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Tell More Than your top tips for reusing everyday items around the house - £250 voucher prize draw NOW CLOSED

(157 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Nov-13 11:44:10

More Than would like to find out Mumsnetters' top tips for using everyday items in imaginative and unconventional ways around the home to make life that little bit easier.

Here's what More Than have to say, "Life can be full of little frustrations. At MORE TH>N we want to help, and that's why we love collecting and sharing all sorts of tips and tricks that make life that little bit easier. We like to think of them as 'helping hands', those clever ideas you never knew you needed to know. We're always on the look-out for more great hints to share, so if you've got a top tip, let us know."

For inspiration, watch the video clip below and then share your top tips on this thread.

What do you think of the suggestions given in the video? Which, if any, would you try out? Do you already use some of these ideas around the house already? Have you got any to add? Maybe you use a rubber band around paint pots to scrape excess paint onto from your paint brush? Or, do you use magnets to make sure your bag of crisps stay sealed? Whatever it is, we'd love to hear about it.

Everyone who adds their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 Amazon voucher.

Thanks and good luck,


peanutMD Mon 04-Nov-13 12:18:54

Some of the ideas were pretty clever yet so simple.

My favourites were the peg to hold nails and the casette case as a phone/mp3(4) player stand but I'm not so sure about the cupcake case protectors or the tube wire holders.

I don't use any of these at present but would try some out if the situations arise.

I don't have any ground breaking ideas but i do use toilet roll tubes as wrapping paper holders to keep them neat, blue tac to keep a pen beside the memo board on the kitchen wall and pegs to secure bags of food closed (frozen peas, sweetcorn, crisps etc) oh and i use suitcases to store christmas presents so not only are they not taking up extra space but they're also well hidden smile

CMOTDibbler Mon 04-Nov-13 12:31:08

Some of the things I do already - like bands round hangers to stop slipping, peg to hold nails.

I tie ribbons (or more recently the random ID lanyards that we acquire) to the nail scissors so they are more easily found. The bottle openers have also acquired lanyards to attach them to the bbq or whatever at parties.

CrewElla Mon 04-Nov-13 12:31:10

I use old foam swimming noodles inside long boots to keep them upright and maintain to shape of the boot.

I've never used any of the ideas from the ad but might used the rubber band to get out a stripped screw.

clubnail Mon 04-Nov-13 12:55:47

I use an old toothbrush to get the hair out of the bath plughole. The hairs catch on the toothbrush bristles really well, then you just turn the toothbrush slowly, and a lovely matted mess of old hair and gunk comes up out the plughold. Quite satisfying.

BellaVida Mon 04-Nov-13 13:21:06

Some good ideas there. Here are some we do at home:-
-Use rubber gloves to remove hair from furniture, rugs, carpets.
-Put a rubber band around a jar lid for more grip
-Put used dryer sheets in drawers and cupboards to keep clothes and bedding smelling fresh.
-Use pegs or bulldog clips to seal open packets.
-Reuse carrier bags as rubbish bags around the house.
-Use clear nail varnish to stop holes/runs in your tights.
-Rub Brazil nuts over small scratches on wooden furniture to hide them.

I am sure I will think of more later. I always hold onto things thinking they will come in useful!

Willemdefoeismine Mon 04-Nov-13 14:05:31

I use defunct toothbrushes for scrubbing difficult to reach bits in the bathroom.....infact I've toothbrush scrubbed the shower this morning - works wonders.....

telsa Mon 04-Nov-13 20:15:56

I keep attractive tins for pens, pencils etc.
I use egg boxes to store stones and minerals collected at the beach and elsewhere. Children then display them as a museum.
I use magazines as wrapping paper.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 04-Nov-13 21:31:29

I love the cassette case tip. Sort of new technology meets old.
I already do the ribbon on the case.
I'll try the coat hanger elastic band thing- that's a pet peeve of mine, stuff falling down in my wardrobe.
The peg for nails is good but I just use DH.
I wouldn't use the loo roll tubes for cables as it seems unhygienic tbh.

I use Ferrero Rocher boxes to keep my earrings in pairs and to store rings. It's a tip I got from my nan and is a good excuse to eat more chocolate. It has to be the large, flat containers with a compartment for each chocolate/pair of earrings/ring, not the small ones. smile

sharond101 Mon 04-Nov-13 21:55:10

We use old toothbrushes for difficult to reach places in cleaning. the dog clears up most crumbs and the baby washes the floor with baby wipes.

