Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Part 4 - The Laundry Room - 101 New Uses for Everyday Items

A few surprising spins on utility-room essentials can give you new appreciation for laundry day.

The Laundry Room

Bleach Bottle
  • Pick up a scoop. Cut diagonally across the middle of an empty, clean bottle and use the half with the handle to scoop up fertilizer, rock salt, or pet waste.

  • See your garden grow. Slice the bottom off an empty, clean jug to make a miniature greenhouse for seedlings. (Place the bottle open-side down over the plants.)

  • Start a home gym. Fill two empty bottles with sand and use as dumbbells.

  • Keep them afloat. Tie empty bottles together to use as buoys or to mark the deep part of a swimming area.

  • Speak up. Cut off the bottle’s base to make a megaphone for refereeing pickup soccer games in the park.

  • Wire Hanger
  • Hold your hoses. Use a wire cutter to snip a hanger into a few six-inch lengths. Bend each one into an arch, then use them as “staples” for keeping a soaker hose in place in flower beds.

  • Reach new heights. Untwist a hanger and use it to adjust out-of-reach air-conditioner vents. Also good for retrieving objects that have slipped between the stove or the refrigerator and cabinets.

  • Make a utility strainer. Pull the hanger into a roughly round shape, cover it with a panty-hose leg, and use it to strain anything you wouldn’t want to put through your kitchen colander.

  • Bend one into a giant bubble wand for kids (of all ages). (Use one part dish detergent and one part water to make your own bubble solution.)

  • Remove static cling. To prevent sticky situations, run the long side of a wire hanger over a skirt, or between your skirt and panty hose or slip.

  • Laundry Basket

  • Have a beach picnic. Tote items to the shore in the basket, then flip it over and use it as a table. Hose the basket off when you get home and it’s ready to go back to wash-day duty.

  • Serve drinks al fresco. Line the basket with a trash bag and fill with ice to make a cooler for impromptu parties.

  • Tame the sprinkler. Store a coiled garden hose in a basket; stash sprinklers, nozzles, and other attachments in the middle of the coil.

  • Protect plants. Place a laundry basket upside down over delicate plants during a rain- or hailstorm.

  • Clothespins
  • Hold that thought. Use a couple of pins to keep cookbooks open while you follow recipes.

  • Track your towels. If you have houseguests, write their names (and yours) on separate clothespins, then attach each clothespin to the appropriate towel to avoid mix-ups when all the towels are hanging in one bathroom.

  • Support your stems. Clothespins can support vines and climbing plants in the garden. Just make sure the stems pass through the holes in the pins.

  • Make clips for displaying recipes and to-do lists. Glue a magnet to the back of a clothespin and stick it to the refrigerator or stove hood.

  • Use as place-card holders or to keep napkins and plastic utensils together at a backyard barbecue. Spray-paint them bright colors for a fun, summery look.
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