Tennis ball with lock and keys
Photo Antonis Achilleos
Your racket may be gathering dust in the ­attic, but don’t throw away its partners in crime. Here’s how to use tennis balls without ever hitting the court.

1. Erase scuff marks. With a utility knife, cut an X in a tennis ball and slip it over the end of an old broom handle. Rub the ball over scuff marks on your wood floors; they’ll come right off.

2. Protect a padlock. Cut a slit in a tennis ball with a utility knife and slip it over an outdoor padlock to prevent water from getting into it and freezing.

3. Remove a broken lightbulb. The bulb broke off in the socket? No problem. Carefully clear away any shards of broken glass, then gently push a tennis ball against the light socket and twist it to remove the bulb’s embedded stem.

4. Cushion the blow. Cut an X in a tennis ball and slip it over the head of a hammer so you don’t ding up walls, wood, or other fragile materials while you’re pounding away.

5. Install a parking guide. Hang a tennis ball from a string from the ceiling of your garage so that the ball touches the top left corner of the windshield when your car is properly parked. Now you’ll know how far to pull in each time you come home.

6. Open a jar. Cut a tennis ball in half. Use the open end to grip and unscrew tight lids.

7. Make a hitch cover. Make a long slit in a tennis ball with a utility knife. Slide the ball over the hitch of your trailer to keep it from scratching other cars (and protect it from getting damaged).

8. Collect change for tolls. Cut a slit in a tennis ball and stash spare change inside. Keep the ball in your car so you don’t have to grope for your wallet when you’re at the tollbooth.

9. Keep a door open. Who needs a doorstop? Wedge a tennis ball between the door and the doorjamb in­stead.

10. Get a better grip. Hold a tennis ball in each hand. Squeeze and release repeatedly to strengthen your hands and arms for using tools.
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