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best home hacks

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I hate waste. I always like to think that when I spend a dollar, that I can stretch that dollar. I like to see all money out the door as an investment. I hope every item I bring into my home will make some task easier or relieve me of some stress down the line. So it can be really hard for me to toss things out. Of course, if you’re never willing to throw anything away, you risk reaching hoarder status and having stuff all over the place. So, if you’re going to hang onto something, you need to have a purpose for it. Don’t just hang onto it “in case.” Discover ways to put it to use in a way that won’t feel cluttered or clumsy. It is amazing what a little creativity can do. It really can help you stretch your dollars. Our immediate instinct, when we need something, is to look online or go to a store. We buy the exact things we need, brand new. But sometimes, something you already have in your home would get the job done. All it takes is a small shift in perspective to see how something you always thought just had one purpose, actually has many. Here are ways to repurpose common household items you’d usually just throw away.

best home hacks

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Six-pack carton=tabletop condiment holder

Fold flat and hang onto some of your six-pack cartons from soda bottles and beer bottles. They’re just the right size to store a bottle of hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, and maybe salt and pepper shakers. You can have a restaurant-style condiment holder on your table, or give yourself an easy way to transport these items for a picnic.

best home hacks

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Mesh bag as a sponge

Hang onto some of those coarse mesh bags that certain veggies come in, like Brussels sprouts. Tossing them in the landfill can pose a risk to animals down the line, who get caught in these items. Meanwhile, you can wad yours up and use it to remove stubborn stains from dishes and appliances. It will work very similarly to steel wool.

best home hacks

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Cereal bag for a pastry bag

When you’re done with a box of cereal, don’t toss out the plastic bag inside. Give that a rinse. If you make a lot of pastries, it can be an excellent pastry bag. Just put your dough inside, cut out one corner, tie off the top, and squeeze. To conserve wax paper, you can also cut this bag into squares to separate burger patties that are stacked on top of each other.

best home hacks

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Laundry baskets as storage baskets

Have several plastic laundry baskets lying around that you no longer need for laundry? Maybe you upgraded to a canvas or cloth designer bag. Hang onto those baskets. If you have a few in different colors, paint them the same color, and use them as storage in empty shelves. They can help better conceal items you keep in cubbies.

best home hacks

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Egg cartons for individual sauce servings

Unless you serve a family of 12, you likely have tons of leftovers every time you make, say, pasta sauce or Mole sauce. You don’t have an immediate need for it, since you won’t have that recipe again for a while. But you can pour it into an egg carton to create individual servings of the sauce, and freeze it. Just cut out the portion you’ll need, the day of, and let it defrost.

best home hacks

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Glass jars as grease collectors

If you buy something that comes in a glass mason jar, like jam, hold onto it. These can make the perfect grease collectors. Remember that it’s not good for your drain to pour things like frying grease or bacon grease down it. Instead, pour that into a glass jar, let it solidify, and toss that into the trash.

best home hacks

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Old Frisbees = better disposable plates

Maybe your Frisbee playing days are over. That was a college thing or a high school thing. However, if you like to have a lot of picnics or host plenty of barbecues or poolside parties, you can use these Frisbees to fortify floppy paper plates. Just put your weak paper plate inside the Frisbee, and it’ll stay sturdy as you pile it high with food.

best home hacks

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TP rolls as cable organizers

You could go to a home goods store and buy a pricey cable organizer, but do you really even need your cable organizer to be that pretty? Just hang onto toilet paper or paper towel cardboard rolls. These give you a smart and tidy way to bundle up and consolidate your cables.

best home hacks

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Hanging shoe racks for office or pantry items

Maybe in your younger years, when you weren’t yet into interior décor, you bought some simple plastic, over-the-door hanging shoe bags. You don’t need that for shoes anymore, but that’s a valuable storage item. You can hang it over the inside of a pantry door to store miscellaneous pantry items, or put it over your office door to keep office supplies.

best home hacks

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Condiment bottles as dispensers

Don’t be so quick to toss out that mustard or ketchup bottle just because it’s empty. Give the bottle a good wash. Now you can use it for things like homemade salad dressing, so you don’t need to make a fresh batch for every single salad. Or you can use it for pancake batter, to dole out perfectly-sized circles of the stuff on your pan.

best home hacks

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Tissue boxes as baggy holders

Do you hang onto every plastic bag that comes into your house? I get it. You never know when you’ll need it to line a trash bin, pick up after your pet or pack a few snacks for the road. But the bags pile up and take space. Stuff them into an empty tissue box. It consolidates them, and gives you a nice way to pull them out, one by one.

best home hacks

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Cassette box = gift card holder

You may not even have a way to play cassettes anymore. These have been extinct for a while. But you still have all of the plastic cases in which they came. So, what do you do when you get someone a gift card? You buy a gift card box. It’s a few dollars. You hadn’t planned for that expense. Try instead decorating an old cassette box, and putting your gift card in there.

best home hacks

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Paper towel rack for storing tape or ribbon

You may keep tons of rolls of ribbon around for wrapping presents, or lots of rolls of tape for miscellaneous packing needs. They roll around in drawers, taking up space. If you have an old paper towel rack that you no longer use for paper towels, stack your rolls of ribbon or tape on here. It makes it easy to see what you have.

best home hacks

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Tin cupcake pan = earing or ring holder

Maybe you have a vintage tin cupcake pan. It was handed down from your grandparents. You prefer more modern ones, but the tin does look cool. Put it on your vanity table, and store small pieces of jewelry like rings or earrings in there.

best home hacks

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A broken mini fridge can be storage

If you aren’t too precious about the appearance of your cabinets, your broken mini fridge can provide some much-needed extra storage space. You can keep your books in there, some jewelry, office supplies – you name it. Even if it no longer gets cool, it still has drawers and shelves to store things on.

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