off-label uses for household items?
September 26, 2019 10:11 PM   Subscribe

What household items do you use not for their intended purpose? A friend recently showed me how to juice a lemon using a pair of tongs as the reamer. A Platypus Big Zip hydration bladder makes a great (and huge) ice pack. Shoes make great valet trays; you might forget your keys, but you'll soon realize if you've left the house without your shoes.

Note: I'm looking for workflows that re-purpose common objects with minimal modification. Not interested in DIY MacGuyver stuff.

I'm often partial to things where one can forego a single-purpose tool with a more general tool and a bit of skill.
posted by meaty shoe puppet to Home & Garden (83 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm watching this question with great interest.

Recently for me:

Empty 750ml pop bottle - fantastic egg separator.

Unbent paper clip: Phone reset poker-er.

Brown paper lunch bag - microwave air popped popcorn popper.

Soap - Beard hair trimming sink picker upper ( rub soap on toilet paper, wipe up remaining trimmings, rinse off soap )

Nothing earth shattering, sadly...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:19 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


i use a cheap little side-of-the-sink suction cup sponge holder stuck on the wall above the bathroom sink as a hook to hold my spare glasses in a place where i can find them blind. it's like the cheapest crappiest one you can possibly buy but it's done it's job for like 10 years now.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 PM on September 26 [9 favorites]


A couple faves:

- Rubber bands, for opening jars: wrap the rubber band around the jar lid, gives you a better grip for getting that pasta sauce freed.

- Binder clips, for closing up non-resealable bags in a pinch to save the rest for later, e.g. bags of chips or crackers. Roll up the top of the bag, clip it closed.
posted by rather be jorting at 10:25 PM on September 26 [14 favorites]


Pillowcase: great for holding the top&bottom sheets, other pillowcases- so you have all the set ready to go when you make the bed.
posted by freethefeet at 11:16 PM on September 26 [16 favorites]


Ice Cream Maker as Frozen Margarita Machine.
posted by nikaspark at 11:20 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


I'm writing a screen play where in one scene character casually uses a bacon grease spatter screen as a coffee filter. I don't recommend this, but it works really well in the fictional scenario I'm writing.
posted by nikaspark at 11:29 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I don't like to hang my shower pouf next to the faucet where it can get all mildewy. Instead, I use plastic hanging clothespins like this one to hang it from the shower curtain rings, or the rod itself.

Speaking of pillow cases, I use them to keep my dirty clothes separate when traveling.

Plastic bubble mailers: I try to avoid these because they aren't recyclable in my area, but when I do come across one, I save them for when I break a glass - quick and easy disposal of the shards.

Post-Its: I cut a small square from the sticky side, and use it to cover the webcam on my MacBook.
posted by invisible ink at 11:33 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Ice cube trays make great storage for earrings.
There dozens of uses for mason jars.
I keep a rubber footed cane behind the wood stove to turn off/on the fan switch that is on a too short cord.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:45 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I use an old 8x10" picture frame to make cyanotype contact print sheets of negatives. It's not as good as a purpose-built contact printing frame, but it does the job for me.

I've seen photographic developing tanks, minus reels, used for making cocktails in. Personally, I think it's a really bad idea given the toxicity of developer and fixer. But physically, it's designed for agitating liquids, so it works perfectly.

I've read that now the cooking fad has passed, a lot of people have bought secondhand sous-vide cookers to use with a bucket as temperature control for home developing colour film, for which you really need to be within 0.5ºC.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:46 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Gotta hanging wardrobe shoe holder I use for leggings.

Milk/coke bottle caps - with the underside of little plastic nubs - are perfect for cleaning under your nails. Matchboxes make good nail files, too.

Wine bottles do the job of rolling pins!
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:31 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


A grapefruit spoon is great for all sorts of culinary scraping applications: removing the fuzzy "choke" from artichokes, the seeds from cucumbers, seeds and stringy bits from various squashes, ribs and seeds from jalapenos, etc.

One I only recently discovered: using a cocktail shaker to scramble eggs.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:44 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


Shaving cream to remove hard water deposits.
posted by fshgrl at 1:16 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


We keep our food storage container (eg tupperware) lids in a magazine holder, rather than magazines.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 2:05 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


A long-handled bath brush makes a truly excellent back scratcher when used dry.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:12 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Rubber bands, for opening jars: wrap the rubber band around the jar lid, gives you a better grip for getting that pasta sauce freed.

