25 Double-Duty Tips for Household Items

Good Housekeeping

If you ever find yourself wondering what to do with an old pair of socks or growing collection of spare buttons, we've got some double-duty solutions for you. Here, alternative uses for 25 household items.

Rubber Bands
Coming in and out with your hands full? Loop a single rubber band around a door's inside and outside knobs, twisting it as you do so that the "X" presses the latch open. Once finished, hang the band on the inner knob for the next time.

Related: Unusual Uses for Everyday Items

Five-Rung Pants Hanger

A five-rung pants hanger makes a great jewelry organizer. Use the top rungs for bracelets and the bottom ones for necklaces. (Submitted by Raye Jean Wilson)

Eyeglasses Case

Snag a spare one to stow jewelry when packing a suitcase. Another great use? For your MP3 player and earbuds.

Socks
No need to buy pricey, not-so-eco-friendly Bubble Wrap. Socks, T-shirts, and towels make excellent padding when boxing up breakables for a move.

Laundry Pretreater
It does more than help with tough stains. Use it to loosen labels on washable hard surfaces or adhesive left by price stickers - the ultimate trap for clingy dusty bunnies.

Chocolate-Box Insert
Once the tasty treats are just a sweet Valentine's memory, use the rinsed-out tray to hold tacks and paper clips in a desk drawer.

Related: Cleaning Tips to Solve Any Crisis

Wrapping-Paper Tube
Cover the cardboard in acid-free tissue paper and roll clean linens around it to prevent fabric from creasing when stored.

Emery Board
Use this manicure staple for more than just shaping your nails - it can gently buff away stains on suede bags and shoes.

Spoon
After slicing onions or mincing garlic, neutralize smelly hands by rubbing fingers on a stainless steel spoon under running water.

Parmesan Cheese Shaker
Clean it out, then fill it up with your preferred granular plant fertilizer for an easy way to feed your garden.

Kneadable Eraser
This art-class must-have does more than zap errant pencil marks. Use it to rub out scuffs on hardwood or tile floors, as well as smudges on light-colored leather bags and shoes. Once the eraser is dirty, knead to reveal a clean spot.

Related: 4 Household Repairs Anyone Can Do

Drinking Straw
Spring bouquet to display? Firm up the soft stems of flowers like tulips or daffodils by inserting each into a wide straw before adding to a vase. You can rinse straws and reuse for the same purpose.

Newspaper
Spiff up dark-colored leather shoes in a pinch by rubbing them with a balled-up black-and-white newspaper page (note: full-color pages won't work). No polish needed.

Cooking Spray
Spritz a little on a squeaky door hinge, then swing the door back and forth to work it in and quiet the creaking. Wipe away any drips with a paper towel.

Rubber Gloves
Snag one from the sink to help you get a grip on a stuck jar top. You don't even have to put it on your hand first.

Spare Buttons
If you're always misplacing one earring or its back, take a moment to pair them through the holes of an old button. Bonus: They'll look cute (and be easier to find) in your jewelry box.

Related: Tips to Use Your Appliances Better

Sticky Note
Before you toss one of these paper reminders, run the sticky side between the keys of your computer's keyboard to collect crumbs and other grime.

Wide-Tooth Comb
Use one to unsnarl tangled fringe on an area rug. As with your hair, start at the tips and work in, to avoid making a bigger knot.

Plastic Lid
Create a "coaster" for a shaving-cream can with the top of a small sour cream, potato chip, or other food container - and end rusty rings on bathroom surfaces.

Flowerpot Saucer
Use one of these trays in the bathroom for storing the toilet plunger. It's an easy way to collect drips.

Top-Loading Washer
Fill it with ice to keep canned or bottled drinks cool at your next party! When the drinks are gone, let the ice melt; run the spin cycle to empty the tub.

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Clean With What You Already Have Around the House

Shower Cap
Snag those hotel-freebie shower caps to cover shoes before packing them in a suitcase. The plastic keeps dirty soles from sullying clothes.

Pillowcase
When storing coats or special-occasion clothes, cover each item with an old pillowcase (cut a hole in the closed end to slip over a hanger). It won't hold in mildew-causing moisture like plastic does.

Candle Stub
Don't toss a votive once it's flamed out. Use the nub as a pincushion - the wax helps pins slide more easily. Just make sure to wipe off any visible flecks before piercing fabric.

Paper Plates
A great use for those too-flimsy disposables in your pantry: Use them between stacked nonstick cookware to keep it scratch-free when stored.

What other items in your house do double duty? Let us know in the comments!

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