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Products That Pull Extra Shifts

Marking items off your household to-do list can be a snap when you know alternate uses for common kitchen products. Before you toss packaging, paper products, or bent utensils in the garbage, find out if there's another way you can make use of castoff cookspace items. You'll soon find that these clever recycling tips are good for the planet—and your wallet, too.

Use Wine Bottles to Create a Festive Light Display

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Feed a 50-light string (get the kind with just one plug) into a hole drilled in a bottle's side. We used a ¾-inch tile bit, then enlarged and smoothed the hole with a conical grinding stone.

See the nine other Uses for Empty Wine Bottles.

Use Yogurt Cups to Catch Paint Drips

Photo by Tina Rupp

Cut a hole in a lid large enough for a paintbrush handle. Slip the handle through the opening, and paint mess-free.

See the nine other Uses for Yogurt Cups.

Use Vinegar to Revive Old Paintbrushes

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Soak gunked-up nylon brushes in hot vinegar for up to 30 minutes to remove paint and soften the bristles. Afterward, wash them in hot, soapy water, brushing off paint as needed, then rinse and let dry—good as new.

See the nine other Uses for Vinegar.

Use Aluminum Foil to Sharpen Scissors

Photo by Laura Moss

Fold a sheet of foil several times and cut through it with a pair of dull scissors to sharpen the blades.

See the nine other Uses for Aluminum Foil.

Use Sponges to Keep Water-Loving Plants Moist

Photo by Ian Spanier

Place a sponge in the bottom of a planter before adding soil, to keep water in reserve.

See the nine other Uses for Sponges.

Collect Fallen Hardware With Magnets

Collect nails from a porch repair job that have fallen in the grass.

See the nine other Uses for Magnets.

Use Coffee Filters to Keep Windows Clear

Photo by Laura Moss

Spray panes with glass cleaner, then wipe away with a doubled-up coffee filter. No lint, no streaks.

See the nine other Uses for Coffee Filters.

Use Plastic Bags to Apply Waxes and Creams

Photo by Matthew Benson

Use a bag as a mitt to spread furniture wax or polish. Then buff to a shiny finish using a soft, dry cloth.

See the nine other Uses for Plastic Bags.

Use Chopsticks to 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.

See the nine other Uses for Chopsticks.

Remove Tape Residue With Baking Soda

Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub the paste onto bits of tape stuck to windows, then wipe clean.

Uses for Baking Soda.

Use a Plastic Milk Jug to 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.

See the nine other Uses for Milk Jugs.

Store a Paint Roller Overnight With Plastic Wrap

Wrap a wet paint roller several times in close-fitting plastic wrap and stash it in the fridge. The paint will stay fresh for the next day's use.

See the nine other Uses for Plastic Wrap.

Use an Old Fork to Clean a Paintbrush

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

See more :

7 Charming Home DIY Change-Ups on The Cheap

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Use Mayonnaise to Erase Crayon from Walls

Photo by Laura Moss

Coat doodles on surfaces covered with scrubbable paint. After a few minutes, wipe off the mayo and crayon marks with a damp cloth.

See the nine other Uses for Mayonnaise.

Create Baseboard With Wine Corks

Glue corks side by side onto a base of ¼-inch MDF and cut along the long ends with a saw to an even height. Attach strips of ¾-inch molding to the top and bottom, and nail the strip of corks to the base of your walls.

See the nine other Uses for Wine Corks.

Use Coffee Grounds to Fortify Plants

Photo by Laura Moss

Give seedlings a nitrogen boost by stirring grounds into soil or a watering can.

See the nine other Uses for Coffee Grounds.

Organize Fasteners With an Egg Carton

Use your cartons as repositories for screws and bolts removed during appliance or other household repairs. Numbering the cups ensures proper reassembly.

See the nine other Uses for an Egg Carton.

Use Vodka to Stop Odors

Photo by Don Penny/Time Inc. Digital Studio

Boots smelling ripe? Spritz the insides with diluted vodka; let dry. No more odor.

See the nine other Uses for Vodka.

Start a Camp Fire With Steel Wool

Touching the terminals of a 9-volt battery to a wad of steel wool can spark a campfire.

See the nine other Uses for Steel Wool.

Use Wax Paper to Deflect Dust

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Place a layer of wax paper on top of upper kitchen cabinets where dust and grease particles gather. Every few months, switch out the paper for a fresh sheet.

See the nine other Uses for Wax Paper.

Free Frozen Nuts With Beeswax

Help loosen a rusted nut by lubricating the bolt's threads with melted wax.

See the nine other Uses for Beeswax.

Use Chopsticks to Stir Paint

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

See more :

7 Charming Home DIY Change-Ups on The Cheap

Pay Less for Home Remodel Supplies

Trade Secrets for Easy, Low-Cost Upgrades

How to Know Whether to Repair or Replace