New Year’s New Uses
Jewelry Box as Coaster
A pretty jewelry box top is the perfect size for most wine glasses. Decorate the inside or add some confetti for a party.
CD Sleeve as Confetti Holder
Has your iPod player rendered that stack of CDs useless? Collect the spare sleeves, fill with confetti, and pass out to guests so they’re prepared to send off the happy couple.
Cornstarch as Makeup Protector
Balance the oiliness of moisturizing makeup. Brush on a thin layer as a finishing touch.
Buttons as Appetizer Stand
Here's a fanciful and fun way to serve cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes, and more: Place large buttons on a tray, spear the hors d'oeuvres with toothpicks, then anchor the toothpick ends in the buttons' holes.
Party Hat as Confetti Holder
Hang party hats upside down and fill with colorful ready-to-be-thrown confetti.
Q-Tip as Makeup Brush
Artfully dab on costume makeup without getting your good makeup brushes dirty.
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!
Felt Pads as Clothing Securer
Help strappy garments stay on hangers. Affix a circle to each end.
Deodorant as Blister Preventer
Make breaking shoes in less of a pain. Rub clear-gel deodorant on spots prone to blistering before you step out in a stiff new pair.
Wrapping Paper as Napkin Ring
Cut even strips of leftover wrapping paper, wrap around a napkin, and affix with tape. There’s no easier—or cheaper—way to dress up place settings.
Baby Oil as Necklace Detangler
Rub a few drops of baby oil into each knot and work them gently free with a straight pin.
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.
Nail Polish as Snag Preventer
Keep a snag in your stockings from growing by dabbing it with clear nail polish.
Pencil Eraser as Earring Securer
If the backing for one of your studs goes AWOL, slice off a disk-shaped wedge from an eraser. The earring will stay put, even if your pencil looks denuded.
Salt as Wine Chiller
Chill a bottle of bubbly fast. Place ice around the bottle’s base in a bucket and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of salt. Repeat, layering ice and salt up to the bottle’s neck. Fill with water, wait 10 minutes, and serve.
Clip-On Earrings as Shoe Embellishments
Channel Grandma’s style and update plain white wedding shoes (or everyday ballet flats) with a funky pair of clip-on earrings. Attach them to the shoes at the center (or slightly off center), and let your fancy footwork peek out from under your gown. You'll be able to update your bejeweled flats as quickly as you change your mood.
Duct Tape as Shoe Soles
Tape a piece onto each sole of new, slippery shoes for added traction.
Plastic Easter Eggs as DIY Maracas
Fill emptied plastic eggs with puffed rice cereal and silver-ball cake decorations to make impromptu maracas for kids.
Cold Compress as Wine Chiller
Get that bottle of Pinot Grigio to the perfect temperature by wrapping it in a cold compress or ice pack.
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.
Window Decals as Drink Markers
Decorate (and distinguish) wine or water glasses at your next get-together with removable window decals.
Courtesy of reader Linda Winterhoff of Williamsburg, Virginia
Cloth Napkins as Coasters
When cloth napkins become overly stained, cut them into 5½ inch squares with pinking shears, and let them protect your tables at parties. To make a longer-lasting version, lay a napkin flat on a piece of felt and use the shears to cut the square out of both pieces of fabric. Apply fabric glue to the edges and across the middle of the felt piece, then press the napkin to the felt.
Washing Machine as Drink Chiller
Fill the tub with ice and extra bottles of beer and wine so you don't have to empty the refrigerator to make room for party supplies. Bonus: The melted ice neatly drains right through the machine's holes.
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.
Lollipops as Cocktail Stirrers
Look for traditional lollipops in colors that complement your drinks. Lime-flavored stirrers give vodka tonics an extra burst of flavor. It's an inner-child twist to a distinctly grown-up beverage (and fodder for cocktail-party small talk).
CD as Drink Coaster
Stop wet glasses from leaving messy tracks on the tabletop. Truth is, some CDs are more useful as coasters.
Raisin as Champagne Restorer
Drop a raisin into the open bottle a few minutes before pouring and any last gasps of carbon dioxide that are left in the wine will stick to the raisin’s ridged surface, then release again as tiny bubbles. A little more sparkle to lift your spirits.
Wine Glasses as Candle Holders
Elevate tealights or plain votives. Place a candle in a thick-walled glass and anchor it with a thin layer of sand or small pebbles for more elegant mood lighting.
Electrical Tape as Cup Labels
Avoid drink mix-ups by color-coding cups with electrical tape at a birthday party.
Mold Ice With a Bundt Pan
Give a punch bowl an elegant (and functional) touch with this floating ice sculpture. Simply fill the cake pan with water (or nonalcoholic punch), freeze, and pop out before serving.
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.
Champagne Flutes as Candle Stands
If you find yourself with a mismatched collection―or without bubbly―flip thick-walled Champagne flutes upside down to create a beautiful grouping of candle stands for a shelf or a mantel. Use heavy wineglasses for table centerpieces, as the wider mouths will provide more stability to withstand bumping.
Cake Stand as Candle Holder
Create a candle centerpiece to light up your wedding (or you dinner table) by using cake stands as platforms for votive and pillar candles in assorted sizes.
