Fresh Ways to Reuse Things in Your Kitchen
Kitchens cabinets and cupboards can easily be cluttered with kitchen tools and equipment,cookbooks, and other miscellanea. This isn’t a bad thing at all—many of these kitchen items make life so much simpler—but it can be a little frustrating when a one-trick kitchen tool takes up a lot of storage real estate while only serving a single purpose. That purpose or function may be important, but that doesn’t mean it does anything to lessen frustrations, especially when kitchen storage spots are full to bursting.
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This is where new uses for old things in the kitchen come in handy. These upcycling ideas give a second (or even a third or a fourth) purpose to common kitchen items, so everything is an efficient multitasker. No more agonizing over how much space a muffin tin takes up or wondering if it’s worth it to keep those to-go containers around. No more guilty feelings every time something gets tossed. With new uses for kitchen items, everything will have a second life serving another purpose, either while it’s still in use for its original purpose or once its original usefulness is up.
Put these clever new uses and upcycling ideas to work in the kitchen, and then give the upcycling philosophy a try in other areas—office supplies,school supplies, and more all have their own creative repurposing opportunities to help reduce waste and increase the usefulness of everything in the home.
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Dish Towel as Wine Bag
Place the bottle along one side of the fabric so that the bottle’s top meets the top of the fabric. Fold the excess material at the bottom over the bottle, forming a pocket of sorts. Then roll the dish towel evenly and secure at the neck with ribbon.
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
Baby Food Jar as Easter Egg Decorating Aid
Design Rothkoesque Easter eggs. Fill a jar with dye, then dip half the egg in and let dry. Dip again, but only one-third of the egg. Repeat with both ends of the egg until you have stripes in varying shades.
Need a quick refresher on how to dye Easter eggs? Watch this quick video to learn how to hard-boil an egg, then check out these homemade Easter egg dye recipes.
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.
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.
Colander as Knitting Assistant
To prevent balls of yarn from tangling, string the end of each through a colander hole.
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.
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.
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.
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
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.
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.
Wrapping Paper as Placemat
Turn rectangles of giftwrap into placemats you don’t mind getting dirty. You can even write guests’ names on the edges to designate seats.
Rubber Band as Jar Opener
Get a grip on a tricky top; wrap a rubber band around a slippery or sticky lid to give yourself some extra oomph.
To-Go Container as Paint Palette
Even a starving artist eats takeout sometimes. Use the plastic top from a to-go container as a palette for mixing colors; when you’re finished, just toss.
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.
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.
Use a Wineglass as a Candleholder
Give some height to a candle display by perching a pillar on an upside-down wineglass.
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
Wrapping Paper as Tray Liner
Turn an old tray into a special serving piece with a single scrap of pretty paper. Use double-sided tape to keep it secure.
Holiday Lights as Night Light
Fill a large Mason jar with a strand or two of battery-powered lights to add whimsy to a walkway or a nightstand.
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.
Ribbon as Utensil Holder
When utensils are wrapped together, guests can grab what they need in one go—great for a buffet table.
Cupcake Liners as Garland
Using a large sewing needle, thread a string through the alternating colorful cupcake liners to make a ruffled garland.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Contact Lens Case as Travel Spice Holder
Pack small amounts of salt, pepper, and spices for a camping trip.
Binder Clip as Sponge Stand
To prevent a smelly, waterlogged sponge, air-dry it in a binder clip away from the sink.
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.
Chopsticks as Lint Remover
Pluck the lint buildup from a clothes dryer's trap.
Cupcake Liners as Candleholders
Nothing holds a candle to dining al fresco, unless it’s so dark you can’t see the food in front of you. Place tealights in foil cupcake liners for a little glow at your next outdoor party. They’re cheap enough to use by the dozen, and cleanup is a piece of (cup)cake.