Doing Double Duty - Household Edition|
Editor's Notes - When upgrading our website in 2010, we came upon this classic article outlining some great and frugal double-duty items. Our plan was to create a second, companion article. However, since the piece covered both household and kitchen items, we decided to split the article and update both of them with the old suggestions and many new ones. We hope you enjoy it. Be sure to check out the companion article.|
The other day I started cleaning out my hall closet and came across a bunch of vinyl tablecloths I had that weren't good enough to put on the table, but too good to throw away. I started coming up with new ways to use them. Then I started looking around my house at other things that had multiple uses and found quite a few. So I thought, why not put some together so others can make use of all these recycle it and duel duty tips! Here are a few of my favorites...
- When you buy a new one, buy 2 instead and stitch together some slipcovers to go over your chair pads! You'll have easy-to-clean matching chairs. No more stained seat covers when company comes over!
- Cut an old one in half and put it by the front and back door to place wet and snowy shoes. Easy to wipe off and you can throw them away when they get too dirty.
- Lay an old one under the highchair when baby is learning to feed themselves for easier clean up.
- Keep one handy for little kids picnics outside in the summer or to put under your blanket at the park to keep it clean!
More Duel Duty Items
In The Bathroom
- You can clean your mirror in the bathroom with astringent pads or alcohol and it will keep your mirror fog free.
- Toothpaste can be used to polish your silver jewelry and clean your grout (must be paste not gel, and you can use with or without bakingsoda).
- An old spin brush can be used as a mini scum buster to clean small creavices.
- Mouth wash can be used to clean your toilet in a pinch and it will leave smelling minty fresh!
- Out of detangler for the kids? You can dilute 1T of your conditioner in 8oz of warm water and put it in a spray bottle and it will work just dandy in a pinch.
Our computers are great for keeping upto date and organized and in touch. But did you ever sit down and 10 minutes later remember an appointment or a task you had to get to? Well most computers have a Marquis in the screen saver that you can type in anything you want. How about putting in a reminder on it. Never again will you sit down to an idle computer and forget what you were supposed to do!
You can also take it a step further and set your homepage to a calender, then everytime you log on you can see how much time you have to play on the net! And best of all never again say, I couldn't find my schedule, or I kew I had it written down somewhere but just couldn't find it!
Updated - Even More Duel Duty Items!
- Caulk - Everyone knows caulk can fix cracks around windows. However, it's also great at filling nail holes in walls, cracks around pipes, and more. My husband has used it as a temporary filler for gouges in our wood floor. Much of the same doube-usage can be said for spackle.
- Duct Tape - Another household staple that's it's famous for its versatility. It can be used to temporarily stop leaks in pipes and hoses. It can be used super sticky holder for posters and other items you want to keep up for an extended period, particularly in humid weather. You can even make clothing out of it, including wallets and bags (just do a Youtube search). My husband even used it to help hold the side-view mirror onto the car after another car hit it until we could get it fixed. To get duct tape off and remove the adhesive, use a little WD-40.
- Garbage Bag Ties - Don't use the small ties that come with your garbage bags? Use them to tie together cords and secure them out of the way. They are much more flexible and easier to use than conventional cable ties.
- Coffee Cans - Most coffee brands now come in plastic containers with a handle. This makes them perfect mini-buckets for cleaning around the house. Simply fill with water and cleaner and go to it. The size makes them great buckets for kids to use when cleaning. Plastic coffee cans and lids can also be used to store toys, small household tools, and other items
- Car Wax - Have DVDs or video game discs that are scratched and don't work properly? Rub on some car wax like Turtle Wax and let it dry thoroughly. Wash the excess wax off and then buff the disk well with a clean rag. You may have to do it a few times, but it can help restore many lightly to moderately scratched disks. For even better results, invest in a small DVD cleaning system that you crank to spin and buff the disk--they cost about $10-$20. Use the wax instead once the liquid that comes with the system runs out.
- Mis-matched Socks - What large family doesn't have a lot of these hanging around. Use them as makeshift rags. Clean with them like usual, or have the kids slip them over their hands before dusting. I have also used them as emergency napkins, covers for the bottom of chair legs, and make-up removers. Use them as sleeves to cover jars and bottles when going to a potluck dinner. If the sock gets particularly grungy doing double-duty, just throw it out.
- Tote Bags - Aside from the obvious, use tote bags to hold bathroom items for certain family members. Larger bags can hold clothing that is earmarked to be mended. Hang a collection of different colored bags in the kids' room to help them organized smaller items. A more intended use, keep a few extra totes in the trunk of the car to have on hand when you unexpectedly make a stop on the store on the way home.
- Hair Conditioner: When you run out of shaving cream, conditioner is a good alternative. Also, use full-strength (but sparingly) on hair between shampoos. It will give your hair shine and light hold without the stickiness of gels or mousse. It can also be used for shaving your legs and has the extra benefit of moisterizing your skin in the process.
- Plastic Soda Bottles - Fill 1/2 to 3/4 full of water, freeze and use as a cold block to chill your picnic cooler. An added benefit is that as the ice melts, you'll have chilled water to drink!
- Vapor Rub: There are many who swear the vapor rubs, much liks Vick's, can help control fungus on toenails or fingernails.
- Shower caps - Don't only use them to keep hair dry, for do-it-yourself beauty shop, use them to cover hair while coloring or perming to contain drips and the chemical smell. Rinse well and store between treatments.
- Cereal all gone? Save cereal boxes. Use the cardboard in place of posterboard in projects.
Article by: Springmay and Michelle Lehmann
2004 & 2010 - Lotsofkids.com