I have very little grip strength in my hands due to some old injuries. I have found that wrapping one rubber band around the lid and another around the jar itself makes it even easier to open. Also I generally pop the lid first with this little gadget, which usually makes it so I don't even need the rubber bands. But the rubber bands are often a lifesaver when nothing else works.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:17 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Gotta hanging wardrobe shoe holder I use for leggings.

I use the kind with pockets that hang over a door for all kinds of stuff. One near the kitchen holds boxes of foil, baggies, wax paper, etc. One on the wall near my bathroom holds creams, lotions, extra shampoo, electric razor, etc. One in the spare room holds craft supplies. Another on the wall near my desk holds tarot cards. These are the best things ever invented for small-apartment storage!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:22 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


An old wooden wardrobe my kid and her friends dragged in from the curb and painted back in the day now sits in the spare room storing extra dishes.

A vendor I visited at the oddities and curiousities show used old brass candlesticks to display various crystals she had for sale. It was a lovely and clever way to display them.

I once saw a tarot reader at an outdoor festival use a french memo board to secure the cards as she laid them out. Worked great to keep them from blowing around on a windy day. I use mine indoors in my office as I don't really have much table space for a layout.You can hold it on your lap or prop it upright to keep the fuckin' cat off of your spread.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:38 AM on September 27 [6 favorites]


I use denture cleaning tablets to clean out my stainless steel thermos periodically. Put one in and add water and let it foam up and sit for a bit (in the sink in case it bubbles over). Rinse well after and I also swish around some boiling water inside to rinse as well.
posted by gudrun at 2:57 AM on September 27 [18 favorites]


The window pane in our kitchen is a communal grocery list, and we keep a dry-erase marker on the sill for writing.

For many years we used muffin pans to hold Lego pieces for ongoing projects, which cut down on the tears and frustration of moving them around and the possibility of losing pieces in the process.
posted by cocoagirl at 3:02 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Rubber bands, for opening jars: wrap the rubber band around the jar lid, gives you a better grip for getting that pasta sauce freed.


Even better: next time you have blood drawn, ask the phlebotomist if you can keep the tourniquet. Works great for unsticking stubborn jar lids.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:33 AM on September 27 [7 favorites]


I use a small flathead screwdriver to open jar lids; slip the blade into the space between the lid and the glass and twist gently to pop the lid.
Not sure if it counts, but my aunt gave us a beautiful trivet when we got married; I put a tealight in the hole in the middle and use it as a fancy candleholder for the Shabbat candle.
posted by huimangm at 3:36 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Cooking spoons - the wooden or silicone sort, not metal - are often part of the arsenal of impact play tools for BDSM. Google pervertibles for a large array of this sort of thing. Generally one gets separate spoons for spanking butts than stirring Bolognese.
posted by Mistress at 3:40 AM on September 27 [6 favorites]


Seconding the binder clips / bulldog clips as food container fasteners. These days they are very often made from stainless steel which makes them fridge safe and hygienic. Make sure you use the unpainted ones, as cheap paint is not food safe.
posted by Eleven at 3:47 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Plastic lunch baggie with tiny corner snip = frosting piping bag for baked goods

I use a vintage tackle box to hold jewelry.
posted by Miko at 4:20 AM on September 27 [9 favorites]


Seeing the potential in the quotidian is one of my very favorite genres of life-hack.

Spray bottles hang perfectly on tension rods. For example, one could put a very short one under a sink for organizational purposes. I have actually turned an unused shower stall into a makeshift cleaning cabinet however, and it's super handy and I'll regret if I have to take it apart when my kid is older and we maybe actually need a downstairs shower. Also on the shower rod are thin shower rings I threaded clothes-pins on to for hang-drying rags and gloves.

Nut milk bags are perfect for making cold-brew coffee.

Glass jars with good-fitting lids can become ceiling storage for little things like screws. Just put a screw through the middle of the lid into the surface. It'd work under cabinets too, if you don't love them too much.

Crappy hose winding reels make excellent extension cord winding reels.

Old crib mattresses are perfect giant dog beds. They even can be wrapped in full-sized fitted sheets tolerably well, if the dog is sedate enough to leave it alone.

Fatally-punctured bike tubes can be cut up into really strong rubber bands in your choice of width.

