water for 30 seconds.
Tic Tac Box as Spice Holder
Pack small amounts of your favorite spice (red pepper flakes, anyone?) in old Tic Tac boxes, to season food on-the-go.
Clothespin as Refrigerator Magnet
Turn your fridge or stove hood into a memo board. Glue a magnet to the back of a pin and use it to hold reminders, invitations, and photos.
Cereal Box as Photo Saver
Sending Grandpa a shot of the all-star soccer team but don't want the postal journey to bend it (like Beckham)? Sandwich the picture between the large panels of a flattened box.
White Bread as Glass Magnet
The next time a tumbler takes a tumble, sponge up the shards with a slice of bread. Even tiny slivers will cling to it.
Felt Pads as Cutting Board Anchor
Anchor a cutting board’s corners to make prep work easier and safer.
Chopstick as Brewing Tool
For mess-free tea, tie a bunch of bags to a chopstick and rest it across the pitcher’s rim (use 2 bags per cup of boiling water). Brew for about 4 minutes, then lift and discard the bags.
Newspaper as Refrigerator Odor Absorber
Absorb odors in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer with a lining of newspaper.
Colander as Toy Scoop
One of the most popular kitchen tools also happens to double as a clean-up aid. Before draining the tub, use a colander to make scooping up small toys fun and easy.
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.
Olive Oil as Cat Food Supplement
Prevent hair balls. Add ⅛ to 1¼ teaspoon to your cat’s food for easy digestion.
Aluminum Foil as a Piecrust Protector
To prevent a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks, make a foil collar to deflect heat. Take a piece of foil about 25 inches long, fold it into thirds lengthwise, and fasten the ends with a paper clip. Halfway into the baking, slip the collar over the crust (as shown). Leave it on until the pie is done.
Cake Stand as Soap Dish
Glam up a bathroom or vanity. Stock soaps and washcloths on top, or showcase your prettiest perfume bottles.
Magazine Files as Kitchen Storage
Corral boxes of waxed paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a magazine file. Submitted by chels926
Belt Hanger as Kitchen Towel Hooks
Hook extra dish towels and pot holders on a belt hanger for easy retrieval.
Melon Baller as Jar Scoop
Scoop and strain from a narrow-mouth jar at the same time by using a melon baller. Works especially well for foods like capers and pimento. Submitted by: KimEH1
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.
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.
Collapsible Laundry Bins as Garbage Bins
During seasonal cleaning binges, soft-sided, handled laundry bins can double as trash cans. Submitted by: HookemSuz
Chip Clip as Bookmark
Attaching a chip clip to each side of your cookbook will not only keep your place while whipping up dinner, it will also help keep the book open. Submitted by: kriehl5
Cocktail Shaker as Egg Scrambler
Whip up fluffy omelets by adding eggs, milk, and seasonings together in a cocktail mixer. Give it a few shakes and it's ready for the skillet. Submitted by: suziegirl
Binder Clip as Chip Clip
Secure half-eaten bags of potato chips with a binder clip for an easy way to keep your favorite snack fresh and crunchy.
Sugar Dispenser as Kitchen Twine Holder
Keep kitchen twine from tangling and jamming your drawers by using a glass sugar dispenser as a spool. Simply place the twine in the jar and thread through the open hole.
Drink Holder as Fruit Protector
Rough commute? Slide a drink cooler over an apple to keep it from bruising in your lunch tote.
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.
Straw as Ketchup Unclogger
Insert a straw until it reaches the bottom of the glass bottle. Shake the bottle, then pour, leaving the straw inside. The airflow provided by the straw breaks the condiment-stopping vacuum.
Rubber Band as Canister Measure
Stretch a rubber band around an opaque container. Each time you scoop out the flour or coffee, move the band down to mark the supply level. No need to lift the lid while making your grocery list—you can see how much is left in a snap.
Coffee Beans as Pie Weights
When prebaking a piecrust, use beans to keep it from puffing up or shrinking into the pie plate: Line the bottom and sides of the cold dough with foil and fill to the brim with beans.
Aluminum Foil as Glassware Scrubber
To get baked-on food off a glass pan or an oven rack, use dishwashing liquid and a ball of foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad, says Mary Findley, president of the cleaning-products developer Mary Moppins. It's one way to recycle those used but perfectly good pieces of foil you hate to throw out.
