Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coffee Filters

     I've never thought outside of the box when it comes to coffee filters prior to this. It actually surprised me how many different ways coffee filters can be used. Think about it: they aren't quite as soft as a tissue; they hold up like a paper towel, minus the extra absorption. They are porous, lint-free and microwavable. 
     The lint-free aspect makes them great for cleaning glass. They can be used to clean electrical contacts (while unplugged :) ). Need a flash diffuser for your camera? Use a coffee filter!  
     The other uses in the kitchen are great. They make wonderful little disposable bowls for snacks like popcorn, chips or pretzels. In place of paper towels, they can be used to absorb grease after frying foods. Use them as food wraps for hot dogs and tacos to keep the yummy-goodness from escaping out the back.
     They can be used as a cover to prevent splattering in the microwave. Place them between pots and plates to prevent scratching during storage and between plates as packing material when moving. Moisture a problem? They can be placed in cast-iron to absorb moisture to help prevent rusting. They can also be placed with cut fruit to absorb moisture.
      Don't want to get the strainer out? Use to strain seeds/pulp from lemon/lime juice. This same principle can be used to strain wine if your cork breaks and making your own tea bags. They can also be in making soups to keep inedible pieces in one place for easy removal.  
      In the bathroom, they can be applied to nicks from shaving. Girls! Use them as oil/sweat absorbers for your face when you are working out.
     Similar to a sock other use, fill them with potpourri as a sachet for your drawers. They can also be filled with baking soda and placed in shoes to act as an odor absorber. They can also be used to apply shoe polish.
      Place them in the bottom of your potted plants to keep soil from escaping after watering. Projecting? Use them as a bowl to help keep screws/small pieces from escaping.
     Don't forget about the crafts! Dip in colored water, let dry, then cut to shape to create faux flowers or rainbow butterflies. They can also be used as scrapbooking backgrounds. Cut into a snowflake shapes to decorate in winter. They can also be used as backing for sewing projects.

Home Storage

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paper Towel / Toilet Paper Rolls

     Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls seem like such a waste of good cardboard when you come to the end of the roll. Most people toss them easily into the trash can or recycled in the best case scenario. To me, they either scream home organization opportunity or a kid's project when I think outside the box. The first other use I ran across that I was, like, "duh!" was the Cable Organizer. I can't tell you how many random cords are in a pile, bag, or box somewhere waiting to be organized in my house. Paper towel or toilet paper rolls can easily be organized into a box and the cords placed in each compartment. Every time I go looking for one, it is a miracle I find what I want. And the flip-side to the cable organizer is the Christmas/holiday light wrap. The idea via the link actually uses a shoe box, but threading the start of the light strand through the toilet paper roll, then wrapping the lights around the outside and ending the wrap by inserting the electrical plugs into each other to secure the lights is a great way to keep strands from tangling into each other. 

    Craft use is unbelievable. Shorter tubes work great for small project sewing storage, such as cross-stitching and embroidery, and longer tubes work great to store wrapping paper and larger fabric pieces. I think these should be a staple in anyone's craft supplies - look below for the assortment of kid and home projects that are available.
     Gardening is yet another place these tubes come in handy. They can be used to protect your trees from being rubbed by support wires. They also serve as great seedling starter pots. Spread some peanut butter and bird seed on one and you have a great little Bird Feeder. If creative isn't your thing, you can just cut them up and place in your compost pile to turn them into mulch. It's a great way to recycle!

      If brown is not the color you want showing on your creative project, the tubes can always be covered either with pretty wrapping paper or a light coating of spray paint.

     Don't forget about wrapping paper tubes! Christmas is fast approaching and instead of tossing the wrapping paper tubes, you can use these for your longer tube needs. 

Seedling Starter
 Home Decor

Wall Hangings
Home Storage
Cable Organizer
Wrapping Paper Holder
Hamster Toy

Saturday, November 5, 2011


That Closetful of Hangers

There always seems to be an abundance of hangers in the house. Packing up the winter clothes and purging the closet of old clothes will often free up many hangers. The type of hanger will depend on its other use. Wire hangers can be bent into many other useful shapes. Plastic and wooden hangers are what they are in shape but can be converted into other useful tools. 

Wire Hangers
  • Belt Keeper
Belt Keeper
  • Bubble Wand 
  • Bucket Hook - clip a few inches from the hook and wrap newly exposed ends around a bucket handle. Watch the weight of what's in the bucket!
  • Card Holder for the refrigerator
  • Campfire Utensil - Great for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. Careful! - Metal conducts heat! 
  • Cascading Hanger - save space in your closet by bending small loops about every 3 inches along a straightened hanger. Place your clothes (on hangers) in each of the loops. 
  • My Creation!
    My Creation in Action!
  • Clothes pin holder- just clip 'em on!
  • Costumes - make wings & halos, adds shape
  • Craft Ribbon Organizer
  • Craft Ribbon Organizer
  • Craft Wire
  • "The Claw" - can't reach? Bend a hanger lengthwise and extend the hook end of the hanger to get to out of reach objects 
  • Flip Flop Hanger
  • Flip Flop Hanger
  • Fix a Drawstring
Fix a Drawstring

  • Gardening Guide - clip into 6-inch strips & fold into U-shaped "staples". Use to anchor water hoses & weed barriers
  • Gift Wrap Organizer
  • Gift Wrap Organizer

