10. Lip Balm
As if soothing your chapped lips isn’t good enough, lip balm can do a lot of other stuff: fix stuck drawers, lube up sticky light bulb sockets and even get stuck zippers to work again. Of course, you probably don’t want to use it on your lips after you’ve rubbed it on drawers, light sockets and zippers — but that’s what your old, actually-bad-for-your-lips lip balm is for. Image: ganesha.isis.
9. Kitty Litter
Just because you don’t have a cat doesn’t mean you can’t make use of a little extra kitty litter. It’s useful for deodorising just about anything, from stinky shoes to drawers and closets, your fridge, or even the bottom of your rubbish bin. Not only that, but it can even save a mobile phone that you’ve dropped in water if you don’t have some rice handy. Image: sneakerdog.
8. Paper Clips
It’s no secret that paper clips do more than just clip paper — in fact, you’ve probably come up with a few of your own in a pinch. We like to use them to keep our ties straight, put on bracelets without the fuss, handle tiny USB drives and — when we’re feeling a bit more evil — crack a padlock. Of course, for those times a paper clip doesn’t cut it, you can always turn a paper clip into a safety pin for an even more versatile tool. Image: Dominique Godbout.
7. Plastic Bags
If you still haven’t gotten on the reusable shopping bag train, you probably have a cupboard overflowing with those plastic bags you think you’ll use for something, but never do. Well, here are some ideas: You can use them to keep just about anything from getting wet, make a miniature greenhouse to keep plants alive, use them as packing material when shipping stuff and protective bags for your muddy travel shoes — just to name a few. Of course, if you just recycle a few old T-shirts into reusable grocery bags, you’ll never run into this problem again.
6. Nail Polish (And Nail Polish Remover)
Whether you wear it or not, nail polish has more than a few uses around the home. You’ve probably already heard of using it to colour-code your keys, but what about using it to relieve an itchy mosquito bite? Or keep metal cans from rusting? You can even use it to fix your glasses when they start coming loose. As for nail polish remover, that’s handy for removing ink from plastic containers, getting sap off your windshield and even de-yellowing your white MacBook. Just make sure you use the right kind (acetone or non-acetone) for your project. Image: Arienne McCracken.
Besides polishing your chompers, toothpaste can also polish silver, not to mention get rid of scratches on just about anything — includingstubborn scratched DVDs and car headlights. You can also use toothpaste to restore an old, dirty pair of sneakers and even fix their frayed laces (combined with a little glue). Just don’t forget to keep brushing your teeth with it, too, or your dentist will yell at us. Image: Jonas B
4. Hair Dryers
Even if you don’t use one to maintain your mane, a hair dryer can be useful for all sorts of things around the house. It can clean your keyboard, help remove stubborn stickers and make Band-Aids less painful. It can also stretch too-tight shoes, or fix an overly-stretched sweater cuff. And if you’re still printing out the occasional paper document, it can even eke a bit of extra ink out of that cartridge.
Magnets… how do they work? No matter where you find them, it’s no secret they’re MacGyver’s dream tool. From keeping tools and screws organised to removing batteries to holding onto cables and sealing bags that won’t topple over in your fridge, magnets can do just about anything. Check out our top 10 magnet hacks for even more science-y goodness. Photo by Windell Oskay.
Vinegar is a magical thing. In fact, you can use it in place of a bunch of different household cleaners. Use it in the laundry to recharge your towels, use it to deodorise just about anything, or use it to clean the screens on all your gadgets. You can also use it to keep away drain clogs and — with the help of a plastic bag — even clean out your shower head. Our favourite use, though? Rinse your berries in a vinegar solution to drive away mould and keep them fresh longer.
1. Binder Clips
Ah, the binder clip: our favourite little DIY miracle. Everyone should have a $1 bag of these in their house for all the wonderful things they can accomplish: hang your headphones, store your cables, stack beverages in your fridge and even make a car mount that fits any phone. That not enough for you? Check out our top 10 clever uses for binder clips for even more ideas and go get yourself a bag. Seriously, you won’t regret it.