If you’ve ever been to a large hardware or kitchen supply store, you know they make a gadget for just about everything under the sun. You can buy a plastic mold that cuts a stick of butter into even-sized pats, or an attachment for your vacuum cleaner that cleans mini-blinds. Well, since we’re pretty cheap *ahem*, I mean frugal around here, we like to find multi-purposes for common household items and save the money that might have been spent on specialty items. Here are a few of my favorites.
Uncommon Uses for Common Items
1. Butter Knife – The handy kitchen butter knife is quite the versatile tool around the house. It works surprisingly well as a screwdriver in a pinch, and when inserted into the end of a curtain rod, makes your curtains slide on like, well, butter. No more bunching and fighting with fabric over those sharp edges.
2. Hairspray – I like to use hairspray as an alternative to bug spray in the house. Just one squirt sends bees or flies spiraling to the ground. I’m not sure if their wings stick together, if it seals up their skin so they can’t breath, or if the stuff is poison (I’ve heard all three reasons). But using hairspray is still preferable to chemical bug killers. A few squirts of hairspray also helps get ink and lipstick stains out of clothing.
3. WD-40 – Great for squeaky door hinges, but it also takes bubble gum and taffy out of carpets or hair, and it cleans soap scum like nobody’s business (great for glass shower doors). You can also pre-treat your dishes and glassware with a few squirts in the dishwasher to remove soap buildup.
4. Plastic Bread Ties – You know those seemingly useless split plastic squares that hold the bread bag closed? Those little clips are great for reinforcing the thong on your flip-flops. Just secure to the underside (sole) where the thong goes through the shoe and no more broken flip-flops!
5. Dryer Lint – Yes, I said dryer lint – the stuff that collects in the dryer screen is actually quite useful. We use it as fire-starter for the wood burner in the winter, and for campfires in the summer. This is also why you need to clean the dryer screen, vent opening, and vent hose often to keep the stuff from igniting and burning your house down.
6. Dryer Sheets – Dryer sheets have lots of uses (even after they’ve a had a tumble with your clothes), but one of my favorite uses is as a bug repellent. Tuck a sheet in your back pocket and one under your ball cap to help deter biting insects and flies while outdoors. Dryer sheets are also great for dusting furniture and discouraging household pests from taking up residence in used rooms and crawlspaces.
7. Milk Jugs and 2-Liter Soda Bottles – These plastic containers make excellent portable greenhouses for your garden plants. Just cut off the spout and place over plants to protect from frost or harsh storms.
There are literally unlimited uses for common household items. What great tips do you have for using ordinary household items in unconventional ways?