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10 Uses for Chopsticks

Even if you'd rather eat with a fork, these simple wood utensils are worth saving. TOH reader Christine Dinus shares some ways she puts them to use

A Reader's Recycle Idea

Photo by Ted Morrison

Who> Christine Dinus

Where> Elmira Heights, N.Y.

What> Turns Chinese takeout utensils into household helpers.

1. Skewer food

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Don't have enough bamboo skewers at your barbecue? Soak chopsticks in water for 15 minutes, then use them to spear meat and veggies, and place on the grill.

2. Prop up plants

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Poke a chopstick into the soil near a spindly seedling to give it some needed support.

3. Fill a stripped screw hole

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Dip a chopstick into a little glue and insert into the screw hole. Let dry, then break off the rest of the stick to create a new spot for driving in the screw.

Stir Paint

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Hold chopsticks as you would when eating to "whisk up" paint or stain before applying it.

5. Toast marsh-mallows

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Make the fixings for s'mores by popping a marshmallow onto the end of a chopstick and carefully holding it over

a low flame.

6. Eliminate dirt in hard-to-reach spots

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Use a chopstick to push a cleaning cloth into the top groove of a paint can, between air-conditioner vents, behind sink faucets, and in other narrow areas.

7. Unclog bottles

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Free up tubes of caulk or bottles of glue by poking the narrower end of a chopstick into the gunked-up tip.

8. Clean muddy shoes

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Keep chopsticks by your door, and use them to loosen dried dirt or mud from the crevices of shoe soles before stepping inside.

9. Prevent oozing mastic

Photo by Nancy Andrews

When tiling, use the tip of a chopstick to help clean up excess mastic that escapes into grout voids.

10. Label your plants

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Create markers by stapling a plant's seed packet to a chopstick and placing it inside the pot or bed.