Turn common household products into hardworking multitaskers with these clever ideas.
Try a New Use for: Paper Clips
1. Make a phone stand: Use this holder to prop up your smartphone so you can enjoy a video with friends or read a recipe while cooking. Start with a jumbo paper clip and straighen out all the bends. Bend in half, like a hairpin. Measure 1 1/4" down from the bend, and bend each leg forward. Measure another 1 1/4" down and bend each leg forward again. Place on a table and set your phone in it on its side.
2. Fix a zipper: If you are missing the pull tab on a zipper, thread a paper clip through the zipper loop.
3. Repair eyeglasses: Tighten or loosen the arms of your glasses by using the tip of the clip as a screwdriver.
4. Unclog spray bottles: Get rid of the gunk by inserting the end of a clip into the spray hole.
5. Correct a wardrobe malfunction: Should your skirt or pants hem come undone during the day, use a paper clip to hold it up until you have time to fix it.
Try a New Use for: Wine Bottles
6. Roll out dough: Empty or full, the bottle does the trick.
7. Paint them pretty: "I spray-paint wine bottles and use them as vases or candleholders." -Scottica Rapp, 33, Charleston, S.C.
Try a New Use for: Toothpaste
8. Spackle your walls: Use white toothpaste to fill in small nail holes.
9. Soothe bug bites: Rub a dab onto itchy spots for quick relief.
10. Clean sneakers: Scrub white leather sneakers with an old toothbrush and toothpaste.
11. Banish odors: After chopping garlic or onions, use a small amount on hands to eliminate any lingering odor.
12. Remove water rings: Rub paste onto the wood with a soft cloth. Then wipe with a damp one.
13. Brighten jewelry: Give metal a shine by applying paste and buffing with a clean, dry cloth.
14. Scrub hands: "I wash my hands with toothpaste to remove ink stains." -Kaley Ehret, 38, Talford, Pa.
Try a New Use for: Coffee Filters
15. Craft a wreath: Mix 1 tsp. acrylic paint into 1 cup of water; stir. Dip filters into dye, wring out and let dry. Stack 2 filters. Make a fist with your left hand. Push center of filters into center of fist. Open fist, twist center of flower, and hot-glue twisted end to wreath form. Repeat until form is covered.
16. Line planters: Place at the bottom of a houseplant container to prevent soil from leaking out of the drainage hole.
17. Keep the microwave clean: "When I'm heating up food in the microwave, I cover it with a filter. It's the perfect size to fit over a bowl and prevent messes." -Lauren Greutman, 32, Syracuse, N.Y., iamthatlady.com
Try a New Use for: Straws
18. Core strawberries: Cut off the top of each strawberry, then push the end of a straw in and pull out to remove the core.
19. Keep food fresher: Put food inside a storage bag, seal nearly all the way, then stick a straw in and suck air out. Remove straw, sealing quickly. The lack of air helps leftovers and produce last longer.
20. Rethread drawstrings: "Pull the string out, tape it to the straw and slide the straw through the hem pocket." -Anna Hines, 27, Charlotte, N.C.
Try a New Use for: Socks
21. Make a koozie: Cut off the ankle portion of a sock and slip it over a bottled or canned beverage to keep it insulated.
22. Style your locks: "Wrap sections of damp hair around a sock and tie the ends together. Leave in overnight; remove in the a.m. for nice waves." -Tina Butler, 47, Royse City, Texas, mommyskitchen.net
Try a New Use for: Tinfoil
23. Sharpen scissors: Use scissors to cut a few strips of foil and - voila! - no more dull blades.
24. Scour pots and pans: "If you run out of scrubbing pads, try using crumpled-up foil instead. It works great on baked-on foods and is a good way to reuse foil." -Michelle Murray, 40, Clarion, Pa.
Try a New Use for: Binder Clips
25. Money clip: Fold bills and clip them together to keep them neat and organized.
26. Corral cables: Attach an extra-large binder clip to the back of a desk or table, then thread a charger cord through the handle to prevent multiple cords from getting tangled.
27. Cover razors: To prevent accidents, clip over your shaving razor when storing or packing for travel.
28. Squeeze toothpaste: As you roll the tube, secure the end with a binder clip to help ensure that you get every last bit.
29. Hold a wet sponge: Place the flat part of a clip on a counter with the handles pointing up. Wedge the sponge between the handles.
Try a New Use For: Baby Wipes
30. Shine leather: Bring out the luster in your leather goods, including bags, shoes and even sofas, with a quick pass of an alcohol-free wipe. Be sure to test the wipe first in an inconspicuous spot.
31. Clean your cell phone: Keep harsh chemicals away from your skin by wiping down everything but your screen with baby wipes.
Try a New Use for: Newspaper
32. Wrap a gift: Choose an appropriate section or article, like the comics or horoscope, to give a present a touch of whimsy.
33. Dry shoes: Leather shoes got soaked in a rainstorm? Place a few crumpled pieces inside overnight to help soak up the moisture.
34. Keep the produce bin clean: Line it with newspaper to absorb spills and prevent caked-on messes.
35. Fend off frost: Lay a few sheets over your car's windshield and secure overnight with the wipers - you won't have to de-ice in the morning!
36. Eliminate odors: Place small balled pieces inside plastic food containers and let them sit for a day to remove bad smells.
37. Stop stray shoots: "Lay wet newspaper in the garden, then cover with a thin layer of dirt. The paper keeps weeds from sprouting. When planting bulbs, make sure you leave a large hole so the plants can grow." -Kelsey Apley, 29, Larned, Kan.
Try a New Use for: Aspirin
38. Stain remover: Make a paste of two aspirin and warm water, then use it to presoak clothing for two hours.
Try a New Use for: Bananas
39. DVD repair kit: In a circular motion, rub a scratched DVD with a piece of banana. Spray with glass cleaner; wipe clean.
Try a New Use for: a Bowl
40. DIY speakers: Place your iPhone or iPod in a bowl or glass to amplify the sound.
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