Glass was once the king of containers. But that era died with the milkman. Today, jugs are HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, a lightweight and flexible plastic that's easily formed into a variety of shapes and sizes. When recycled, these jugs are often put to good reuse as the major ingredient in plastic lumber. But why not give a jug an extra job first? All you need is a sharp utility knife or shop scissors to cut them.

1. Scoop nails. You've dumped a coffee can full of fasteners onto your workbench in search of an elusive 10d; now clean up the mess with a milk-jug scoop. Make one by slicing a liter jug diagonally from the base of the handle to the opposing bottom corner.

2. Chill out. TOH general contractor Tom Silva fills quart jugs three-quarters full with water and freezes them to use in his job-site cooler. The contained ice won't make sand­wiches soggy, and when it melts, you have water to sip.

3. Spread salt. Slice the bottom off a capped jug and fill the top with ice-melting granules. Grip the handle and flick your wrist to toss ribbons of salt over a slippery sidewalk.

4. Get the muck out. Connecticut homeowner Rod Doble drains his small pond for the season by siphoning most of the water out with a hose and removing the dregs with a milk-jug bailer. Its flexible sides conform to the pond's irregular cement bottom.

5. Yank a commode. Plumbers use a wet/dry shop vac to suck water from the toilet tank and bowl before removing it. But bailing with a quart-size container will do the job almost as quickly. A sponge absorbs remaining moisture.

6. Start a seedling. Cut the bottom off a gallon jug and upend it to serve as a cloche. Remove the cap as needed to control temperature in the mini greenhouse.

7. Gas up. TOH master carpenter Norm Abram lops the bottom off a jug, removes the cap, then uses the funnel to pour fuel into his lawn mower.

8. Weight it down. Arizona contractor Michael Sondgeroth uses water-filled gallon jugs to hold a plywood coun­tertop substrate in place while the glue dries.

9. Shim it. Strips and squares cut from the flat side of a jug serve as moisture-proof shims or oversize washers.

10. Stymie a storm. Rope pairs of water-filled gallon jugs together and use them as anchors to hold a tarp over a small pile of firewood to keep it dry.
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