double duty household items

Kitchen and Laundry items:

Dryer sheets repel mice and bugs so use them in linen closets, cedar closets, blanket chests and anyplace you store textiles. Used dryer sheets make great dusters.

Table salt soaks up stains on fabrics and removes stains on metal.  Pour salt over the fabric stain, pat it in, let it dry and brush or vacuum off.  Use salt to clean stained coffee carafes or thermoses.  Sprinkle salt into the stained container, add warm water, swirl around and let sit for a little while.

Use salt to polish copper.  Make a paste of salt and white vinegar, rub it onto the copper with a paper towel, then rinse.  Use salt as an exfoliate for hands.  Take a handful of salt, add a little liquid soap and slough off anything on your hands.

Press a chilled spoon against your eyelids to remove puffiness.

Rice placed in salt shakers in humid weather will prevent the salt from clumping.

Tea tins make colorful vases.  Several grouped together looks great.

Tiered dessert stand – Given too many as wedding presents?  Use one for your jewelry.  Rings, bracelets and necklaces stay organized and untangled.

Baking soda and white vinegar are great to put through a garbage disposal to eliminate odors and clogs.

Marshmallows – Put a couple into your bag of brown sugar to keep it moist and loose.

Chopsticks – Take all the unused chopsticks from the Chinese take-out and arrange them side-by-side on the table as a trivet.  Use a pair to fish the bay leaves out of your stew.

Paper towel tubes – Use to store and dispense plastic bags.

Lemon juice and baking soda – Use juice from one fresh lemon with a tablespoon of baking soda to clean discolored Tupperware. Add enough water to the mixture to cover the stain in the Tupperware and let soak overnight.

Cooking Spray – Before you scratch the paint off your car when de-icing, spray both sides of your shovel or scraper and the snow and ice should slide off smoothly.

Lemons – Rub lemon juice on your hands to remove fish or onion smells. Add ½ cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle to brighten laundry. Rub lemon around faucets that have lime scale and let sit overnight. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice  to dish washing detergent to increase its grease-cutting ability.

Metal mini-tart tins – Make lovely and unusual votives for tea lights.

double duty household items

Trays – Trays are great for neatening up collections of small items.  I use a small silver one on my sink for safety pins, stray buttons and other junk, and a pretty painted metal one on my bureau for perfume bottles.  Use a large one inside the back door to collect wet boots or umbrellas.

Bathroom items:

A Hair straightener can perform double duty when traveling as a clothing iron.

Antiperspirant can be used to stop shaving nicks from bleeding.  Put some on your finger and press finger onto the cut.  The aluminum chloride derivatives shrink blood vessels.

Toothpaste relieves the pain of bee stings, polishes silver, and zaps zits – put a dot on before bed and the toothpaste will dry out the pimple.

Petroleum jelly – Using a very thin layer on your  cuticles before painting your nails will keep stray nail polish from staying on your skin.  Know someone who fell asleep with gum in their mouth?  Rub a scoop of petroleum jelly onto the gum and surrounding hair – the gum should slip off.  Use petroleum jelly on drawers or doors that squeak.

Items from around the house:

Newspapers absorb odors in the bottom of garbage cans.  Ball a few sheets up and put into stinky sneakers to absorb odors and moisture.

Re-use business card magnets – Glue your own photos over the magnet.

Paint chip samples – Cut the samples to whatever size you want, fold them over and use as place cards.

Lucite or plastic picture frames will hold recipes upright – both recipe cards and those pages you have torn out of magazines.  Not only are your recipes protected, but they can be read more easily.

Button bags – Those little plastic bags with extra buttons for new clothes  can be used for vitamins and any other medications when traveling.

Paper bags – Cut the corners from discarded paper bags to use as page savers instead of bookmarks.  They won’t fall out!

Plastic newspaper bags – It’s wasteful to pitch out the bags our newspapers are delivered in.  Instead, use them to: collect trash in the car, cover a bandage when showering, collect lint in the laundry room, or scoop up dog poop.