Cake Stand as Appetizer Server
To cut down on waiting time for hors d’oeuvres, stack a small cake stand on top of a larger one to increase your surface area for canapés or crudités and free up precious table space.
Wine Cork As Utensil Rest
Minimize countertop mess (and justify a predinner drink) by using a cork to elevate the necks of dirty spatulas and spoons.
Beer Can as Noise Maker
Cut down on drinking? You can still start 2012 off with a bang—or at least a rattle. Drop a dozen coins into a clean, empty beer can and seal the opening with tape. When the clock strikes 12, shake some noise.
CD as Invitation
Make jazzy (or rockin’) invitations. Jot down party details on the shiny side and mail the CD out in a cushioned envelope (postage: about a dollar).
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.
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.
Aluminum Foil as Party Garland
Twist foil into links to make a sparkly garland for an almost-instant party decoration (or a rainy-day distraction for the kids).
Sugar as Lip Scrub
Perfect your pucker. Make a paste of sugar and petroleum jelly and gently brush on dry, peeling lips with a toothbrush until they are smooth.
Sandpaper as Sole Scuffer
Fall for new shoes, not in them. Rub medium-grit sandpaper over the bottoms to give slippery soles some traction.
Confetti as Packing Material
Don't ditch excess confetti or shredded paper. Use it to cushion breakable items so they arrive in one piece.
Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123
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
Double-Sided Tape as Hem Securer
Fix a fallen hem when there’s no time for a trip to the tailor.
Hairspray as Static Stopper
Banish static cling in the winter with a quick spritz of hairspray on the areas that are bunching.
Dryer Sheet as Static Stopper
Stop static cling on clothes—or tame flyaway hair—by rubbing a sheet over the problem area.
Flat Iron as Touch-Up Iron
No time to drag out your iron and ironing board? A straightening iron works perfectly between buttons where a regular iron doesn’t fit. And it smooths collar creases and minor wrinkles. So you can look perfectly pressed when you're pressed for time.
Martini Shaker as Glitter Dispenser
Add a twist to craft time by using a shaker to dispense glitter.
Petroleum Jelly as Mascara
Give eyelashes new luster by brushing them with a bit of petroleum jelly for an instant length-enhancing shine.
Cooking Spray as Manicure Setter
Set a manicure in record time. Lightly mist freshly painted nails for instant smudge protection.
Peppermint Tin as Tissue Holder
Fold a packet inside the tin to keep tissues dry and intact in your purse or beach bag.
Cotton Swab as Travel Makeup Kit
Make an on-the-go cosmetics kit by applying a bit of your favorite eye shadow, concealer, and lip gloss to the ends of cotton swabs and stashing them in a plastic bag in your purse.
Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo
Fake freshly washed hair by sprinkling powder on, then comb through down to the roots.
Cork as Earring Holder
Marry pairs of earrings. Stick the posts into a cork to keep them together.
Rubber Band as Earring Backing
When you’ve lost (another) backing to the Bermuda Triangle of jewelry, mosey on over to the junk drawer and cut out a small square from a thick rubber band.
Matchbook as Emery Board
Fix a chipped nail by running the jagged edge along the strike pad to smooth it out.
Hair Spray as Lipstick Stain Remover
Kiss that smudge of Really Red good-bye. If the fabric is machine washable, saturate the spot with hair spray, let it sit for 10 minutes, then dab with a damp cloth or sponge to remove. Launder as usual to wash out any residual stain and spray.
Conditioner as Shaving Cream
Lighten your carry-on load and sub conditioner for shaving cream.
Oven Mitt as Heat Guard
When you don’t have time to let your styling tool cool (say, you’re headed for the airport or going straight to work from the gym), stash it in a heat-resistant mitt before packing it up.
Cooking Oil as Shoe Polish
Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, then apply a small drop of oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks.
Wine Bottle as Boot Supporter
Preserve the shape of tall leather boots by placing a bottle into each one's shaft for reinforcement.
Sock as Wine Bag
Slip a (clean) patterned kneesock over the bottom of a bottle, then knot the top to create a decorative carrier. Better yet, offer your hostess two bottles so she can later enjoy toasty toes.
Ribbon as Cuff Link
When you’re wearing a French-cuffed shirt, substitute a snip of ribbon for cuff links to keep your sleeves closed. Just slide a piece of ribbon through and tie a knot on each end. They’ll stop your arms from getting a chill and add a little color to a wardrobe staple.
Hair Dryer as Mirror Defogger
After a steamy shower, clear the bathroom mirror with a quick blast of hot or cold air.
Denture Tablet as Wineglass Cleaner
Do away with red-wine dregs in goblets. Fill the glass with warm water, drop in a tablet, and let it dissolve.
Clothespin as Napkin Holder
Use a clothespin to keep napkins neatly stacked at a cocktail party—or from blowing away at a picnic.
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.
Balloon as Flower Preserver
A leftover backyard-party balloon will help keep freshly cut flowers from wilting when you’re bringing them to a friend’s house. Fill the balloon with a bit of water, then slip the opening over the stems.