Last October we pulled a few of our favorite ideas from Real Simple's book 869 New Uses for Old Things. The book is full of great tips for rethinking and reusing items around the home. Here are 11 more particularly suited to this time of the year! (My favorite? The garden hose rack for storing Christmas tree lights!)
- Apple container: to store fragile holiday ornaments.
- Aluminum foil: twist foil into links to make sparkly garland for a homemade party decoration.
- Branches: to make an instant holiday centerpiece or spruce up a wrapped gift.
- Candy canes: to create sweet cupcake toppers.
- Chalk: to slow tarnish on the good silverware, tie up a few pieces of chalk in cheesecloth and store them with cutlery to absorb moisture.
- Floss (unwaxed): to truss a turkey or a chicken (if you forgot to pick up twine).
- Garden hose rack: to streamline your holiday decorating. Wrap strings of lights around the rack so they stay tangle-free.
- Ink pad: avoid licking stamps when holiday-card season arrives. Replace a dried-out ink pad with a damp sponge and use it to seal envelopes and affix stamps.
- Nutcracker: use to twist off a stuck cap. A nutcracker lends extra gripping power when you're dealing with stubborn tops of soda bottles.
- Raisins: to restore bubbles to champagne. Drop a raisin (or three) into near-flat sparkling wine to release any last bubbles.
- Umbrella stand: use to contain gift-wrapping supplies.
(Images: Real Simple. Originally published 2010-12-01)