If you have those cold packs used for medicine that comes insulated, they're a great substitute for ice in a regular cooler too. They're somewhat flexible as they warm up and keep their coolant in internal chambers, so superior to rigid plastic ones for this purpose.

Cardboard food boxes make fine drawer dividers.

Empty plastic cylinders (cracked water bottle, some cleaning product bottles with the funnel/pour-spout area sliced off, etc.) can be mounted to whatever surface to hold those long bubble-wand tubes upright so little hands don't have to struggle to coordinate everything.

Wall paint+flour+salt can be used as drywall/plaster filler for small holes.

Sliced-open toilet paper/paper towel tubes hold wrapping paper on its roll.
posted by teremala at 5:17 AM on September 27 [13 favorites]


egg containers for storing Christmas ornaments or separating bits-and-pieces when assembling Ikea furniture.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 5:27 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Every musician* who plays outdoor gigs knows that clothes pins are essential equipment to keep your music on the stand when it gets windy.

*(every musician who depends on notation, at least)
posted by dr. boludo at 5:39 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Keeping with the theme from Mistress, bondage tape works well for a variety of things as it only sticks to itself. You can use it to corral card decks for example.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:56 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Other musical re-purposings:

-Woodwind players use cigarette rolling paper to absorb moisture on key pads.

A lot of items get re-purposed as instruments, or parts of instruments:

A toilet plunger makes a great trumpet or trombone mute.

A washtub and a broomstick makes a washtub/gut bucket bass.

A wash board can be played as-is, and was the model for what eventually became the wearable rubboard in zydeco.

Same with frying pans - Brazilian samba players discovered they make a great percussion instrument; these days an instrument modeled on them usually takes their place.
posted by dr. boludo at 6:05 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I keep plastic tabs from bread loaves on the ends of masking and duct tape rolls. This has made life immeasurably easier.
posted by Dolley at 6:09 AM on September 27 [17 favorites]


Magazine holders can be used to store water bottles and insulated thermoses.

I like using ikea picture ledges as storage all around the house - great for bathrooms, spices and condiments, great in the entry way catchall, or to add storage above a bedside table.

I use shoe boxes as storage for photos and papers, they can also be used to divide and store socks and underwear Marie Kondo style too.

Kitchen scrubbies are wonderful bathtub and bathroom sink scrubs when they've outlived their life washing dishes.
posted by lafemma at 6:19 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


To remove pet hair, lint, dust, etc. when you don't have a special remover, you can use almost any kind of tape (scotch, masking, duct...)
posted by trig at 6:51 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Oh speaking of scrambling eggs: chopsticks!

I prefer using chopsticks instead of a whisk since the cleanup's so much easier and you preserve more of the egg in the bowl instead of getting it stuck on the whisk. Hold the chopsticks like you would to pick up a dumpling (where the ends touching the ingredients are spaced wider apart than the ends held in your hand) and whisk away.
posted by rather be jorting at 7:05 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Garlic and shallots are sometimes sold in little mesh bags made out of tough plastic. These make the world's best pot scrubbers. They work as well as purpose-built pot scrubbers, but they are easier to rinse out and they are free (assuming you've already bought the garlic or shallots).
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:13 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


The plastic net bag onions come in makes a good dish or vegetable scrubber (I usually have one for each task).
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:13 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Gas stove grates can be removed and set on the counter as a cooling rack for a cake pan or cookie sheet. (Not a good option if you need to remove cookies from the sheet and cool them on a rack, obviously.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:26 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Also, I have washed small items that need handwashing in my big stock pot when living someplace with a bathroom sink that didn't hold water.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:27 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I keep a box of latex or nitrile gloves in my kitchen. They're good to use when chopping up hot peppers, but I use them a lot for opening jars - they do the same thing as adding a rubber band to the lid.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 7:28 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


If you break your cork in your wine bottle, and you still really want to drink the wine, you can use a coffee filter to remove the tiny cork bits.
posted by devonia at 7:29 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Two gallon Ziploc bags are a much cheaper version of packing cubes.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:32 AM on September 27 [12 favorites]


Use chopsticks to eat Flaming Hot Cheetos or anything else that gets your hands messy!
posted by stellaluna at 7:54 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


Kitchen scissors (or regular scissors that you've washed) for slicing pizza instead of a pizza cutter. Bonus: won't cut grooves into your baking tray.

