Sometimes, though, it's the simple things that can save us the most time and money of all. These cheap and easy kitchen, cleaning and beauty hacks involving basic household items can make your life easier–no chargers, passwords or layaway plans required.
Coffee Filters1 of 19
At just a couple of cents each (or less), you don't need to be a caffeine fiend to find a great use for coffee filters.
• Snack Cups: Use coffee filters as disposable cups to serve snacks on-the-go (or when you just don't feel like doing dishes).
• Perfect Protectors: Layer them between plates, cups and serving dishes when storing to prevent chips and cracks.
• Clean Sweep: Set aside a few coffee filters to use as disposable, lint-free cleaning rags.
• Odor Eaters: Create a simple sachet by filling a coffee filter with baking soda and securing with a rubber band. Use to absorb odors in tight spaces.
• Non-Stick Liner: Line a stovetop steamer with coffee filters to prevent food from sticking.
Dryer Sheets2 of 19
Affordable and versatile, these tips may inspire you to stash boxes of dryer sheets all over the house.
• Static Tamer: Sweep a dryer sheet across tops, pants, skirts and even flyaway hair to banish static.
• Simple Sachet: Line drawers with subtly-scented dryer sheets to keep clothes smelling fresh.
• Clever Duster: Save used sheets after they take a tumble in the dryer. Enough anti-static power remains to effectively dust electronics and screens.
Baking Soda3 of 19
Baking soda may literally have an unlimited number of uses. Here are a few new tricks to add to its already impressive list.
• Gentle Scrub: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a gentle exfoliating paste for lips.
• Super Suds: Add a teaspoon to a dollop of shampoo for a cleansing boost.
• Brush Up: Soak combs and hair brushes in a solution of one quart water and four tablespoons of baking soda to remove buildup.
• Fresher Flowers: To help cut flowers stay fresher, longer, add baking soda to their water.
• Doll Duster: Shake dingy stuffed animals in a large bag with a cup of baking soda. Remove and vacuum away excess soda, along with dirt, grime and dust.
Muffin Pans4 of 19
When was the last time you baked homemade muffins? Exactly. Here's how to put that muffin tin to good use:
• De-Clutter Drawers: The tin's compartments are ideal for keeping tools, craft supplies and junk drawers tidy.
• Serving Tray: Muffin tins are also perfect for serving cookies and cups of milk to hungry kids.
• Upsized Ice Cubes: Use them to create giant-sized ice cubes for water bottles, pitchers and punch bowls.
• Perfect Palette: A muffin tin makes a great reusable paint palette for creative kids--just don't bake in it afterwards.
Aluminum Foil5 of 19
No kitchen is complete without this shiny staple, but it's not just for wrapping food.
• Disposable Scrubber: Use a ball of aluminum foil as a disposable scouring pad on tough-to-clean dishes.
• Grill Cleaner: Grip a ball of aluminum foil with barbecue tongs to create an effective, shape-shifting cleaning tool for grill grates.
Ice Cube Trays6 of 19
Usually forgotten in the back of a cabinet, these colorful, compartmentalized trays are actually quite useful.
• Coffee Cubes: Love iced coffee? Keep it from getting watery by using coffee ice cubes. Simply brew a pot, wait for it cool and then pour coffee into the tray to freeze for later.
• Jewel Box: Inserted into a drawer or box, an ice cube tray keeps rings, earrings and pins organized.
• Office Mate: These trays are also perfect for keeping small supplies like thumb tacks and paper clips from taking over desk drawers.
• Start Seedlings: Start herb seeds in ice cube trays before transferring to a pot on the kitchen windowsill.
Kitchen Timer7 of 19
Free your timer from the confines of the kitchen. These handy helpers can keep a variety of tasks on track.
• Cleanup Duty: Tidy up in tiny increments with the help of a timer. You'll be surprised how much can be accomplished in two, three or five minutes!
• Brushing Up: A timer is also the perfect tool to teach kids how long to brush their teeth--about two minutes is recommended.
• Time Out: Timers are also valuable tools when kids (or grown-ups) need a mind-clearing time out.
• Spa Day: Use a timer to ensure face masks, hair color and deep conditioner set for just the right amount of time.
Drinking Straws8 of 19
We all have a half-used box of straws in the pantry, and they can really come in handy in unexpected ways.
• Necklace Corral: Thread a delicate necklace through a drinking straw to keep it tangle-free.
• Nicely Spiced: Use plastic straws (and a little tape to seal) to transport small amounts of spices for campsite cooking or seasoning prepared foods on-the-go.
• Travel Tip: As with spices, small amounts of lotions, shampoos, oils and other liquids can be easily made travel-ready with a drinking straw, a funnel and a little tape.
Baby Powder9 of 19
This sweet-smelling staple has many uses beyond the changing table.
• Dry Shampoo: Use baby powder as a dry shampoo in a pinch. Simply sprinkle on the scalp and brush through after it's had a chance to absorb excess oil.
• Handy Helper: Sprinkle a little baby powder inside rubber cleaning gloves to make them a snap to slide on and off.
• Smooth Move: When a stray drop of grease or oil falls on clothing or carpet, a dusting of baby powder can help de-slick and refresh.
