New Uses for Things in the Living Room
Vase as Collection Display
Add personality to a shelf. A collection of seashells, marbles or other small objects corralled inside not only increases the vase’s appeal, but also gives it enough heft to step in as a bookend.
Dental Floss as Picture Hanger
Hang a lightweight painting. Wrap one end of a strand of floss several times around one of a pair of screws or hooks attached to either side of the back of the frame. Wrap the other end around the remaining screw or hook, leaving some slack. Knot the ends and hang from a nail.
TV Remote as Hiding Place
Curbed your TV watching? Remove the batteries from an old remote and stuff the empty compartment with emergency cash, a spare key, or anything else you need handy (but hidden).
Aluminum Foil as an Antenna
If your DVD player is stacked on top of the TV (or vice versa) and the picture is fuzzy, the two electromagnetic fields may be commingling, confusing the signals. (This usually happens with plastic casings; with metal it's less likely.) Slip a sheet of foil between the machines to separate the fields.
Coat Rack as Art and Photo Display
Display a collection of photos, treasured items, or seasonal ornaments over the mantel or in a hallway. Use ribbons or strings of different lengths to hang the arrangement from the pegs.
Fork as Carpet Fluffer
Use the tines to gently fluff plush carpet fibers back to their original height, removing dents left by heavy furniture. Now, that's a real fork lift.
Picture Frame as Drink Tray
Make a chic serving tray with an extra frame. Place a double of your favorite photo (so as not to ruin the original in case of condensation) under the glass and set out the drinks.
Baby Food Jar as Paint Bucket
Simplify paint touch-ups by pouring a few ounces of each new wall paint into a jar for when those times it’s needed to cover the inevitable nail holes and scuffs.
Baking Soda as Carpet Freshener
To absorb stale odors from carpet (and to generally freshen up a room), scatter soda on it, wait a few hours, then vacuum up the powder.
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.
Binder Clip as Cord Holder
Keep a windowblind cord out of reach of little hands (or paws). Just gather the cord up at a safe level and clasp.
Book as Framing Tool
When adhering a print to foam backing for framing, use the spine of a hardcover book to smooth out air bubbles.
Bread Plate as Plant Saucer
A seldom-used bread plate from your grandmother's formal china set, placed under a small houseplant, will dress it up while serving the practical purpose of catching excess water.
Button as Board Game Piece
Is your Monopoly game missing its top hat? Replace wayward board-game pieces without missing a beat (or a turn).
Clothespin as Nail Holder
Avoid hammer accidents (and protect your thumb!) when hanging a picture by using a clothespin to securely hold the nail instead of your two fingers.
Clothespin as Cord Keeper
The secret to keeping a retractable cord from rewinding too soon is to clip the cord near the opening.
Coffee Can Lid as Paint Splatter Shield
Paint like a pro. To make a splatter shield for when you’re painting a high surface, cut a slit in the center of a lid and pull the paintbrush through.
Cork as Fire Starter
Get a blaze crackling faster. Keep wine corks in rubbing alcohol in a sealed jar (stored away frm the fireplace of course). Just before lighting a fire, toss a few in under the kindling.
Cornmeal as Grease Absorber
Add this to the grocery shopping list for new reasons. Cornmeal absorbs grease on light colored fabric or upholstery. Pour enough on to cover the soiled area and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Vacuum to remove the grains.
Coverlet as Slipcover
Revamp a sofa that's seen better days. Center the coverlet, leaving at least three inches of fabric puddling on the floor in front of the sofa. Use a wooden spoon to tuck the coverlet deep between the cushions, smoothing as you go. Fold back any excess material at the front edges of the sofa and pin it underneath.
Denture Tablet as Vase Cleaner
When residue clings to unreachable spots inside a vase or a decanter, fill the container with warm water and drop in one or two denture-cleaning tablets for every eight ounces of warm water. Let the fizzy solution sit for the time specified on the product's box, then rinse.
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.
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.
Jewelry Box as Game Piece Storage
Store game pieces, play money, or other priceless rainy-afternoon distractions.
Newspaper as Window Washer
Newspapers deposit less lint than paper towels do and don't leave any streaks. Just spray on a glass cleaner and wipe.
Pencil Eraser as Wall Protector
Anchor artwork against the wall. Cut erasers from a pair of pencils and glue them to the bottom corners of a frame for added stability.
Photo Album as Renovation Helper
Stash fabric swatches and paint chips in the album so you can make sure that lamp matches perfectly before you get it home.
Rocks as Tic-Tac-Toe Game
Deck out a rec room by painting X's and O's on top of small stones, and drawing a grid on any square surface (try a chalkboard or an old serving platter). You'll have a pretty game that you'll actually want to leave out on the table.
Rocks as Bookends
Keep books straight on a shelf. Add an earthy vibe to your reading collection by subbing in large smooth rocks for bookends.
Rubber Glove as Pet Hair Remover
Put on a damp rubber dishwashing glove and run your hand over hair-covered upholstery—the hair will cling to the glove, not the sofa. Rinse off the glove in the sink (with the drain catcher in place, of course).
Rubbing Alcohol as Permanent Marker Remover
Remove permanent marker from countertops and walls. Pour a bit of alcohol onto a cotton ball and rub on the stain. (Spot test on a hidden area first.)