Melon baller to take the seeds and slightly more fibrous center out of an apple instead of an apple corer--cut the apple in half first. (I actually kind of prefer this method, but overall melon ballers seem like a rather ridiculous one-task item if you're trying to streamline what you own.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:58 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


Oh yeah: kitchen scissors for cutting meat. I don't know why that was such a revelation to me and maybe everyone else already knows it and is like "um why else did you think you even had scissors in the kitchen?" but in case not: it is so fast for chunking up chicken breast or stew meat or anything else that it's okay to be kind of random about, and basically eliminates the risk of cutting oneself. My scissors have a screw as the hinge so I just undo that and wash the pieces separately, so it's really no different than using two knives as far as clean-up goes. Probably less work, actually, since one doesn't need a cutting board.
posted by teremala at 8:12 AM on September 27 [14 favorites]


I use the sheets in the pillowcase trick. My grandma always cut up pizza with kitchen shears (it tastes better, too). I use a spoon to get the core out of apples too.
posted by kathrynm at 8:12 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


An empty paper towel roll makes an excellent horn. Da doot da doo!

Empty gift wrap rolls are good for sword fights.

Use an empty toilet paper roll to take a moon selfie
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:21 AM on September 27 [6 favorites]


I pack my shoes in plastic shower caps when I travel, with the opening facing up so I can stuff the shoes more easily with socks and things. It's a bit more compact than a plastic bag and I always forget I need socks for travel day, so it's handy to be able to get at them easily from the bottom on my suitcase.

nthing binder clips for closing bags, holding up recipe cards, and as cable keepers if you have ones large enough to clip to your desk (you have to get the handles off and thread the cable through it first, but once its done they are super secure).

My old school Asian grandma used to used the bottom of ceramic coffee mugs to sharpen her meat cleaver.
posted by notethisbean at 8:34 AM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Dish washing gloves make excellent jar openers. And chop up hot or messy things, and well, you just wash them and use again. When you get a hole, cut off the sleeve and make a gripy square.

Frozen cans of beer make good ice cubes.

I have used a grease splatter shield to make cowboy coffee. Works well enough with a large crush.

Empty paper towel cardboard tube... stuff plastic grocery bags in there. Just jam them down.

Fine grain automotive sandpaper makes a good nail file, you just move the finger instead of moving the file.

Non-gel toothpaste as a silver polisher. Baking soda and cider vinegar instead of shampoo.

The rafters of my grandfather's workshop were covered with the hanging jars full of things. Any little things you needed, just look up.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:39 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


This kind of ice cube bin fits in the refrigerator door and can be used to hold the little bottles that could otherwise slip through and fall on the floor. It’s easier to clean too.
posted by FencingGal at 8:41 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Small ice cream scoops are great for making uniformly-sized cookie dough balls.
posted by cooker girl at 8:45 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I have a couple of Styrofoam boards, approx 8x10, that were used for packaging. They now have a new life as earring holders! I own about a bazillion pairs of drop earrings, and now I can see them all at once instead of rummaging around in a little case to find a matching pair.
posted by basalganglia at 8:46 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


You know when you buy a really expensive candle in a glass jar with a lid? I flip the lid over and use it as a coaster - contains any liquids sweating off your glass and protects your tabletop.

Once you buy a bottle of foaming soap once, reuse the same bottle. Just add regular liquid soap, watered down about 1/8 of the way. Add a bit more water if not quite yet foamy enough.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:02 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


I have a suitcase which is no longer suitable for travel due to wear and tear. I'm planning on using it to store out-of-season clothing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:05 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


I use lighter fluid to remove label glue from glass things. It's always worked better than Goo Gone for me.
posted by natabat at 9:23 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Hockey sticks are AMAZING at getting things off/on high shelves.

I use a lingerie bag to wash tiny items in the dishwasher. Mostly baby bottle pieces and small baby toys.

I have lab glassware cleaning brushes in the kitchen because they are just the best thing for cleaning water bottles and such.

I have repurposed a handsoap foamer to foam dish soap. It really cuts down on the amount of dish soap we use when we have to wash just that one thing. We also just use that foaming dish soap to wash our hands because, basically, soap is soap and I like that it's a formulation designed to be very clean rinsing and food safe as I am usually about to be fixing food.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:46 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


Zip lock bags reinforced with duct tape or clear packing tape make great inexpensive storage bags when traveling.

