Common Household Items With Secret Alternative Uses That Most People Never Realized

A lot of the stuff within arm’s reach of you can do a lot more than its original packaging suggests. At your desk, in a drawer, or buried in the garage are dual-purpose items with secondary functions we never anticipated. What you thought was junk or just another piece of clutter in the closet may actually be useful.

Solo cups are the typical cheap cup for drinking alcohol, but you can also measure alcohol, too. Pour liquor up to the bottom line for a standard shot. Pour wine up to the second line. For beer, just fill the cup up to line number 3.

Usually, home chefs store all their extra oven pans and items in the drawer beneath the oven. But, if there isn’t a broiler, this space was designed to keep in the heat. Keep a dish warm by storing it in the oven drawer. / YouTube

You opened that soda can and stuck in a straw, but it won’t stay put sticking out of the can’s mouth. Switch the tab around so that the holes align, and now you have some good straw stability.

Independence Day

A pen cap has a hole in the tip that’s intended to save lives. If you were to swallow the cap, accidentally of course, that opening becomes an air hole to help you breath until professional help arrives.

You have an applesauce cup in front of you and are all ready to eat. Then you realize you forgot a spoon! Don’t worry. The lid is made of foil, and if you fold it, bunch it, and ultimately form it, you just created a makeshift spoon.

Kids love juice boxes, but asking a kid with a minimal understanding of opposable thumb motor function to grab and hold on to the drink can be a big ask. Pull open the flaps along the top to create little handles.

Inside Edition

If you want to protect your clothing from common insects, use wooden coat hangers. Most are made from cedarwood, which repels those pesky bugs. In the words of Joan Crawford, “No wire hangers ever!”

Mommie Dearest

Beyond a style aesthetic, the buttons on jeans don’t do much of anything…right? Well, they help keep up the life span of your clothes. Each area with a button supports weaker spots when worn or cleaned

Rebel Without a Cause

On the bottom of many mugs you may spot grooves. Their purpose is to stop dirty water from collecting while in the dishwasher. You can thank the Swedes from IKEA for this little invention.

Yeas ago, the invention of the hat pompom was to help French sailors. If the seas got too rough, the fluffy ball protected their heads from bumping into the ceiling. Today, workers are more inclined to wear hardhats.

U.S. Naval Institute

The long neck of a bottle has two advantages to it, only one of which the average drinker would really care for. A bottle’s long neck means a smaller, less expensive cap (less of a mouth to cover) and a better seal for freshness.

Off Their Rockers

Pasta is an easy dish to make, but how much are you supposed to make? Well, a pasta spoon has a opening that allows you to know the ideal amount of pasta to serve per person. Bon Appétit!

Rockford’s New Country Q98.5/Youtube

On a keyboard, you may have noticed those tiny grooves found on the F and the J keys. For a classically trained typist, the two keys are the places to place your index fingers. Have you been typing the right way?

Murder, She Wrote

There’s a small hole near the edge of plane windows, but don’t freak out. It’s supposed to be there. In fact if it weren’t, the altitude changes the plane goes through would shatter the panel.

FrozenShutter; pilotganso/Instagram

Don’t have any extra hands to hold the other end of the measuring tape? Use a nail to hook the front metal stub, and you’re good to go. The serrated part can also double as a makeshift pencil.

During an emergency, you may need to smash through the glass of your automobile. Simply slide a car headrest out of its slot, and, using the two metal prongs, break the window if you need to.

For hikers and those wishing for an extra level of ankle security, check out the tiny eyelets near the top of your shoe. Loop the laces through those, and you’ll have greater stability when navigating rough trails.

Fabric swatches that come with new clothing aren’t only to use for a patch-up job. Test cleaning products and tools on these little scraps of fabric to make sure they won’t damage the real deal.

Lost that stylus pen again? You can find it later. All you need now is your nail cutter for a DIY one. Flip up the lever, and use it to click away on your iPhone and iPad.


History lesson time: When the value of a coin was measured by its weight, criminals shaved off edges to create new coins. Adding ridges to the outside of all non-paper currency ensured it was easy to detect when this was done, and the procedure died out.

