Summertime New Uses for Old Things
Oven Mitt as BBQ Utensil Holder
Slide all the utensils you'll need into an oven mitt and use the fabric loop to hang it on your grill. No more burned steaks because you forgot the meat thermometer inside.
Drink Carrier as Condiment Kit
Cart condiments to a backyard barbecue. Slot flatware, ketchup and mustard in the compartments for easy transport.
Cocktail Shaker as Iced Coffee Maker
Upgrade your ice coffee by preparing it in a martini shaker. Fill it with coffe, ice, millk, sugar and flavoring and shake for a frothy, evenly blended caffeine fix.
Clothespin as Napkin Holder
Use a clothespin to keep napkins neatly stacked at a cocktail party—or from blowing away at a picnic.
Book Cover as a Tourist Disguise
A travel guide screams "I’m lost!" but cloaking it in pretty paper or the jacket of a book in the native language will let you blend in with the locals. You'll be more likely to be asked for directions than taken for a ride.
Ice Cube Tray as Sunburn Soother
Freeze cubes of aloe vera for instant sunburn relief when you forget the SPF.
Washi Tape as Cocktail Flag
Skip drink umbrellas in favor of this low-effort DIY option. Attach decorative tape to coffee stirrers and drop into signature cocktails. Guests will, well, drink to that!
Pool Noodle as Blade Guard
To create a protective case for a saw, use the saw to shorten a pool noodle to the length of the blade, then slice a slit to the hollow core.
Scratched CD as Safety Reflector
Want drivers to see—not sideswipe—yourmailbox at night? Glue headlight-catching CDs onto its side.
Ice Cream Scoop as Sand-Castle Tool
An ice cream scoop deposits perfect domes for a Taj Mahal (or a yurt).
Metal Magazine Rack as Towel Holder
Roll pool towels and store them vertically, so your kids can grab one before taking a swim.
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.
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.
Colander as Ice Bucket
Make ice cubes last longer at your next cocktail party: Put them in a colander set into a bowl. As they melt, the water will drain through the holes instead of sitting and turning the ice to slush.
Bucket as Side Table
For more serving space (without begging and borrowing from the neighbors) top a bucket with a tray for an instant side table for your lawn chairs. Your guests will have more spots to rest their cocktails.
Candlestick as Bud Vase
Cut stems short and add water to keep blooms upright for a night. (Alas, beauty is fleeting.)
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.
Citrus Peels as Bowls
Serve sorbet in a memorable way. After juicing (or eating) grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime halves, scoop out and freeze the peels. Cut a small slice off the bottom to create a level surface (without creating a hole), then fill with ice cream.
Citrus Peel as Firestarter
Kick-start a fire with citrus peels. Leave orange or lemon peels on the counter for several days to dry out. Then use the pretty pieces as kindling in your fire pit or bonfire for a fragrant flame starter.
Croquet Wickets as Hose Stakes
Make an arched pathway from the waterspout to the flower bed, then feed the hose through the wickets. Now the hose can’t migrate and crush your impatiens.
Egg Slicer as Strawberry Dicer
Give this classic tool a permanent spot on your kitchen counter and―presto!―you'll have perfect slivers of your favorite summer foods.
Kids' Floaties as Wine Bottle Protectors
Buffer breakables in a suitcase by placing delicate items, such as wine bottles and precious trinkets, inside an inflated arm floaty, and it will shield against bumps, bruises, and breaks.
Beach Towel as Shower Curtain
Make a summery shower curtain by hanging two boldly patterned towels using clip-on drapery rings.
Cupcake Liner as Ice Cream Bowl
Serve ice cream at parties without the drips. Freeze individual scoops in liners the night before.
Shower Curtain as Picnic Blanket Liner
Do dew diligence and layer a liner underneath a picnic blanket to avoid soggy bottoms and grass or mud stains.
Sunscreen as Shaving Lotion
While a bottle of expired sunscreen will no longer protect you from UV rays, it can still protect you from razor burn. Use it when lubing up to keep legs smooth all year long.
Hose as Bucket Grip
For a handle you can comfortably handle: Snip off a section of an old garden hose, make a slit down its length, and put it over a skinny bucket wire.
Baby Oil as Tar Remover
Bare feet left with a bit of tar after a long day on the beach? Lift it off with a dose of baby oil.
Basket as Summer Carryall
When you’re ready to hit the beach, just throw everything in a large handled basket and take off. Or, for backyard barbecues, line it with a plastic garbage bag, then fill it with ice and beverages.
Ice Cream Cones as Cupcake Holders
Bake your cupcakes directly in the ice cream cones. Fill 24 flat-bottom cones two-thirds full with cake batter. Place the cones in a high-sided 9-by-13-inch baking pan and bake in two batches at 325° F for 30 minutes. Let cool, then frost with two 16-ounce cans of frosting. You can have your cake and eat its holder, too.
Kazoo as Bubble Machine
Blow your little one’s mind with this two-in-one toy. Just dip the big end into soapy water and huff and puff away for a sudsy symphony.
Mini Cooler as a Side Dish Warmer
Use a small cooler to fake a perfectly timed meal if side dishes (like corn on the cob) are ready before the main course. Simply store the early sides in the insulated case to retain their warmth.
Mitten as Sunglasses Protector
Save your shades from scratches by slipping them into a spare mitten before stashing them in your purse or glove compartment.
Play-Doh as Sparkler Holder
Prevent burned fingers by planting a sparkler’s stem in a tub of Play-Doh before lighting it.
Rubber Band as Glass Gripper
For more OJ in your child’s belly (and less on the kitchen floor) use rubber bands to provide some grip around a chilly glass so it doesn’t slip through a child’s small hands.
Sand as Candle Holders
Prevent a half-melted candle from sticking to its glass holder by filling the bottom with a layer of sand.
Tea Bag as Bug Bite Soother
A smart way to soothe itchy mosquito bites: Place a cold, used tea bag on the sting and let it sit for five minutes. Tea will help ease sunburn, too: Brew a pot and pour it into a bath of lukewarm water. Soak until you feel relief.
Toothbrush as Corn Cleaner
Use a clean toothbrush to remove stray threads of silk from freshly shucked ears of corn. The bristles will lift them away quickly and efficiently.
Toothbrush Holder as Vase
Display individual blooms (peonies and ranunculus work well) in each hole and fill with water for a foolproof, evenly spaced arrangement.
Cupcake Liner as Drip Catcher
Before serving that Popsicle, slip the stick through a foil liner to catch drips and keep hands from getting sticky.
Frisbee® as Paper Plate Holder
Don't lose your dogs! At your next barbecue, place flimsy paper plates in sturdy plastic Frisbees® so guests can better balance their meals.
Ice Cube Tray as Sundae Bar
Set up a self-serve sundae bar and let guests dish out cherries, sprinkles, crushed nuts, and other dessert toppings to their liking.
Ice Cube Tray as Paint Palette
Mix watercolors in the tray’s compartments. (There’s actually one for every color of the rainbow.)
Toothpaste as Goggle Defogger
Prevent goggles from fogging. Before hitting the pool, smear some paste onto the lenses, then wipe off.