Uncommon Uses for Common Things: Autumn Edition

We’re deep into the season of fall, and although Halloween has passed, the bustle of the holiday season beginning is almost here. I know you want to enjoy the season, especially the holidays, so I’ve gathered 39 helpful hints for you to make things a little simpler and easier so you may be less worrisome to enjoy your time with your family. Whether you are hosting a feast or living your life as normal, you’ll find some uncommon uses for common things to help.

photo courtesy of tatertotsandjello.com

1.) If you’re like most people, then your plastic bags are in no order and eventually build up to the point where it’s a complete mess. To avoid this, try this bag-rolling technique to be able to pull one out just like a kleenex.

2.) Halloween candy and Thanksgiving meals may start to weigh you down. And Christmas will be no help. Make sure your zipper on your tight jeans stays up with this nifty trick. No one can see it and it’s simple to undo. Best of all, it’s easy to make. Just get a key ring and attach it to your jeans.

3.) You can soothe the pain of burns with a wet teabag. Many people say that Chamomile works the best.

4.) When hanging up decorations, don’t guess where the back of a picture frame goes or feebly attempt to make a pencil marking. Place a dab of toothpaste on the back of the decoration and then place it where you would like it to go. Then you will know exactly where you need to hang the pin or nail.

5.) When smelly foods rub off on your hands when preparing a feast, rub your hands on something stainless steel, such as a spoon. It will absorb the smell.

6.) Don’t worry if wine is spilled during your Thanksgiving dinner, just mix together one part dish soap (not dish detergent) and two parts hydrogen peroxide, and rub it over the spot. If the mess is very large or very deep, use some hot water as well. It should come out very quickly.

7.) Save yourself from unnecessary fat this holiday season by adding an ice cube to a soup or sauce. The fat will be drawn to the ice cube and then you simply take the ice cube and excess fat that accumulates with it.

8.) No need to put a large blender in a dishwasher to clean it. Just pour in hot water and dish soap and blend as normal. You’ll clean it with no effort and save space in the dishwasher.

9.) If you happen to over salt your autumn stew, toss in a peeled potato. It will absorb the excess salt to save you from a bad meal.

10.) Save yourself from buying several novelty baking pans by molding the the shape yourself in tin foil. In a regular baking pan, take enough sheets to make a sturdy shape and make the mould of your choosing. This way you can get stars and snowmen without buying nay new pans this holiday season.

11.) If all else fails with cleaning your burnt pans, pour some Coca-Cola in them and let them soak for an hour, and then wash normally. The acid should eat away the residue leaving it as good as new.

12.) If your bread is going stale, add a piece of brocoli to the bag. It makes the bread soft and fresh-tasting again. You must have fresh bread for turkey sandwiches after all.

courtesy of marthastewart.com

13.) For that iron cast skillet that’s impossible to get clean, don’t get it wet. Instead, just add salt and scrub with a soft sponge or a dry paper towel. Once the gunk if off, then you wash it regularly.

14.) To avoid hot spices soaking into your skin when cooking, cover your hands in oil. If you’ve ever had this problem, you’ll understand how great this is.

15.) Especially on Thanksgiving when you don’t have enough room in your fridge, create a new shelf by stacking a cookie sheet on top of soup cans.

16.) Tin foil works well for keeping heat in one place. Put this to use with your radiator by putting a piece of tin foil behind it. It will prevent the heat from being absorbed into the wall, so it will be forced to move around the room.

17.) If you aren’t sure if you should use those eggs that are at their expiration date, here’s a simple test. Put the eggs into a bowl of water where they have a little room to float. If the egg sinks to bottom, it’s still good. If only one ends floats, it can still be used, but should be used soon. If it floats, it’s expired and should not be used.

18.) If you’re worried your potatoes may sprout buds before you make mashed potatoes out of them, just throw an apple into the bag.

19.) Instead of throwing out the water left over from boiling potatoes or pasta, water your plants with it. The nutrients left over from these foods will help your plants greatly, especially during the cold weather.

