Organizing New Uses for Old Things
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.
Candlestick as Bracelet Holder
Bangles bulging out of your jewelry box? Slip them over a candlestick and let them accessorize your dresser.
Glass Jar as Arts and Crafts Organizer
Kids can see inside the glass jars to find what they’re looking for, from crayons to pompoms. Leave off the lids for extra long supplies, like pipe cleaners or colored pencils.
Wristband as Wine Protector
Toting more than one bottle to a party? Slip a wristband over one to prevent banging or breaking.
Hair Elastic as Tights Bundler
Roll up pairs of stockings or leggings and wrap hair ties around them to keep the rolls from unraveling. It will be easier to find a specific pair on mornings when you're, well, tight on time.
Colander as Knitting Assistant
To prevent balls of yarn from tangling, string the end of each through a colander hole.
Glasses Case as Makeup Organizer
With the cameras flashing and all eyes on you, there’s a lot of pressure to look your very best. Stash extra makeup—think lip gloss and concealer—in an empty glasses case and tuck in your purse for quick touch up’s throughout the day.
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.
Party Hat as Candy Dish
Use extra paper party hats to corral candy on a display table—or fill them with popcorn to hand out to kids.
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.
Glass Vase as Belt Corraller
It's a cinch to keep belts organized and visible: Coil them into spirals and stack them on top of one another in a large clear vase. (Put favorite belts at the top for easy access.)
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…).
Hanger as Ribbon Organizer
Turn a tangle of ribbons into a neat presentation. Hang coordinating colors over the prongs of a tie hanger.
Ribbon as Utensil Holder
When utensils are wrapped together, guests can grab what they need in one go—great for a buffet table.
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.
Binder Clip as Ribbon Organizer
Clip one end of the spool to keep the ribbon from unfurling in your giftwrap drawer.
Newspaper as Packing Material
Pack delicate items. Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, and then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Soda Bottle as Pasta Measurer
Said good-bye to soda? Fill the mouth of a dry 20-ounce bottle with uncooked spaghetti; the opening holds enough for a hearty single serving.
Silverware Holder as Bathroom Drawer Organizer
Use a utensil tray in your bathroom drawer to keep small items like tweezers, nail clippers, and makeup brushes organized. Submitted by: Margaret2580
Hanging Wash Bag as Cord Storage
Store chargers, power cords, and extra headphones in the clear pouches of a hanging jewelry organizer. You'll be able to find exactly what you're looking for and packing your tech is that much easier. Submitted by: jloper
Magazine Files as Kitchen Storage
Corral boxes of waxed paper, aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a magazine file. Submitted by chels926
Metal Magazine Rack as Towel Holder
Roll pool towels and store them vertically, so your kids can grab one before taking a swim.
Luggage Tag as Decorating Aid
Avoid decorating mistakes. Tuck fabric, wallpaper, and paint swatches inside so you can ensure a perfect match.
Paper Clips as Wrapping Paper Holder
Use paper clips to keep wrapping paper from unraveling.
Cake Stand as Counter Organizer
Curb countertop clutter. Drop keys and bills on the stand instead.
Tie Rack as Mail Organizer
Prioritize bills and mail in a rack positioned flat on a desk or countertop.
Cake Stand as Display Stand
Show off. Display small photos and mementos, which look more important on a platform.
Shoe Box as Holiday Light Storage
Trim off the edges of a shoe box lid and wrap string lights around the flat cardboard. Then slide the whole thing inside the box. This will keep lights untangled and tidy during the off-season.
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.
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.
Apple Container as Ornament Storage
Store delicate tree decor where the fruit once went to protect items from bumps and bruises. (You can also use wine boxes or egg cartons.)
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.
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.
Zippered Bed-Linen Bag as Art Supply Carrier
Stash supplies for scrapbooking, knitting, or sewing in one of these sturdy, transparent pouches so all of your materials and tools are in one place.
Binder Clip as Linens Organizer
Store sets of napkins clipped together and they’ll always be ready to set the scene at dinnertime. You'll restore order to your linen closet and save minutes searching for elusive matching colors.
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.
Cassette Case as Cord Organizer
Neatly coil the cords of your small, tangle-prone cables and earbuds and tuck them into the empty plastic holder. If you have several, label each case with a sticker for clear identification. It'll be the end of crossed wires.
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.
Chip Clips as Clothes Hangers
Hold small coats in place on adult-size hangers. Use clips with rubberized grips to help items stay put. Not only will you have an organized coat closet, but you'll save money by not having to buy special kids' hangers.
Clothespin as Hanger
Use clips to prevent silky sleeveless shirts and dresses from slipping off the hanger. And you can say goodbye to wrinkled sundresses on the closet floor.
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.
Coat Rack as Jewelry Holder
Store your best-loved (and most frequently worn) necklaces and bracelets within easy reach on a wall-mounted coat rack. Bonus: they'll stay tangle-free when not decorating your neck.
Contact Lens Case as Pill Storage
Easily transport non-prescription pills without all the bottles. Pop it into your handbag and you'll have a headache remedy handy when the man in seat 7A drones on about his herniated disk. Plus you'll keep pills out of contact with everything else in your purse
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.
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.
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.
Dustpan as Toy Herder
Scoop up small toys―Lego blocks, jacks, Barbie shoes, plastic soldiers—with your dustpan and brush, so you can reclaim your living room for grown-ups.
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
Eyeglasses Case as Manicure Kit
An unused glasses case makes a convenient storage spot for nail files, clippers and other manicure essentials while on the go.
Picture Frame as Key Holder
Framed hooks will keep keys organized―and looking decorative. Eliminate the glass and paint the backing or cover it with fabric or paper. Then attach the key hooks using an extra-strong glue.
Picture Frame as Refrigerator Art
Your icebox images will pop once they’re no longer buried under lists and bills. Give them an edge by gluing magnet strips to the backs of small frames, elevating snapshots and postcards to art.
Picture Frame as an Earring Organizer
Showcase your gold hoops, pearl drops, and chandeliers with this clever caddy. Here's how to make it:
- Step 1: Gather a wooden frame (without the backing and the glass), piano wire, small eyelet hooks (two for each wire), pliers, and a ruler.
- Step 2: Mark where you want each wire to hang. Screw in the eyelet hooks. Using the pliers, pull the wire taut and twist it around the hooks.
- Step 3: Hang your earrings from the wires. Either mount the display on a wall or place it on a dresser.
Garden Hose Holder as Holiday Light Organizer
Coil strings of holiday lights round and round for knot-free hall decking. Your reward: You won’t blow a fuse trying to hang next year’s light show.