Jars. Big jars. Little jars. I'm especially enamored with those tiny jam jars or condiment jars from restaurants and hotels. Shove in my lunch box, used for camping, storage for tiny items.

Cereal boxes. Cut off most of the box except the 3-4 inches from the bottom. Tape a bunch of them together to organize your drawers. If the outside is visible, cover with pretty wrapping paper.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 10:04 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


I usually slip a butter knife under the edge of the jar's lid and just shimmy it a little back - once you've popped the lid it comes off super easily.
posted by speakeasy at 10:06 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Scissors for cutting up herbs and greens. So much quicker and pleasant than a knife.
Also, I use a binder clip as my wallet. Just get your cash and cards and clip it. Ultimate minimalist wallet.
posted by caveatz at 10:16 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I use a drain catching thingie as a loose leaf tea-strainer. This kind. But mine came from Dollarama not wayfair, so it cost $1, not $16. It just sits on top of the mug.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:23 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


The thin cardboard divider grid that comes in a case of wine to separate the bottles works well as a sock drawer organizer. Each section holds at least one pair of socks so you can stick the all the socks of one color/style in one section, and also keep track of the single socks easier.
posted by queensissy at 11:25 AM on September 27


Not exactly a repurpose of the original but useful nonetheless. Instead of using the insanely small liquid soap dispenser that is built into our kitchen sink, we threaded a long [2 foot or so] piece of vinyl tubing purchased from the big box home improvement store into the soap dispenser pump and dropped the other end down into a large refill size bottle of liquid soap that lives under the sink. Only need to switch out the refill bottle once a year or so when it runs out.
posted by Gino on the Meta at 11:31 AM on September 27 [7 favorites]


I use the jars from Bonne Maman jam as drinking glasses and got rid of all my fancier glasses. The jam jars are hexagonal and thus have a nice feel in the hand, are sturdy and they look beautiful. They also make a lovely rustic vase for a few small flowers.

A wine bottle makes a useful watering can for plants where the soil is hard to get at due to foliage.

There is a lot of outdoor furniture (as well as outdoor rugs), that looks good and works very well indoors, and is often cheaper.

Christmas lights makes very nice ambient lighting in a room, year round.
posted by nanook at 11:32 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


A stretch band, the kind a physical therapist gives you, works well as an arrow puller.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:47 AM on September 27


I got a $3 paint strainer instead of a $15 nut milk bag for making nut milk (obviously), cold brew coffee, straining berries for syrup, and making cheese. Works great and has outlasted the more expensive alternatives.
posted by ananci at 1:12 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Ice pick. I don't think I've ever used an ice pick for chopping pieces of ice off of a big block of ice. I use them them all the time for anything that requires a sturdy sharp pokey thing. Earlier this summer I used mine to work the knot out of the rope that suspends the hanging chair on my porch when nothing else would work.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:27 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


A stretch band, the kind a physical therapist gives you, works well as an arrow puller.


I’m probably just slow, but ... what do you have to pull arrows out of?

I’m also trying to think of what tools still are commonly available even though they’re never used for their original purpose. So far after reading the comments I have ice picks and cell phones. In ten more years magazine racks might qualify (if they’re still making them).
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 2:04 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I use a stack of post-its as a seam guide when sewing.
posted by vespabelle at 2:45 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


Mini tension rods as drawer dividers: hand towels, Salux nylon scrubbers, and washcloths are rolled and stored vertically, while bottled toiletries stop falling over.

Multi-pocket craft bags or dorm-type shower caddy totes for cleaning supplies, tools for ordinary house-upkeep tasks, art supplies.

Small, closed jewelry box with dividers on nightstand, holding daily meds and vitamins, eye drops, eye mask.

Hanging deep-pocketed file organizer (example), attached to wall with command hooks and holding internet connection equipment.