Baby Oil as Chrome Polish
Forget keeping skin soft, baby oil also polishes chrome. Apply a dab to a cotton cloth and use it to shine everything from faucets to hubcaps. You'll end up with shiny, happy surfaces from a medicine-cabinet staple. (Who actually owns chrome cleaner, anyway?)
Bubble Wrap as Produce Protection
Use bubble wrap to save fruit and vegetables from bumps and bruises. Cut a piece to fit into the bottom of the refrigerator drawer as a pillow for your produce. Say goodbye to squished squashes or mushy mangoes.
Bundt Pan as Corn Holder
Cut corn from the cob without the mess. Place an ear in the center of a Bundt pan. As you slide the knife down, the corn will fall right into the pan.
Bundt Pan as Vertical Roaster
For a juicy bird that’s crispy all the way around, first layer potatoes, carrots, and onions on the bottom of the pan. Then season the chicken and place in the pan with the cavity over the center hole. Set the dish on a cookie sheet to collect any drippings and roast as usual.
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.
Chopsticks as Flour Leveler
Use a chop stick to easily level flour in a measuring cup. Leave it in the flour canister and you won't have to rummage for a clean knife.
Coaster as Drip Catcher
Catch the sticky stuff from bottles and jars in cupboards. No more shelves that require a full wipe-down after every spoonful of honey, slather of jam, or glug of olive oil.
Ice Cream Scoop as Sand-Castle Tool
An ice cream scoop deposits perfect domes for a Taj Mahal (or a yurt).
Coffee Filter as Wine Strainer
When the cork crumbles, salvage a bottle of wine by slowly pouring it through a filter into a pitcher or carafe. That way your $25 Fume Blanc won't go down the drain.
Coffee Filter as Prep Bowl
Avoid dirty dishes when baking by lining the bowl you’re using to mix dry ingredients with a clean filter. Then simply trash it when you’re done. You can make the same cakes, just with less cleanup.
Coffee Filter as Yogurt Strainer
For a dip that doesn't taste watered down, strain your yogurt before using it. Secure a paper coffee filter over the mouth of a deep cup or jar with a rubber band then pour in some yogurt. Any liquid in the yogurt will drain through the filter.
Cola as Ham Marinade
For sweet, juicy ham without the goopy stove-top glaze, pour a 20-ounce bottle of regular cola over a 10-pound precooked ham and roast for 2 1/2 hours at 350° F, basting every 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cut a hatch diamond pattern into the top, rub with a tablespoon of dry mustard, stud the centers of the diamonds with whole cloves, and pat with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs. Return to oven for 35 minutes.
Cookie Cutters as Cake Decorating Stencils
To stencil designs on frosted or unfrosted cakes, place cookie cutters on top and fill with sprinkles, powdered sugar, or cocoa powder. (Warning: This technique may convince guests you've taken a master class in cake decorating.)
Cooking Spray as Candlestick Cleaner
Celebrating by candlelight? Spray the inside of a votive holder with a thin coating before dropping in a tea light. After the candle has burned down, the remaining wax will slip out.
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.
Cork as Heat Protector
For a heat protector, slip a cork or two under a lid's handle and you'll always have something safe to grab.
Corn Flakes as Bread Crumb Substitute
For a new twist on a serial dinner favorite, add a layer of crunch to plain old mac-and-cheese. Top your child’s bowl with a sprinkling of flakes (even the bits at the bottom of the bag work). It’s easier and more kid-friendly than toasted bread crumbs.
Cotton Ball as Rubber Glove Protector
For leak-resistant gloves at your fingertips, push one cotton ball into the end of each finger of a dishwashing glove to keep sharp nails from splitting the rubber.
Desk Organizer as Cupboard Divider
Sort cookie sheets, cutting boards, and jelly-roll pans in the kitchen for easy access (and no more cymbal-crashing sounds) in an overstuffed cabinet.
Dish Towels as Placemats
Let a colorful dish towel span the center of your table and you'll get two place mats for the price of an easy wash-and-dry staple and a Paris bistro feel (no passport required).