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New Uses for Old Things

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


New Uses for Old Things

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Make ice cubes last longer at your next cocktail party: Put them in a colander set into a bowl. As they melt, the water will drain through the holes instead of sitting and turning the ice to slush.

When the cork crumbles, salvage a bottle of wine by slowly pouring it through a filter into a pitcher or carafe. That way your $25 Fume Blanc won't go down the drain.

Entertaining New Uses

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Let guests locate their seats in a creative way. Clip a miniature clothespin to the bottom of each paper to create the base for a rustic escort card display.

Use a Tension Rod to Store Cleaning Products

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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Serve sorbet in a memorable way. After juicing (or eating) grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime halves, scoop out and freeze the peels. Cut a small slice off the bottom to create a level surface (without creating a hole), then fill with ice cream.

Use a Wine Rack as a Wall Organizer

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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Make a chic serving tray with an extra frame. Place a double of your favorite photo (so as not to ruin the original in case of condensation) under the glass and set out the drinks.

Mini marshmallows may be too small for s’mores, but they’re a sweet way to catch wayward candle drips before they hit cakes and cupcakes—because it’s not so festive to find wax in your icing.

Entertaining New Uses

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Use a Picture Frame as a Key Organizer

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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Use Jars as Floating Storage Spaces

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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If you find yourself with a mismatched collection―or without bubbly―flip thick-walled Champagne flutes upside down to create a beautiful grouping of candle stands for a shelf or a mantel. Use heavy wineglasses for table centerpieces, as the wider mouths will provide more stability to withstand bumping.

Use Magnets as a Medicine Cabinet Organizer

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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Let a colorful dish towel span the center of your table and you'll get two place mats for the price of an easy wash-and-dry staple and a Paris bistro feel (no passport required).

To cut down on waiting time for hors d’oeuvres, stack a small cake stand on top of a larger one to increase your surface area for canapés or crudités and free up precious table space.

A sheet at the bottom of a gym bag will help keep odor down.

Laundry New Uses for Old Things

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Use a Stepladder as a Bedside Table

10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home

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  • Jackie McKenzie
    Jackie McKenzie

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Create a candle centerpiece to light up your wedding (or you dinner table) by using cake stands as platforms for votive and pillar candles in assorted sizes.

Give a punch bowl an elegant (and functional) touch with this floating ice sculpture. Simply fill the cake pan with water (or nonalcoholic punch), freeze, and pop out before serving.

When a plain napkin simply won’t do, break out the bangles and dress up a place setting.

Entertaining New Uses

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Minimize countertop mess (and justify a predinner drink) by using a cork to elevate the necks of dirty spatulas and spoons.

Place the bottle along one side of the fabric so that the bottle’s top meets the top of the fabric. Fold the excess material at the bottom over the bottle, forming a pocket of sorts. Then roll the dish towel evenly and secure at the neck with ribbon.

Show off. Display small photos and mementos, which look more important on a platform.

Fluff up wool sweaters by adding a few capfuls of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Fill an antique gravy boat with a bar of soap to transform it into an elegant soap dish.

Set a sweet table and use scalloped pastry tips in fun colors as place-card holders.

Entertaining New Uses

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