Top 10 Most Versatile Household Multitaskers

If ever there was a great way to save money and reduce clutter in your house, it’s finding other uses for the stuff you already have. Here are our ten favorite multitaskers that you probably already have at home.

10. Lip Balm

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersAs if soothing your chapped lips isn’t good enough, lip balm can do a lot of other stuff: fix stuck drawers, lube up sticky light bulb sockets, and even get stuck zippers to work again. Of course, you probably don’t want to use it on your lips after you’ve rubbed it on drawers, light sockets, and zippers—but that’s what your old, actually-bad-for-your-lips lip balm is for. Photo by ganesha.isis.

9. Kitty Litter

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersJust because you don’t have a cat doesn’t mean you can’t make use of a little extra kitty litter. It’s useful for deodorizing just about anything, from stinky shoes to drawers and closets, your fridge, or even the bottom of your trash can. Not only that, but it can even save a cellphone that you’ve dropped in water if you don’t have some rice handy. Photo by sneakerdog.

8. Paper Clips

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersIt’s no secret that paper clips do more than just clip paper—in fact, you’ve probably come up with a few of your own in a pinch. We like to use them to keep our ties straight, put on bracelets without the fuss, handle tiny USB drives, and—when we’re feeling a bit more evil—crack a padlock. Of course, for those times a paper clip doesn’t cut it, you can always turn a paper clip into a safety pin for an even more versatile tool. Photo by Dominique Godbout.

7. Grocery Bags

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersIf you still haven’t gotten on the reusable grocery bag train, you probably have a cupboard overflowing with those plastic grocery bags that you think you’ll use for something, but never do. Well, here are some ideas: You can use them to keep just about anything from getting wet, make a miniature greenhouse to keep plants alive, use them as packing material when shipping stuff, and protective bags for your muddy travel shoes—just to name a few. Of course, if you just recycle a few old t-shirts into reusable grocery bags, you’ll never run into this problem again.

6. Nail Polish (and Nail Polish Remover)

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersWhether you wear it or not, nail polish has more than a few uses around the home. You’ve probably already heard of using it to color code your keys, but what about using it to relieve an itchy mosquito bite? Or keep metal cans from rusting? You can even use it to fix your glasses when they start coming loose. As for nail polish remover, that’s handy for removing ink from plastic containers, getting sap off your windshield, and even de-yellowing your white MacBook. Just make sure you use the right kind (acetone or non-acetone) for your project. Photo by Arienne McCracken.

5. Toothpaste

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersBesides polishing your chompers, toothpaste can also polish silver, not to mention get rid of scratches on just about anything—includingstubborm scratched DVDs and car headlights. You can also use toothpaste to restore an old, dirty pair of sneakers, and even fix their frayed laces (combined with a little glue). Photo by Jonas B. Just don’t forget to keep brushing your teeth with it, too, or your dentist will yell at us.

4. Hair Dryers

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersEven if you don’t use one to coiffe your mane, a hair dryer can be useful for all sorts of things around the house. It can clean your keyboard, help remove stubborn stickers, and make Band-Aids less painful. It can also stretch too-tight shoes, or fix an overly-stretched sweater cuff. And, if you’re still printing out the occasional paper document, it can even eke a bit of extra ink out of that cartridge.

3. Magnets

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersMagnets…how do they work? No matter where you find them, it’s no secret they’re MacGyver’s dream tool. From keeping tools and screws organized to removing batteries to holding onto cables and sealing bags that won’t topple over in your fridge, magnets can do just about anything. Check out our top 10 magnet hacks for even more science-y goodness. Photo by Windell Oskay.

2. Vinegar

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersVinegar is a magical thing. In fact, you can use it in place of a bunch of different household cleaners. Use it in the laundry to recharge your towels, use it to deodorize just about anything, or use it to clean the screens on all your gadgets. You can also use it to keep away drain clogs and—with the help of a plastic bag—even clean out your shower head. Our favorite use, though? Rinse your berries in a vinegar solution to drive away mold and keep them fresh longer.

1. Binder Clips

Top 10 Most Versatile Household MultitaskersAh, the binder clip: our favorite little DIY miracle. Everyone should have a $1 bag of these in their house for all the wonderful things they can accomplish: hang your headphones, store your cables, stack beverages in your fridge, and even make a car mount that fits any phone. That not enough for you? Check out our top 10 clever uses for binder clips for even more ideas, and go get yourself a bag. Seriously, you won’t regret it.


How Much You Actually Save By Squeezing Out the Last Bit of Toothpaste


Do you try to squeeze out every bit of shampoo or toothpaste out of the bottle to get the most for your money? The Simple Dollar crunches some numbers to show that might not be worth your while: if you aren’t sure, follow the “two second rule.”

Basically, he suggests you divide the cost of the bottle by the number of uses you’d get out of it. That’s your “per use value”. It’s not an exact math but you should be able to estimate how many uses you get out of a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste. Once the easy uses are done and you have to start putting in time and effort to squeeze out the remaining bits, figure out of the if the per use value is worth that time and effort for you, or if you’re better off just chucking it. If the last five uses are going to take a lot of effort and only add up to 20 cents worth of savings, you’re just wasting yoru time.

If you want a simple rule to follow, if it’s really easy and takes only a second or two, a little extra effort to get the last bit out is worth it; if it’s not that easy, it better save multiple uses or it’s not worth it.

I’d suggest reading the full post linked below to get a clearer idea and detailed number-crunching. He also explains how the one minute needed to fold up a tube might be worth it, but the same effort for a shampoo might not.