LentilAsAnything Mon 04-Nov-13 23:56:29

I use an old muffin tin for toddler DS's paints.

k8vincent Tue 05-Nov-13 08:24:10

I'm another toothbrush user - cleaning the grout in the shower (although I don't do this very often). We have pens and pencils everywhere and I have recycled some old tins and made pen pots out of them. I've used so many pegs to seal rice/pasta bags that I now need to buy more pegs.

WhyIRayLiotta Tue 05-Nov-13 10:44:35

I liked all the tips. I already do the ribbon on luggage one. I love the iPhone / cassette stand.

I use kitchen roll tubes to wrap my Christmas lights around. So they unravel easily and we don't need to spend hours untangling knots.

I also use my straighteners regularly as an iron substitute... For visible collars and cuffs or for the bows on blouses etc. slattern

WowOoo Tue 05-Nov-13 11:34:00

We already use some of those ideas.
I have colour coded rubber things on keys - will last longer than nail polish, but still a cheaper and useful alternative.

We use foil and cling film rolls to store wires. Great as you can write on the cardboard also. I also stick a bit of masking tape around the wire and stick together a bit I can write on. We got fed up of looking for a specific cable.

Rubber bands are great for lots of things: grips for jars, keeping bags of foodstuff closed and fresh. I've even used many together as a temporary child lock on a set of cupboard doors.

I keep gift boxes and similar to use as drawer dividers - for smalls, make up, DIY stuff. Old chocolate or biscuit tins for the kids' card collections and small plastic characters. They cover them in stickers.

champagnesupernova2 Tue 05-Nov-13 11:36:18

Use pegs to hold post
Use old ribbon to hang on keys to find them easily in handbag

DismemberedDwerf Tue 05-Nov-13 11:36:23

If you have a round potato masher, use it to squeeze tuna in the tin to get the brine out.

matchsticks are great for plugging/filling too-big screw holes when you have a screw that just turns and turns and turns...

manfalou Tue 05-Nov-13 11:50:25

Some good ideas there... We already do the luggage one although we use brightly coloured odd socks that we have acquired over time.

Some other things we do are:

-Use the mesh bags you get with washing up tabs for small socks to keep them from the washing machine sock monster.

- Pegs to keep 'sharing' bags of crisps fresh
- Washing up liquid is great for getting stains out of carpets
- Use tins from xmas chocolates to store various food stuffs (Sachets of porridge in one, cereal bars in another...) Better than having loads of boxes and it means we can stock up when offers are on.
- Use old squeezey tomato sauce bottles to keep home made paints in.
-Use the paper of a tea bag and clear nail varnish to 'repair' short broken nails until they grow a tad longer.

NotAFeminist Tue 05-Nov-13 11:55:08

I loved the video with the top 10 tips! My favourites were cupcake holders keep the bugs out! Using loo rolls as wire holders (we have a gazillion wires and at present, they are all stuffed in a drawer!) and using a cassette case as a holder - that one is sheer brilliance! I was thinking the other day that someone needs to invent a book holder so I can eat and read at the same time... (If this has already been done and I have been ignorant thus far, DO tell! DH helpfully suggested a kindle! (because he has one!))

Mine are unimaginative in comparison! But I used string and a wrapping paper roll to make a clothing rail in my son's bedroom cupboard! (We haven't been living here too long and still have little bits and pieces to buy for our home!!)

I still don't have an airer for drying clothes in winter so I use two curtain poles we never used and lay them across the top of an open cupboard and hang the washing on hangers! (In the summer, I hung washing on hangers on the washing line as I still only have 3 clothes pegs!)

I use the 3 clothes pegs I own to seal open packets of food.

I use coronation chicken sandwich filler pots - after a mighty good clean - to store bits of jewellery and hair bands in (they still end up either everywhere else but the pot, or completely lost!) I use one for the sugar, too, and use them to store leftover food to freeze for my son! And plastic holders a pack of 4 muffins come in to keep all my beads and buttons and crafty bits in.

I still don't have a cutlery tray in a kitchen drawer so I use 3 plastic things chocolate bars come in next to each other to separate all the cutlery.

DH uses an old Krispy Kreme donut tin to store his comic books in! And we he uses two 6 pinters of milk filled with water to work out with!

An old cardboard-y basket-y thing that an Easter egg came in last year keeps all DH's keys for the house, sheds and work in one place and tidy!

I use an old baby food jar to keep son's toothbrush in and an old pasta sauce jar for my and DH's toothbrushes in the bathroom!

I use son's baby bath he's grown out of to store his toys in and his moses basket to store his teddies, blankets, towels in which he loves to take out and put back in again!

I use the box that son's highchair came in as a sort of table to put things like books, lip balm etc on... and a huge nappy box with shoe boxes on top as a bedside table... and an old mug serves as a pen and other little bits holder on that 'bedside table'...

