More than 13 billion bottles of wine are consumed worldwide each year, and each bottle you contribute to that mass leaves behind a small (and handy) memento: the cork. To keep yours out of landfills, slice them into disks to use under furniture legs as floor protectors, soak cork in alcohol to ignite a fireplace flame, or donate your cork collection to a good cause like ReCork, a company that recycles used cork for new consumer products.
Related: 9 Ways to Use Cork Around the House
As the climate heats up, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe year after year. Do your part to help conserve water by stocking up on more all-natural charcoal than you need for your summer barbecues. Break the bricks into 1-inch pieces and use it for mulch. It reduces weeds, absorbs moisture from the soil, and cuts down on watering time so you can do your part to help preserve the earth’s natural resources.
Related: 7 Remedies to Rescue a Dying Lawn
Clothespins can help you hold it together—literally. Even when you're not using them to dry hanging clothes, there's plenty of reason to keep them around. Don’t get upset about stale cereal; keep the bag shut with a clothespin. Don’t panic every time the tablecloth blows in the wind; clamp it down with a clothespin. Feeling blue? Glue a magnet to one side, and hang it on the fridge clipped to an important memo: "Don’t sweat the small stuff!"
Did you know that it takes thousands, maybe even millions of years for Styrofoam peanuts to biodegrade? So the next time you open a package with these bits and pieces, don’t toss them out. Toss them in—into the bottoms of pots to provide better drainage for plants, or into a sagging a bean bag chair, or inside a dresser drawer with just a spritz of your favorite perfume. Mother Earth will thank you.
You may be out of eggs, but a carton's life use extends well past fridge storage. Use them to corral and collect knickknacks in drawers, or start your garden by sprouting seedlings in one of the cardboard variety. Place a seed in each egg cup filled with soil; once it sprouts, separate the individual pods and plant them directly in the ground. The cardboard is biodegradable, so it'll decompose in the soil as your garden springs to life.
Related: 5 Things to Do with… Egg Cartons
For the past 70 years, duct tape has been the go-to product for solving problems on the spot. That should earn it a special shelf in your workshop to store multiple rolls, don't you think? Use it to repair rips in a tent, cover air leaks in a beach ball, catch pesky flies, remove pet hair, or patch an air duct.
Tennis balls “serve” a multitude of purposes in the game of life, so even if you have no plans to go back to the court, it's worth hanging onto a can of these bouncy balls. Cut one in half along the seams to make two instant jar openers—the rubber inside provides a great grip on lids. Or, rub scuff marks off of your floors with a ball attached to the end of a broom. They even do work in the laundry room: Throw some tennis balls into the dryer to fluff comforters, coats, and pillows.
Wire Coat Hangers
If you have more coat hangers in your closet than clothes, find new homes (and new uses!) for them around your house. Move a few to the garden to create a trellis for plants, one to the bathroom as a low-cost snake for a clogged drain, or in the laundry room for re-stringing a lost drawstring swim trunks or hooded sweatshirts.
A well-stocked laundry room is always a good thing, especially when it's full of versatile supplies. Besides keeping clothes fresh, use dryer sheets to remove dust from appliances, blinds, and everything in between. Stop soap scum from building with a few swipes of a sheet, or keep a few in your luggage for fresh smelling clothes while traveling. Best of all, stop stinky feet with a few dryer sheets stuffed inside shoes, or stop sneakers from squeaking with a swipe to the soles.
Cable Zip Ties
Just because the world’s gone wireless, doesn’t mean cable ties have gone by the wayside. It's still a smart idea to keep a stash in the drawer with your plastic baggies and other disposable organizers. Then, when it's time to fix a toilet handle, don’t call a plumber; instead reattach the broken chain with a couple of cable ties. Or, secure cabinet handles and child-proof your kitchen with a couple of cable ties.
Never say “no” to nail polish, as this beauty supply is as useful as it is pretty. Colored varieties can mark the perfect temperature on your shower handle and the heads of house keys to differentiate whose is whose. A coat of clear polish can tackle even more jobs discreetly: preventing screws on a toilet seat from rust, fixing a broken window screen, or slowing the progress of a cracked windshield when applied to both sides of the crack.
Related: How To—Get Rid of Every Carpet Stain
With a creative coin jar and several household uses for pocket change—like tucking a few pennies inside a curtain hem to help them hang evenly or setting tile with pennies as substitute spacers where the grout will go—there's no need to convert coins to dollars immediately. Or, think even more long-term, and simply save your change like one Texas billionaire; he collected more than $1 million dollars in nickels because their 6.8 cents value as scrap metal exceeds their monetary worth!
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!