20.) Rather than waiting for your turkey to defrost overnight, just pour vinegar all over it. This will cause it to defrost much quicker and tenderize it as well. This can be done on all meats, too.

21.) Baking soda may absorb odors in the fridge, but charcoal actually does a much greater job. So, if you need some extra help with all the leftovers you’ll have, look no further than your grill.

22.) If you’ve lost the back of an earring, break off a tiny piece of an eraser and you are set for at least the night.

23.) If you don’t want to throw out oil after one use, fry a piece of ginger in it to eliminate the tastes of what was cooked.

24.) If your aluminum pans are getting gunky and washing isn’t helping, boil apple peels in it. This will get rid of the build up and make your house smell great as well.

photo courtesy of storageandglee.blogspot.com

25.) Keep brown sugar soft by throwing a few marshmallows into the bag.

26.) If your hands get stained while chopping up fruits and vegetables, and water isn’t doing the trick, get the color off by simply rubbing your hands on a peeled potato.

27.) If you find two glasses stuck together when you’re setting the table, put an ice cube in the top one and submerge the bottom one into warm water. They will come apart easily. It’s much better than pulling them apart and chancing that you may break them.

28.) Save money on Oxyclean as well by making your own. Just mix two parts water with one part hydrogen peroxide and one part baking soda.

courtesy of marthastewart.com

29.) If you can’t whiten your shirts or tablecloths enough, boil hot water and lemons in a pot. Once boiled, turn the heat off and soak your whites for an hour. Then wash as usual. You’re whites will be whitened and your house will smell fresh.

30.) If your candles drip onto the table or wooden floor, wipe up the wax with equal parts water and vinegar on a rag.

31.) The most common use of tin foil is not known by all: cover the edges of the pan when baking a pie to prevent the crust from burning.

courtesy of marthastewart.com

32.) Keep your pantry bug-free this winter by hanging bay leaves. Space them out evenly to keep the bugs out of your flour and sugar. The more you hang, the more they will stay away.

33.) If you are already waking up to snow and frost, coat your windshield in three parts white vinegar and one part water. The acidity of the vinegar will prevent ice from forming, saving you from having to scrape ice in the morning.

34.) Clean your microwave in a breeze by simply microwaving a bowl of equal parts vinegar and water for a few minutes. The steam will loosen the mess and the vinegar will deodorize as well. Once the time is up, wipe away everything easily for a quick cleanup.

35.) Before taking Tylenol for your headache, try three things. First, drink a glass of water quickly. Most headaches are actually caused from dehydration. If that doesn’t fix the problem, stretch and massage your neck and back. Tight muscles will strain your muscles and nerves giving you harsh headaches (a problem I’m all to familiar with). If all else fails, press and massage the pressure point between your thumb and index finger.

courtesy of designsponge.com

36.) Make the cold weather prettier by letting water freeze overnight in a bucket with some branches and berries. Once frozen, remove the ice from the bucket and add a candle to it and voila! You now have a beautiful ice candle.

37.) Another way to get out stains from the carpet is to spray foam shaving cream over the spot. Allow it to soak up the stain for a minute or two and then wipe it up with a cloth.

38.) To iron quickly, put a sheet of tin foil under the clothes. The tin foil will keep the heat against the clothing causing both sides to be ironed at once.

39.) To steam your delicate winter sweaters (such as wool and silk), place a piece of tin on top of and below the clothing. Hover slightly above the clothing and use the steam setting on your iron. The heat will permeate the tin foil and the tin foil will retain the heat between the two sheets. So, you get the benefits of steaming the clothing without actually touching it.

There you have it! Your list of simple how-to’s and shortcuts to make things a bit more easy around your home this fall using things you can find around the house. If you have any tips for the fall that we’ve left out, let us know below! Also, check out our Uncommon Uses for Common Things Summer, and How to Not Lose Stuff editions!

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