You know those little plastic things that keep your bread bags tied up and your loaves fresh? Well, they have a second function: the color of the tag indicates what day the bread was baked. For instance, a blue tag means the bread was baked on a Monday.

Food Hacks – Wonder How To

When you look closely into a microwave, you see thousands of tiny black holes covering the door. This grating is called a Faraday shield, and it ensures that hazardous electromagnetic waves don’t escape and harm people waiting to open the door.

You’ve probably looked at it a thousand times in your car and never really even noticed that little arrow next to the gas tank symbol. Whatever direction the arrow points is the side the gas tank is on.

Back when rats used to infest homes, they’d gnaw away at paper. People would face the paper margins out when they stored stacks, and these margins allowed rats to gnaw paper without interrupting important work.

No, those holes you see in the handles of your pots and pans aren’t just for hanging them on hooks when you’re done cooking a meal. You can also rest a stirring spoon in them!

The next time you order takeout Chinese and you get a ton of those white cardboard boxes, don’t waste your own dishes. By carefully unfolding the boxes at each corner, they actually become their own plates!

Internet lore has many people believing the colored squares indicate the ingredient in the toothpaste, but that’s completely false. These “eye marks” simply tell the assembly line machines where to pinch and cut off each tube.

Okay, so it seems pretty obvious these are used for hanging, but where did they originate? Well, Navy sailors used the loops to hang their shirts because there wasn’t enough room for hangers in submarines closets.

Why on Earth did these types of erasers have blue sections on one end? The blue is actually used to erase marks on paper firmer than loose leaf. Artists mainly utilized this end to remove thicker and heavier marks.

When jeans first became fashionable, that tiny pocket had a simple function: to hold a man’s pocket watch. Chances are, unless you also carry a monocle, you aren’t carrying a pocket watch. Use it as a phone or coin pocket instead!


What the heck is that thing? They’re on every phone next to the camera, but do they even serve a purpose? Of course! They’re actually tiny microphones to capture sound when you’re recording.

Underneath every twist off bottle cap is a thin blue disc that can be removed. These actually trap carbon dioxide, so the drinks stay fully carbonated until they’re opened.

By adding these little holes to the ball, manufacturers made it possible to minimize air blockage that would otherwise slow down the ball. Here’s to maximum speed!

Also known as “lashing squares” or “pig snouts,” these are used to thread rope or lace through to carry extra items. Don’t have any extra items to make use of these? Go camping, they’re sure to come in handy.

You might as well call the raised number 57 on a ketchup bottle the sweet spot. That’s where you should tap if you want to get the condiment flowing—don’t smack the bottom of the bottle!

At a fast food joint or diner, little paper cups serve as containers for your condiments. Dipping a fat nugget into them can get a little tight on space, though. Good thing cups are built to unravel a bit to become more saucer like.

Crazy Russian Hacker / YouTube

When an elevator gets stuck, repairmen need some way to operate the thing manually. This is a keyhole that allows them the opportunity. Hopefully, you never have to see this thing serve its purpose!

Afraid of leaving a soda ring on your freshly cleaned coffee table? Pop the lid off your soda cup and use it as a coaster! The bottom of the cup should fit perfectly into the grooved ring on the lid.

In the rare event you want to offer someone one single Tic Tac, the container itself has you covered. The little ringlet that keeps the lid sealed tight also holds a single tasty mint.

Food Beast / YouTube

While plungers have been removing any number of vile things stuck deep inside your sewage pipes since the dawn of time, their purpose doesn’t have to be so singular. Cup plungers especially work well on clogged sinks.

41. Old book: Ugly router got you down? If all those cables and wires are making your living room a mess, try carving out an old book and tucking them away!

42. Here’s a nightmare scenario: you want to pop open a couple brewskis in your hotel room, only to discover that the room has no bottle opener. It’s hard to imagine yourself in a more depressing situation. But don’t panic. The lever over the door happens to be the perfect size to pry off that cap. Emergency averted!

Reddit / AlbertDumblestein

43. Cinderblock planters: Cinderblocks may be useful, but they’re definitely not a cute accent piece. For a quick way to spruce up an outdoor space, tuck some peekaboo plants in your cinderblocks to go from “no” to “woah!”

