If you live in a small house, like we do, you know all too well the value of being able to use one tool to do several different things. I have to economize the space we have available, which means we don’t have room for gadgets that only do one thing.
I am always looking for items that can pull double-duty. Finding new uses for things I’ve already got not only helps me reduce the amount of clutter around the house, but it also helps me save money – if an item is not going to serve more than one purpose, I’m definitely not going to waste my money on it!
These are some of my favorite double-duty items:
Ice cube trays – I will let you in on a little secret. I never make ice at home – I always buy it in a huge bag at the grocery store and keep it in our deep freezer. But, just because I don’t make ice at home, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of great uses for ice cube trays. When The Goose was a baby I made all of his baby food at home. Then I’d just freeze it in ice cube trays. One or two cubes of food was perfect for a meal, and thawed in minutes. I use ice cube trays to preserve fresh herbs, to freeze egg yolks (or egg whites) when separating eggs, to freeze leftover chicken stock and leftover coffee (to make iced coffee), and to store homemade watercolor paints for The Goose!
Stand mixer – When my husband and I were registering for our wedding, I made a beeline for the stand mixers. I had always wanted one, and I was beyond thrilled when I opened it. I’ve had it for nearly six years and I can honestly say that I love it more now than ever. My mixer does so much more than mix cookie dough and cake batter. I use my mixer to aerate flour (instead of sifting) when I am baking, I use it to knead my pasta dough, and now that I have pasta attachments I even use it to roll and cut spaghetti, fettucine and ravioli! But one of the ways my mixer is most useful is when I am making chicken tacos or pulled pork. Instead of shredding the meat by hand, I just toss it in the mixer, turn it on low, and in less than 30 seconds the chicken, pork or beef is perfectly shredded!
Sponge – I keep a special sponge in my sink strictly for scrubbing vegetables. The green side is perfect for quickly and easily getting the dirt off of root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, without removing the skins. The yellow side works great for soft vegetables like tomatoes. After I’m done I toss the sponge in the dishwasher to sanitize it.
Lingerie bag – Lingerie bags do a whole lot more than just laundry! I use them to hold bath toys in the bathroom (once a month I grab the whole bag and toss it in the washing machine). I use them to keep laundry under control when we are on vacation (everyone gets their own bag to keep in their suitcase for dirty clothes). I use them to wash stuffed animals in the washing machine, and I even use them for their intended purpose – to gently wash undergarments in my washing machine!
Sandwich bag – I use sandwich bags for so many things! I use them to hold things (of course), but I also use them when I am decorating cookies or cakes (they are perfect for piping frosting or for writing). The Goose uses them to put sour cream on his Taco Cups on Taco Tuesday. I use them to fill stuffed shells with cheese on pasta night, to fill deviled eggs, and when I am mixing batches of bread. (I put the dry ingredients in the bags, label them and then store them in the pantry. Then, when I want to whip up a loaf of bread all the ingredients are mixed and ready to go!).
Bath Pouf – Long ago, I found that the best tool for scrubbing bathtubs and tiles is not a sponge or a cloth, but a bath pouf. It’s lightweight, easy to hold, and the texture really helps to quickly wipe away dirt and grime. This is especially helpful in the summertime, when our bathtub seems to get dirty faster than I can clean it. (Which is a good thing!)
Dry erase markers – Did you know that dry erase markers work on all kinds of surfaces? We use ours to draw silly faces on mirrors and the glass on picture frames, to write messages on the refrigerator, to label glass jars in the cupboard, and we even use them on dry erase boards!
Newspapers – Before I learned about microfiber cloths, I used another trick to wash windows and mirrors around the house – crumpled newspaper. Crumpled newspaper works so much better than paper towels when it comes to washing windows because they don’t absorb the cleaner, they wipe away fingerprints and dust with very little effort and even on the sunniest of days they never leave streaks behind.
What are your favorite double-duty products?