Olive Oil10 of 19
Good ol' EVOO isn't just for salads and sautéing anymore. Try olive oil in these beautifying ways.
• Beauty Booster: Moisturize your face, hands and cuticles with all-natural, organic olive oil. Use a little during the day, or massage in a more generous amount as an overnight treatment.
• Smoothing Scrub: Combine olive oil with an equal amount of sugar to create a smoothing scrub for hands and elbows.
• Hair Helper: Coat dry, split ends with olive oil and allow to sit for 15 minutes prior to your regular washing and conditioning routine.
Honey11 of 19
It's delicious in hot drinks, but honey's also pretty sweet when you think outside the tea cup, too.
• Face Forward: A honey facial is a time-tested beauty treatment. Simply apply a thin layer over the skin and rinse after five to 10 minutes.
• Pamper Time: Add a tablespoon of honey (dissolved in warm water) to your bath for a soothing soak.
• Shampoo Boost: Mix a teaspoon of honey with a dollop of shampoo, then lather and rinse as usual for added moisturizing.
Toothbrushes12 of 19
Stock up when they're on sale, because you never know when a toothbrush will come in handy.
• Stain Scrubber: Use a toothbrush to tackle stains in tight spots, such as between bathroom tiles and on clothing collars.
• Keyboard Cleaner: Choose a soft toothbrush to sweep dust and crumbs from between keyboard keys.
• Groom Brows: Take a tip from the beauty blog world and tame generous brows with a toothbrush and a bit of brow gel.
• Bright Idea: Soft toothbrushes dampened with a little water are also perfect for cleaning delicate rings, earrings and pins to make them shine like new again.
• Nailed It: Keep an extra toothbrush in a kid's size for cleaning dirt, mud and other crud out from under little ones' nails.
Shower Caps13 of 19
Whether collected from your travels or purchased at the drug store, disposable shower caps are surprisingly versatile.
• Packing Protection: Slip shower caps over the soles of shoes for clean and easy packing and transport.
• Clicker Cover: Remote controls, both at home and away, can harbor all sorts of germs. Slip on a shower cap for cleaner clicking.
• Picnic Partner: When serving food outside, cover dishes with shower caps to keep ants and flies away.
Vinegar14 of 19
It gives pickles their deliciously puckery bite, but vinegar's power doesn't end there.
• Quick Deodorizer: Wipe out less-than-fresh plastic storage containers with white vinegar to remove lingering odors.
• Coffee Cleaner: Clean your automatic coffee pot by "brewing" a mixture of half water, half white vinegar.
• Shine On: After shampooing, rinse hair with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with one cup of warm water for added shine.
Lemons15 of 19
When life gives you lemons, use them in creative and helpful ways all through the house.
• Bright Idea: Polish utensils with lemon juice for an all-natural, guest-impressing shine. Don't forget to rinse before using.
• Good Scents: Smelly kitchen sink drain? Give lemon peels a quick grind in the disposal to freshen it up.
• Softer Side: Massage elbows with a halved lemon to soften rough skin.
• Nailed It: Soak fingernails in equal parts lemon juice and water to help remove stains.
• Laundry Love: Add a cup of lemon juice to a load of whites to whiten and brighten--minus the hassle and odor of bleach.
Tube Socks, Tights & Pantyhose16 of 19
Don't toss those lonely single socks and worn-out pantyhose. Put 'em to work instead!
• Hand-y Duster: Slip a sock onto your hand (or better yet, onto your kids' hand) to create a washable, reusable duster that can reach even the tightest corners.
• Hold Tight: An elastic waistband from a pair of tights is, essentially, a giant rubber band that can easily tame newspapers, wrapping paper and more.
• Clean Campers: Use hose to hold and hang soap in a campsite shower. You don't even have to remove the soap to suds up!
• Travel Savvy: Stash rolled clothes in the legs of old hose to maximize packing space and keep your suitcase tidy.
Lint Roller17 of 19
We love these tacky tools for their ability to banish lint and pet hair, but the uses don't end there.
• Handbag Helper: Use a lint roller to quickly clean the interior of handbags, tote bags and even suitcases.
• Quick Cleanup: They also come in handy for cleaning up annoying--or even potentially dangerous--messes like glitter and broken glass.
• Shedding Light: Ever dust a lampshade or curtains with a lint roller? It's a game-changer!
Hanging Organizer18 of 19
There's no need to invest in expensive containers when these handy hangers can tackle the job–and save space, to boot!
• Pantry Partner: Hang a see-through shoe organizer on the back of the pantry door to keep spices, snacks and other small items organized and within reach.
• Bathroom Buddy: Five family members, each with their own favorite shampoo and conditioner combo? Shoe organizer to the rescue!
• Toy Tamer: In the play room or a child's bedroom, use a cloth shoe organizer to corral small toys and stuffed animals.
• Travel Tip: Roll and pack to help keep hair, beauty and other essentials organized (and free up counter space) in a small hotel room.
• Boredom Buster: Hang a shoe organizer over the passenger seat of the car. Fill with toys, games, art supplies and snacks for car trips.