44. Propane tank camouflage: No matter how beautiful your garden is, it could all be ruined by an ill-placed propane tank. Hide that terrible thing under a fake rock and say hello to your new paradise!

45. Light switch gallery wall: Nothing ruins a clean wall like an ill-placed light switch. For a fun way to draw focus away from it, make the switch the centerpiece of a gallery wall! That’ll definitely switch things up.

Little Bits Of Home

46. New outlet covers: We often forget about one of the most common fixtures in our houses — outlets. By easily swapping an outdated cover for a nicer one, you’re on your way to transforming the entire room.

47. Mesh over ceiling cracks: We’ve all got those unsightly cracks, but now there’s an easy fix. Simply tape over the pesky crevice with mesh, plaster over the tape, smooth it out, and paint — voila!

48. Handmade ceiling lights: Drab light fixtures ruining your decor? Grab an old hanging planter, drape it in yarn, and hang it over your old ceiling fixture to give the room a dash of that craft store charm.

49. Chalkboard paint in the garage: If you think a garage can’t be both functional and adorable, think again! With a little chalkboard paint, you can revitalize the space while creating a useful spot for messages.

50. Chalkboard paint in the kitchen: But don’t stop there! Chalkboard paint has more uses than just the garage. Try covering the refrigerator with the stuff and watch your child’s imagination go wild! Plus, no more sticky notes.

51. Wallpaper the fridge: If chalkboard paint isn’t your thing, why not throw some wallpaper on there? Simply remove the handles, stick on some of your favorite wallpaper, and watch your kitchen go from “drab” to “fab!”


52. Fabric cabinet covers: Old kitchen cabinets looking stale? Freshen up the room by adding some fabric accents! Simply remove the cabinet doors, measure out the fabric, and staple to give the room a bold pop of color.

53. Faux stainless steel appliances: If you want stainless steel appliances without the high cost, just grab some metallic contact paper and stick it over your old pieces to give them a realistic stainless steel look.

Julie Blanner

54. Upholster the box-spring: All box springs are ugly. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to turn your ugly mattress holder into a creative accent. Grab your favorite fabric and a staple gun, and you can upholster the box-spring in no time.

55. Build a laundry table: To fill in those pesky gaps between your washing machines, simply craft a laundry table. Just measure the space, cut up the wood with a circular saw, and in no time you’ll be saying, “I built this table from scratch!”

56. Splash up your backsplash: Backsplash looking a little beat-up? Don’t break the bank on new tile — just grab a can of your favorite paint and give it a fresh coat to instantly brighten up your kitchen.

57. Bottle up those products: Hygiene products are crucial to our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re so cute to look at. Ditch the ugly containers by placing the products in new glass bottles to go from “throw up” to “glow up!”

A Simple Nest

58. Paint those poles: Basements can be a great place to relax, but they’re not always the prettiest. Give your basement the pop of color it needs by painting over those old columns with a coat of your favorite shade.

59. Hide the printer: Printers are bulky, which means they’re hard to tuck away in a cabinet. For a simpler solution, cut a hole in a decorative box to create a practical — but beautiful — hiding place.

60. Birdbath that septic vent: If you’ve got a septic vent in your yard, you’re probably tired of looking at it. The solution is simple: grab a birdbath and plop it right over that vent to say “goodbye turds” and “hello birds!”

61. But if you’re looking for some simple home improvement hacks, look no further. By attaching a scrubber to the drill bit, you suddenly have a power washer that will have your kitchen and bathroom sparkling almost instantly!

Reddit / DingoDamp

62. Hitting your finger with a hammer is the worst. It hurts like crazy and leaves you feeling like a moron. To avoid any future hardware blunders, you can simply stick a nail through the eraser of a pencil, and use that to hold your target still. Your fingers will thank you!

Instructables / FPSXGames

63. Stinky shoes keeping you down? You can eliminate that lingering odor by placing a couple of ordinary teabags in each shoe and leaving them overnight. Just don’t make tea with them afterward, or you will regret it.

The Homemade Experiment

64. When it comes to lawn care, you could always go out and buy a proper sprinkler. But what if there was a free alternative? As it turns out, putting your hose inside a soda bottle with a bunch of holes poked through the plastic does the job just as well.