...Blimey, I need to get some proper stuff in, don't i?!!!

I just like to keep things and find a use for them later on. I've made a few toys for my son using boxes and other bits I recycled like a rattle and a shape sorter contraption thing! Not because he didn't have any toys, but because I like to make new things from old things! It makes me feel all resourceful and proper mum-ish! ;)

Oh, and I use the backs of asda delivery receipts and old CV's and receipts as note paper!

And the curtain that went with the two curtain poles we never used? Covers a biiig moving box to make it look like an actual legitimate piece of furniture, but it's just used for storage and resting a huge picture on! (Oh, the deceit, I know!!)

maxmissie Tue 05-Nov-13 12:06:24

Don't use any of the tips in the video but will give some of them a try!

Tips I have:
- using a tootbrush to clean jewellery, especially rings;
- using baby wipes to get stains out of carpets;
- clear nail varnish to stop holes running in tights;
- old tights are useful for tying round boxes - especially if moving house;
- biscuit tins for storing cakes, spices etc in;
- plastic tubs (e.g. margarine, ice cream tubs) for storing food in the freezer.

Kipsy Tue 05-Nov-13 12:22:23

Great video - there were some tips on here that are new to me (and I am someone who regularly scours mumsnet and pinterest tips for the household - not that I use many of them!)

I'd definitely use the peg-nail tip(my left thumb thanks you!), or the rubber band for unscrewing.

I already do the ribbon on the suitcase trick - I use a very distinctive glittery tacky ribbon to ensure no one else would have chosen it!

I would not use loo rolls for anything on public view as it is a tad embarassing. I might cover them with pretty scrapbook paper first though. Also, I would never use magnets near food - not a good idea!

* I use pegs to close packets and hang up art work on an art "clothesline"
* We use radiators to display art with magnets on.
* We use game counters or cards from existing board games to use in new/knock-off games. For example, we used an elastic head band and some old phonics flash cards to make up our own HeadBandz game.
* We use old jars and tins as containers.
* We made a doll's bed from a wicker basket with a handle, and a play kitchen from a nightstand.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 05-Nov-13 12:46:18

We use 4 pint milk jugs as really handy paint pots. You cut the top off, leaving the handle intact, and sloped down low enough at the front so you can get your hand and the brush in. It's so much easier to hold than a paint tin or tray, especially up a ladder, and can be thrown away with no need to wash etc.

bettterandnow Tue 05-Nov-13 13:11:10

Can't think of anything that hasn't already been listed. Only problem I can see is the suitcase idea I've been doing for years but with brightly coloured hairbands as they can then be used while away should an emergency arise eg round the big packs of sharing crisps if not eaten in one go, etc but now can see that if everyone starts doing this we are all back to square one!

Coffeechick Tue 05-Nov-13 13:37:46

I already use coloured ribbons on my black suitcase to find it quickly on the luggage carousel.

I use old toothbrushes to clean grouting and hard to reach areas in the bathroom.
I also learnt that the ring pull on cans can be used to hold your straw in place in your drink

stealthsquiggle Tue 05-Nov-13 13:49:12

Lots of these I do - I quite like the loo rolls to keep cables from descending into one huge tangle, though.

Most innovative one was DH and DS who, when making a large batch of pasta, decided that the clothes airer was not big enough to dry it all on and instead used an iron bedhead which I have been meaning to sell ever since we got our new bed hmm

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Tue 05-Nov-13 14:23:48

Some of the tips were quite good and I will use them in future (if I remember) - the mashed screwhead/elastic band trick and the peg to hold a nail tip.

Already do the ribbon on suitcase tip. I also tried the cables in loo roll middles thing, but just ended up with a drawer full of mixed cables and middles. Perhaps if I had less than three billion cables then it would've worked better.

Off the top of my head:

- all cards, calendars, invites etc. are cut up for glueing, card-making, random pritt stick related activities for the DC.

- used up candles in jars and glasses are removed and the containers used for tealights, or reused for homemade candles. We also currently have an Ikea scented candle jar in our kitchen cupboard masquerading as a drinking glass. And two small floral bowls which once housed candles are now being used for nibbles etc.

- all jars are washed out and used to store miscellaneous items in the pantry: used batteries waiting for recycling, elastic bands, miscellaneous nails etc.

- most packaging material is saved and reused for sending eBay items off to their new owners. Postal bags can be turned inside out and reused.

The milk carton-paint pot idea mentioned upthread is ace. I will definitely use that in future. I did make some lovely Elmer elephants out of milk cartons with the DC once. That went down well, see here

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