Get Creative with These 40 New Uses for Everyday Items

40 New Uses for Everyday Items40 New Uses for Everyday Items

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.

Plus: 10 Amazing Wine Cork Craft Ideas »

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.,

Plus: 16 Genius Uses for Coffee »

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,

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.

Plus: 4 More New Uses for Binder Clips »

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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