  • Jewelry Organizer  
  • Key Rings
Key Rings
  • Lock Out Key

Lock Out Key
  • Plate Display
Plate Display

  • Purse Organizer
  • Razor Organizer 
Razor Organizer
  • Scarf Hanger - bend into large loops and thread scarves through loops
  • Shoe Organizer
Shoe Organizer
  • Tissue Box Hanger 
Tissue Box Hanger
  • "The Unclogger" - unclog drains, vacuum hoses, and any other place you can't/don't want to stick your hands
  • Unlock Car Doors
  • Wrench Organizer
Wrench Organizer

Wooden Hangers

  • Coat Rack
Coat Rack
  • Jewelry Hanger 
Jewelry Hanger
    • Belt Hanger Variation - use larger screw hooks 
  • Scrapbooking/Paper/Small Stuff Organizer
  • Scrapbooking Organizer
  • Pant Hanger Picture Hanger 
Pant Hanger Picture Hanger
  • Towel Racks
Towel Racks


Friday, November 4, 2011


That Drawerful of Socks

I find it difficult to throw away socks (and t-shirts for that matter - but that is another topic for another day) that are past their prime. Surely, I can get one more use out of them or the dryer will relinquish their mate one day, right? Well, sometimes it's time to purge the drawer from the fuzzless, holey, faded socks to make room for the new. I know I can't be the only one that thinks that there can be one last hoorah for these pending retirement socks. Socks in their essence are just a piece of fabric that have a high absorbency, depending on the material. Keep in mind that once they hit the retirement bin that they can be cut, sewn, dyed, and accessorized to anything you can imagine! Here are some of the uses I have found to help recycle those beloved socks:
  • Animals
    • Cat Toy - Stuff with Catnip and sew open-end closed. Your cat will love you!
    • Dog Sweaters - for the mini-breed dogs
    • Dog Toy - Tie/braid/knot together and play tug-of-war!
    • Pet Beds - Provides a soft place for your pet to lay down.
  • Baby - let me count the ways...
    • Baby Leggings
    • Baby Legwarmers - Protect your crawler's clothing from wearing out at the knees.
    • Bath Mitts - A wonderful washcloth that doesn't fall off your hands!
    • Seat Belt Cushion - Wrap around a seat belt to keep it from digging into your child's neck (can also be used for adults).
    • Spit-up Rags - Soft, absorbent, and washable!
  • Cell Phone Holder
  • Craft Organizer - keep the small stuff in one place
  • Doll Clothes - 
    • Doll Accessory Organizer - Keep little parts in one place.
    • Doll Sleeping Bags - Kids can decorate to make custom doll sleeping bags
  • Drafty Doors
  • Drink Insulators - Keep 'em cold or keep yourself from getting burned!
  • Dry skin - Coat your hands in your lotion/cream/ointment of choice and put socks on over your hands. Sleep through the night without getting goo all over your sheets. Much less confining than cotton gloves
  • Dust rags - Spray with furniture/dusting spray, stick your hand in and wipe down your furniture! Great way to put the kids to work!
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Flower Socks 
  • Grass Sock Pet 
  • Ice Packs - fill with ice and tie closed
  • Hair - Sock Bun or Sock Bun
  • Hot Compress/Hand Warmer - fill with rice, tie closed and microwave. Careful! Don't get too hot!
  • Ladder Boots - put over the top ends of an extension ladder to keep from scratching your walls
  • Piggy Bank/Laundry Room Change Purse - loose change now has a home!
  • Packing - whether it be Christmas ornaments or moving day, use to cushion your breakables!
  • Plastic Bag Holder - Hang upside down in the pantry to recycle your plastic grocery bags
  • Polisher - shoes, silver - if it calls for a soft cloth to polish, you've found your rag
  • Potholders - great kids project
  • Quilts/Blankets
  • Rags - Cut lengthwise and you now have an old rag.
  • Rugs - make a sock rug!
  • Sachets - Make a mini-pillow stuffed with your favorite dried flowers/potpourri to scent your drawers
  • Shoe Protectors - Put over your shoes while painting.
  • Sleeves - Push toe-less socks up your arms to keep your sleeves out of the way in the kitchen 
  • Sock Monkeys
  • Soap - Put in the old slivers and suds away!
  • Stress Ball - Roll into a ball and squeeze!
  • Tennis Ball Massager
  • Tree/Plant Ties - Keep your plant upright by tying your sock from the plant to a stake. (also can use old pantyhose)
  • Toy Organizer - Marbles, tennis balls, small parts, etc
  • Wash Mitt for the Car - 
  • Whiteboard Eraser
  • Wrist Rests 
  • Wood Stain - use to apply wood stain (can also use a paper towel)
Now what ideas am I forgetting... Your turn! Comment Away...


What is Fantabulous Uses?

My name is Kathleen and I wanted to create a blog to discuss unusual uses of common household items. My interest in this topic stems from brainstorming for alternative ways to organize my modest stockpile. My stockpile has slowly been growing over the last few months when I started couponing to help save money on groceries. After finding a great deal on my family's favorite soup, I wanted an effective and economical way to rotate through the cans. After looking through many websites, I discovered 2 things: 1) I still haven't found what I really want and 2) there are a lot of great ideas out there on alternative ways to use common household items. I thought this would be a great way to further my search for "the perfect can rotator" and see what great ideas I will come across along the way. I will probably tie in other subjects - organization, couponing, photography, genealogy, crafts, and home repair are just a few that come to mind right now. I will be happy to take suggestions for topics. I'm excited to see what becomes of this project!