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New Uses for Old Things

Clever ways to repurpose everyday items from RealSimple.com and around the web.

Polish faucets, sinks, tile, even shower doors with Turtle Wax, which leaves behind a protective barrier against water and soap buildup, so your hard-earned sparkle will last past the next tooth-brushing.

New Uses in Your Bathroom

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An easy way to keep the work area clean. Saw dust at a work station sweeps up so fast with one pass of a used fabric softener sheet.

New Uses for Dryer Sheets

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Once the little ones are potty-trained, give your changing table new life as a potting bench.

Gardening New Uses for Old Things

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Dry damp shoes and boots (and help them keep their shape) by stuffing their insides with crumpled newspaper.

Clothing-Care New Uses

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Baby Oil as Necklace Detangler: Rub a few drops of baby oil into each knot and work them gently free with a straight pin.

Clothing-Care New Uses

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Keep shampoo from crossing unauthorized borders by packing toiletries in a sturdy old lunch box in your luggage.

Beauty New Uses

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If your umbrella has detached from its metal spines, tie or sew it back together with waxed dental floss, which will endure longer than regular thread.

New Uses for Things in the Bathroom

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Remove small stains from suede by gently rubbing an emery board (either side) across the problem area a few times to get rid of the splotch and refresh the nap.

Clothing-Care New Uses

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Soak plastic containers in warm water and baking soda overnight to banish smells.

New Uses for Baking Soda

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When you're moving, tape nails to the backs of framed works of art so the appropriate hardware will be handy.

New Uses for Office Supplies

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  • Christie Trieu

    Wouldn't you run the risk of damaging the furniture when you remove the tape?

  • urbbody

    Use the blue no-harm painters' tape, I say. That stuff is great.

Carry a photo of a loved one with you at all times. Slip a favorite snapshot in a luggage tag and attach it to your key ring.

Travel-Related New Uses for Old Things

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  • Mary Allen

    Excellent idea. Everyone should do this - even for adults. You never know ......

Funnel seed into a bird feeder through the top half of a bisected soda bottle.

New Uses for Things in the Great Outdoors

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Stretch a rubber band around an opaque container. Each time you scoop out the flour or coffee, move the band down to mark the supply level. No need to lift the lid while making your grocery list—you can see how much is left in a snap.

New Uses for Things in the Kitchen

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  • Real Simple

    Other good tips :)

  • Amy Simmons

    Sorry, that got snarky fast! Still love you, Real Simple :)

  • Dana Gassman

    These bitches are just bitter that they didnt think of it first. If you don't like someone's ideas then why are you wasting your time on their critiquing them?

  • Dana Gassman

    *their page

  • Libby Patton

    I didn't mean to be snarky or critical. Just meant to add a suggestion. Not sure why/how that deserves name calling.

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Use a small cooler to fake a perfectly timed meal if side dishes (like corn on the cob) are ready before the main course. Simply store the early sides in the insulated case to retain their warmth.

Summertime New Uses for Old Things

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Revive burned muffins and cookies by running the charred bottoms lightly across the grater to help them rise from the ashes.

Cooking New Uses for Old Things

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Prioritize bills and mail in a tie rack positioned flat on a desk or countertop.

Organizing New Uses for Old Things

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Make an on-the-go cosmetics kit by applying a bit of your favorite eye shadow, concealer, and lip gloss to the ends of cotton swabs and stashing them in a plastic bag in your purse.

Beauty New Uses

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Name Tag as Potluck Dish Label

Partytime New Uses for Old Things

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Hide your picture-hanging mistakes. Smooth wall filler into nail holes and small cracks with an ice scraper.

Double-Duty Decorating Ideas

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Oven Mitt as BBQ Utensil Holder

Summertime New Uses for Old Things

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Cocktail Shaker as Iced Coffee Maker

Summertime New Uses for Old Things

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  • Janet Smith

    Great idea! I have my grandparents shaker just collecting dust, now It has a new purpose!

Toothbrush Holder as Vase

New Uses for Flowers

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To keep a cookbook clean while following a recipe, wrap a bag around everything but the page you're using.

New Uses for Plastic Bags

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  • Scarlett Ahlam

    That's a good idea, Georgena!

  • Real Simple

    Clever, Georgena!

  • Kerry Tousignant

    For the recipes I find online, I slip them into a sheet protector from Staples, Office Depot or a crafts store. My sheet protectors are organized into Appetizers, Entrees, Drinks and Desserts. And the best part is that I could pick a cute scrapbook from A.C. Moore (a crafts store) to hold them all! With no smears or grease on the pages.

  • zohra murchie

    I slip a polytene bag over the pages dat are open

  • Dr. & Mrs. They and puddles

    Hortense They here! More tips on my Thrifty Nifties at www.drandmrsthey.com They say "A wasted bag hasn't been used to it's fullest! With proper application some plastic bags can be reused! Tossing bones boiled for broth and don't want the raccoons to get your garbage! Toss into empty bread bag tie top TIGHTLY & dump. Furry critters pass your can by & mosey down the highway to where aromas are escaping! Well seasoned advice accumulated over my past 80 plus years dears!

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