When you're spring cleaning this season, here's something new to try: Every time you come across something you want to pitch or give away, ask yourself if that item can be used in a different way.
Here are some examples of how you can repurpose common household objects, granting them a second life.
- Ice cube trays. If you have an icemaker, these may seem obsolete. But an ice cube tray can make a perfect organizer for a bathroom drawer where you store hair bands, small jewelry items, bobby pins or other tiny items that can get easily lost in a big drawer. You can also use silverware organizers for the same purpose.
- Dish soap bottles. Use an old, thoroughly cleaned dish soap bottle (or any squeeze bottle) to dole out a perfect amount of pancake batter onto a hot griddle. You can also use a squeeze bottle as a convenient way to fill an iron with water or water out-of-the-way plants.
- Egg cartons. Used egg cartons (preferably well-cleaned Styrofoam ones) are excellent for freezing individual portions of all kinds of things like cookie dough batter, meatballs or homemade herb-butter patties. They're also a great way to start seedlings for your garden or store golf balls, if you have an avid golfer in the family.
- Wine corks. When you pop open a bottle of wine, save the cork and store it in a jar of rubbing alcohol. Wine corks that have been soaked in alcohol make for a great fire starter when it comes time to use your fireplace.
- Empty tissue box. Organize those unruly plastic bags that seemingly multiply under your sink. An empty tissue box can keep bags corralled and ready to use at a moment's notice.
- Window decals. If you find some small decals stuck in a storage box that you've never used (nor will ever use), get them out and save them for your next party. You can stick them on wine or water glasses so that people can easily distinguish which glass is theirs.
- Rubber bands. Wrap them around the ends of plastic hangers so you can hang camisoles, sundresses and other slippery garments and have them stay put without falling to the closet floor.
- Used tea bags. Finally, tea drinkers have another use for their discarded tea bags. Put the damp bags in a bowl and place it in the fridge for a few days. The tea bags will absorb any odors and work much like a box of baking soda.