Things to Do With
There are lots of creative uses for common household items. They can be re-used in different places or in unusual ways. They may even be recycled into various other forms. Some objects may become craft projects. Try some of the multiple uses of the items on this page. I've included a variety of ideas for both kids and adults.
ADDRESS STICKERS - use as identification labels on eyeglass cases, lunch boxes, books, and school supplies.
ALUMINUM FOIL - make shiny placemats and wrapping paper; crumple up to scrub pots, grill, or chrome bumpers; cut through several layers of foil to sharpen scissors.
BABY FOOD JARS - use them to store nails, screws, etc.; or as take-along containers to fill with raisins, Cheerios, etc.
BABY WIPE BOXES - store small items; Chubs brand make great building blocks.
BABY WIPES - use for wiping off appliances and countertops, dusting off shelves, polishing shoes, scrubbing sticky spots on the floor, smudges off walls, etc.
BERRY BASKETS - use next to sink for holding soaps and sponges; turn upside down to make cages for toy animals; place in drawers for storing small items; line with colored plastic wrap and fill with homemade cookies or candies.
BROWN PAPER BAGS - use to ripen fruit in; make into book covers and masks.
BUTTONS - make eyes for puppets and rag dolls; use as board game pieces and math manipulatives for counting/sorting games.
CARPET SCRAPS - use as doormats; attach around an upright board to make a cat's scratching post; muffle the sounds of noisy appliances and equipment by putting carpet scraps under them.
CLOTHESPINS - hold vine stems to trellises; attach labels to potted plants; make a quick child's bib by clipping a dishcloth to their shirt; use to hold coupons when shopping by clipping them onto the cart; use as a note holder; hold curtains back; hold song books open; keep bags of chips closed.
COLANDERS - old ones are good sandbox toys; colorful plastic ones are fun tub toys.
DENTAL FLOSS - use as a substitute for heavy thread; string beads or re-string necklaces; hang mobiles or sun catchers.
EGG CARTONS - use to store Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, or small rock samples; use as lightweight, crush-resistant packaging for small breakables; remove the top, number the holes, and make into a tossing or sorting game.
FABRIC SOFTENER SHEETS - rub on surfaces to reduce static cling and keep dust from settling; put in car to give a fresh scent; lay a long sheet across a clothes closet bar to eliminate musty smells; place in shoes overnight to get rid of odors; use to polish chrome faucets; put across air registers to act as filters and room fresheners; place between stored blankets or inside packed-away luggage.
FILM CANISTERS - put one in the car to hold quarters for parking meters; use to hold coins, buttons, pins, etc.
HEFTY TRASH BAGS - cut slits in it for head and arms, and keep in the car as an emergency raincoat; cut a slit it the top and use as a dustcover for clothes.
HOSES - punch some holes in an old leaky garden hose to make a lawn/garden soaker.
ICE CUBE TRAY - molded plastic ones are good containers for small jewelry and trinkets; freeze pureed baby food and store the frozen cubes in a plastic bag until needed; have fresh lemon juice all year long by freezing the juice in ice cube trays and stored in plastic bags.
KITTY LITTER - spread on bottom of rabbit, hamster or gerbil cages; absorb oil and transmission fluid leaks in garage or driveway; put a layer in the bottom of garbage pails; fill a nylon stocking foot with cat litter, tie it up, and place in stinky sneakers.
KLEENEX BOXES - stuff with plastic grocery bags to pull out as needed; use as stackable storage boxes for small items.
LAUNDRY BASKET - use for collecting and storing toys.
MAGNETS - use for holding pins, needles, tweezers, nail files, etc. in sewing kit or bathroom; tack recipe cards or notes to refrigerator, metal doors, exhaust fan hoods.
MESH BAGS - hang in showers to hold soaps, shampoo, sponges, etc.; hang over bathtubs for drip-drying toys; use to carry collected rocks and shells; crumple up and make into pot scrubbers.
OVEN MITTS - use old ones as pruning gloves; use for gripping pineapple when cutting it; wear when rummaging through the freezer; wear when changing hot light bulbs or when ironing.
PAINT BRUSHES - use for dusting delicate knick-knacks, wicker baskets, rattan furniture, louvered doors, computer keyboards, ornate carvings, and silk plants.
PAPER CLIPS - hold pleats in place when ironing; replace zipper pulls; attach a pretty ribbon to a paper clip to make a bookmark.
PAPER TOWEL TUBES - store kids' drawings, diplomas, documents, and other papers inside tubes to keep from getting wrinkled (write what's in it on the outside); re-roll wrapping paper inside a cardboard tube once you've opened it.
PILLOWCASES - use to store and carry sleeping bags; use for putting delicate items in the wash; use king size ones as bassinet sheets; use for small children's sack races.
PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS - hang over doorknob of utility cabinet or broom closet to hold cans for recycling; use as garbage pail or wastebasket liners; use as shoe covers for walking in the mud; keep some in the car for trash bags or motion sickness bags; crumple up and use as padding around fragile objects when packing boxes.
PLASTIC LIDS - cut in half and use as scrapers; use as coasters, spoon rests, saucers under small potted plants, drip catchers under paint cans, mini Frisbees, etc.
RUBBER BANDS - stretch a large rubber band around the completed part of a book for a bookmark that won't fall out.
SALT - pour salt water on stubborn weeds to keep them from growing back.
SHEETS - use colorful designer sheets as picnic or party tablecloths; make into curtains; stitch two sheets together on three sides to make a blanket or comforter cover; use old sheets to cover plants in winter.
SOCKS - use over ladder ends to avoid marring walls; wear on hands for polishing brass and silver; use old cotton socks as dusting or cleaning cloths; wipe dust off clotheslines before hanging clothes; pack shoes in old socks when traveling; cut and make into wrist sweat bands or knee pads; make into sock puppets.
SPONGES - use to line soap dishes; for texturing paint; make into cookie cutter shapes for bath time play.
STRAWS - make into magic wands, or stems for homemade flowers.
TENNIS BALLS - tie a tennis ball in an old sock for a dog toy; for a foot massage, step on a tennis ball on the floor and roll your foot around on it; put 3 or 4 tennis balls in the dryer with your down coat, sleeping bag, or comforter to help fluff the down.
TOOTHBRUSHES - use old toothbrushes to clean artificial flowers and plants, combs, shower door tracks, crevices between tiles, around faucets and telephones.
TOOTHPASTE - use to polish faucets and sinks; scrub crayon marks off walls; remove stubborn smells from hands; fill little holes in walls; rub on ink spots and stains; hang posters with a dab of toothpaste in each corner instead of nails or thumbtacks.
TOOTHPICKS - make mini Popsicle sticks or skewers; dab glue or paint on small areas.
TOWELS - use colorful beach towels as seat covers or crib blankets; use old towels to wash and dry floors by letting the kids "skate" around with them; use to quickly dust table and dresser tops; use as crumb catchers under high chairs.
TWIST TIES - hang Christmas ornaments; shorten long cords by wrapping up the extra length; color code keys; tie up plant stems.
VINYL TABLECLOTHS - use as waterproof mattress pads; cut to make shelf liners; cover grills and patio furniture.
WASH CLOTHS - use as napkins, bibs, cleaning and dusting cloths.
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These pages are a continuous work in progress.
These pages are a continuous work in progress.