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10 Uses for Old Flatware

Orphaned utensils find new purpose in performing other household functions

Life After The Dinner Table

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Don't let mismatched forks, knives, and spoons clutter up precious drawer space. Instead, try these clever reuse ideas for your orphaned utensils.

1. Smooth Grout

Photo by David Carmack

The convex side of a spoon has just the right curve for shaping grout or caulk as you press it into a seam. Coat the spoon with liquid dish soap first to prevent it from sticking.

2. Hold Finishing Nails Straight

Photo by Kolin Smith

Trap a nailhead between two tines of a fork to keep fingers out of harm's way—especially helpful when hammering trim overhead.

3. Turn Spoons Into Hooks

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Bend spoons, then screw them to a piece of vintage molding or a wall to make a hang-out for dish towels.

4. Clean a Paintbrush

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Can't find your metal brush comb? Forks are just as good at getting between the bristles and whisking out every last drop.

5. Transplant Seedlings

Photo by Comstock Images/Getty Images

Carefully lift roots from starter soil with a fork when transferring plants to the garden.

6. Use As Cabinet Pulls

Photo by courtesy of Merillat

Small spoons and forks make attractive pulls for kitchen built-ins. Cut two short pieces from a dowel to use as spacers. Place one behind each end of a utensil and bolt through the front.

7. Untangle Rug Tassels

Photo by Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

To remove snarls in the fringe of a carpet, rake through it with a fork.

8. Fix Splitting Upholstery

Photo by Lisa Marie Thompson/Getty Images

Use a butter knife to poke loose fabric and threads back in before pinning the seam and sewing it closed.

9. Scrape Away Peeling Paint

Photo by Chris Rose/Alamy

After applying a liquid or gel paint stripper and letting the surface bubble up, run a spoon along curved profiles—or a fork inside crevices—to remove layers of old paint.

10. Make Plant Markers

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Get a metal-stamping set (like Tekton 6610, $23; to emboss lightweight butter knives; stick deep into soil.