One man's rubbish is another man's treasure, and we've always been fond of finding MacGyver-like uses for anything and everything — right down to dryer lint and used candy wrappers. Here are our top 10 favourite hacks for things you thought were headed to the tip.
Title image remixed from Yuliyan Velchev
10. Make A Waterproof Fire Starter Out Of Dryer Lint
For all the laundry we do in a week, we accumulate a massive amount of dryer lint. Wouldn't it be better off going toward something useful? Whether you're making an outdoor or indoor fire, you can always use a little help to get things started, and that dryer lint can help. Just throw the lint into a section of an egg carton, tie it up with dental floss, cover it in some old candle wax, and you've got yourself a waterproof fire starter for any occasion. It should last you about 15 minutes, more than enough to get a roaring fire going.
9. Make A Tablet Stylus Out Of A Candy Wrapper
Steve Jobs may not have approved of stylus usage, but sometimes you just need to let your inner artist out and a finger doesn't cut it. Instead of buying a stylus though, you can make one yourself out of an old pen and a used candy wrapper. If you want to go above and beyond, a bit of tissue paper or newspaper can make it all the better.
8. Turn Bread Tags Into Cord Labels
I dread the days when I have to reach behind my desk to move some cables around, since I can never figure out which one is which. Eliminate that annoyance by labeling your cables with old bread tags: just write down the device that each cord leads to and slap them on. You'll never have to run your hand through that bird's nest of cables ever again.
7. Turn A Plastic Bottle Into A Smartphone Bike Mount
While we recommend investing in a reusable water bottle, sometimes you just have to buy it bottled, and then you have one more piece of trash lying around. Instead of throwing it away, you can turn it into a rainproof bike mount for your smartphone — perfect for navigating you home and avoiding inclement weather.
6. Remove Bad Smells And Clean Windows With Newspaper
Old newspapers are good for more than just starting a fire and if you still haven't moved over to the digital edition of your favourite rag, you can use it as a household odour-killer. Just stuff it in drawers, refrigerators, shoes, or any other smelly place and it should clear that odor right up. You could also turn it into an actual rag: newspaper is the perfect way to clean your windows with a streak-free shine.
5. Turn An Old Gift Card Into A Headphone Cable Wrapper
Once you've used up that gift card from Aunt Petunia, you don't have to toss it — with a few cuts here and there, it can make a great cable wrapper for your headphones. Of course, you can always use our beloved "devil horns" method if you don't have a gift card around, but the gift card can help keep them from unravelling.
4. Turn An Old Sock Into An MP3 Player-Holding Armband
If you've tried exercising with your smartphone or MP3 player, you know how much of a pain they can be bouncing around in your pocket or clipped onto your shorts. Clipping it on your arm really is the best way to go, and if you don't want to buy an armband, just cut the toe off an old sock and slide it up your arm. Then, fold the bottom half up to create a pocket for your device. It may not be quite as fancy as the store-bought model, but it's hard to beat the low price of $0.
3. Turn A Shampoo Bottle Into A Charging Station
We all have one or two devices we dump out of our pockets as soon as we get home, and what better place to put them than in the wall? With an old shampoo or lotion bottle, you can create a nice charging cradle for them that hangs right off the socket, so they aren't taking up space on the floor. Alternatively, you can take those old bottles and organise your cables on the wall, too.
2. Turn Toilet Paper Tubes Into Cable Organisers
We tech nerds amass loads of extra cables over time, and we're afraid to get rid of them for fear we might need them one day. The solution? Take all those toilet paper tubes you use up and turn them into an ugly but incredibly awesome cable organizer. It'll keep all your cables stored and labelled neatly, without tangles, all the while making use of your trash. You can also use them to just control your cable clutter of individual appliances, too.
1. Turn A Soft Drink Can Into A Wi-Fi Extender
We're always looking for ways to improve our Wi-Fi signal, and if you aren't ready to give up and buy a new router, you can try extending your range with a soft drink can. Just cut it up and put it on your antenna, where it'll act as a parabolic reflector and enjoy Wi-Fi on the far side of your house. Plus, when you're done, you can hang pictures with the can's tabs, too.
Got any other clever tips for reusing your trash? Share them with us in the comments.