Reddit / yeadude

65. Are you the type of person who’s always misplacing your things? For a key holder that you’ll never forget, just cut a hole in an old tennis ball and attach it to your wall. You have a clamp perfect for any object! Googly eyes are optional, but highly encouraged.

Reddit / hossainabir150

66. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you need to wrap something up for storage, but the bag is just slightly too small. But there’s always a bigger bag! In fact, you can make one by sealing two zip-lock bags together.

Reddit / Vega_128

67. Next time you’ve got a clogged drain, try this science fair strategy before you call a plumber. Just like a middle school volcano, pouring a combination of baking soda and vinegar will bring about a foamy explosion. It will also clear any clogs right up!

Epic Dash

68. Dog sweaters in stores sometimes cost just as much as people clothes, even though they have less fabric and dogs only wear them in certain weather. But there’s a cheaper way to outfit your dog — a pair of long socks, with a bit of trimming, serves as a very stylish canine cardigan.

Reddit / llaunay

69. Cleaning out the gutters has to be one of the most reviled chores, but most people make it harder than it has to be. Put that ladder away, and instead, attach a length of PVC pipe to a leaf blower. Now you have a tool that can suck out gutter gunk in minutes, all from ground level.

TR Cleaning

70. After a while, some charging cords lose their ability to click perfectly into laptop ports. Instead, they fall out with the slightest movement. A quick way to remedy this annoyance is to put a washer on your cord and glue rings of velcro to the washer and charging port.

Reddit / Evil Shogun

71. Are your kitchen cabinets an organizational nightmare? To make a bit more room, here’s a way to keep your pot lids from clanging together every time you move something. Simply mount a couple towel racks inside the cabinet door, and the lids will never get in your way again!

Reddit / hgska

72. No matter what, it always seems like you run out of chip clips. However, you probably have some great substitutes scattered across the house, but don’t even know it! Pants hangers — particularly cheap ones that come with clothes — usually have removable clips on each side. Just pop them off and use them to keep your snacks fresh.

Epic Dash

73. Most tie racks get cluttered and tangled with just a moderate tie collection. But if you have a ton of ties that you want to show off in style, you can attach an unused bed frame to your closet door. In terms of size and weight, frames from old baby cribs tend to be the best.

Reddit / robinbiro

74. Can’t find a funnel? Well, there’s a much better alternative to pouring the old-fashioned way and hoping for the best. If you pour the substance into a plastic baggie and snip of the corner with scissors, you’ll be able to effortlessly transfer it even into the most narrow of openings.

Instructables / mikeasaurus

75. Sometimes your desk gets so crowded that you don’t have any room for snacks. We’ve all been there. But what if we told you that that old hoodie in your closet has a built-in feedbag? It’s true — all you need to do is flip that bad boy around. To avoid public humiliation, this hack is best tried out in private.

Reddit / anonymeowz

76. Whether you’re a budding artist or a real Van Gogh, paint can get sloppy. To keep your supplies in check, you can put together re-sealable paint bottles with just old soda caps, a plastic sheet, and a knife. Soon you’ll be focusing more on your masterpiece, and less on the mess.

Reddit / alansartlog

77. Everybody hates the theft-proof plastic packaging that surrounds so many retail goods. Sometimes, it seems like you spend more time opening an item than actually using it! However, an easy way to slice right through these plastic prisons is to trim of the edges with a can opener.

Epic Dash

78. Nowadays, it feels impossible to live without a cell phone, which means that nobody wants to see a frayed charging cord. However, this DIY-er came up with the clever trick of braiding leather around the damaged section. It actually looks better than the original version!

Reddit / hahnatelier

79. Even the nicest furniture will acquire little dings and scrapes over time. Luckily, you can erase these marks just by rubbing them will a walnut — really. The nut leaves behind an oily residue that blends in with the wooden finish and makes your furnishings look brand new.

Reddit / cametodropbombs

80. Hidden laundry baskets: Everyone’s got laundry, but no one likes looking at it. Forget your growing mountains of laundry by tucking your hampers away in some large drawers that say, “I can do this later!”

Recommended From Honest To Paws

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!