A friend uses cord lanyards on a few pairs of reading glasses, and loops the cord on lamp switches -- invariably they're heading toward the light source, letter/manual/label in hand, and will want the glasses -- and the bathroom doorknob.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:55 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I take old cardboard food boxes and stuff them with newspaper and tape them up. I bring them into work to put in our housekeeping center. Then they get recycled as the kids destroy them. Also handy if we're having a theme of some kind.
posted by kathrynm at 3:38 PM on September 27


Not sure if this qualifies, but when I go to the self service gas station (most of them), when they have removed the part of the handle that locks in place the on handle (am I saying that right?), I use a tennis ball to lock in place the handle in the open pour position. I am then free to clean the crap out of my truck my kids have **ahem** left behind. I have a 25 gallon tank. It takes a while to fill from empty. Tennis ball is the perfect size.
posted by AugustWest at 4:27 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't personally use a drain strainer for tea- I would be worried it had been made with non-food-safe solder.

If you have a furry pet or a lint problem, buy a ton of cheap ikea lint rollers, put ribbon loops on the ends, and hang them on doorknobs around the house- near the closet, near the full length mirror, near the front door. Lots of lint rollers = way less fur on you.

Screw a plastic chip clip (binder clip style) into the closet wall and use it to clamp sad lonely socks til their mates return from the war.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:52 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


A wine bottle is also good for cooling an angel food cake upside down. Fill it with water so it will be heavy and won’t tip over. I always put a towel over the top, then turned the cake over so the wine bottle goes into the center tube. I’ve never had the cake fall out.

Paper can be folded to make piping bags for cake decorating. Lots of YouTube videos show how to do this. You can use baggies for this too. Clip a hole in the corner and insert the decorating tip.

Those commercial devices for softening brown sugar crack me up. Use a piece of bread.
posted by FencingGal at 4:52 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Those commercial devices for softening brown sugar crack me up. Use a piece of bread.

Similarly for metal gadgets that take the scent of garlic off your hands. Washing your hands with a regular stainless steel piece of cutlery does the same.
posted by Miko at 5:02 PM on September 27 [10 favorites]


I also use an ice cream scoop to make consistent sized meatballs.
posted by AugustWest at 5:29 PM on September 27


I keep a dry erase marker in my car and use my window as a temporary 'reminder' space until I get home. Much easier to do at a red light vs. fumble with my phone.
posted by Twicketface at 5:51 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


I have a salad spinner which I use as a small washing machine to handwash my bras. I recommend the sort with the dial you turn, rather than a knob you press, as it's easier to control the spin.
posted by tavegyl at 6:30 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


mineral oil for oiling cutting boards
posted by aniola at 8:47 PM on September 27


Back in the day, I used to use the empty 35mm film canisters to keep my pot. How I miss the 70s. Nowadays, I repurpose my empty prescription pill bottles to hold screws, quarters for the meter and the big ones to hold my toothpicks.
posted by AugustWest at 11:07 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


A modern replacement for those handy film canisters to hold your pot or screws is the little watertight containers that diabetic test strips come in. Great for glitter too.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:40 AM on September 28


Single blade razor blades. Does anyone actually use these in a razor anymore? Best tool ever. Buying a pack of 50 or 100 at Home Depot just makes me happy.
Tennis balls. I always have a can or 2 around even though I don't play. I use them in the dryer to help dry quilts, for dog toys, to work pressure points for sore muscles. I know a physical therapist who ties 2 in a sock and gives them to her clients.
Chopsticks to secure your hair in a bun.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:46 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Fork for squeezing lemon, demo of technique at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9VN1dVosjw
posted by lagomorph at 9:31 AM on September 28


Small ice cream scoops are great for making uniformly-sized cookie dough balls.

And a full-size ice cream scoop is the perfect size for portioning out muffins.

You can thread necklace chains through drinking straws to keep them from tangling together. Works just as well with paper straws as with plastic.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:15 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


> I’m probably just slow, but ... what do you have to pull arrows out of?

Bales. Your household may vary.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:42 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


If you wear earrings, or are often around someone who does: An earring stud post to change phone SIM cards or as a CD/DVD drive manual eject pokey thing. Have also used it a couple of times to reset our car's head unit. It has been surprisingly useful, as I'm more likely to have earrings on than a paperclip or safety pin somewhere on my person.

Plastic bread bag clip to label plugs for multiple appliances sharing a socket.

A spoon works the best to peel ginger.

I have two tiny humans and a lot of their favorite items to play with are non-toys: crunchy plastic wrappers, silicone spatula, silicone whisk, silicone baking cups, plastic take away containers, etc.

A suction cup soap tray in the bathroom, positioned near the toilet, as a phone rest.
posted by pimli at 8:11 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


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