Five clever uses of household items

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There are many household items that have a very specific purpose, like the TV remote. However, there are also hundreds of other items just sitting around your home, waiting to show you what else they can do.

With winter in full swing, most of us will be spending more time inside. If you have kids, chances are you will want to find fun and creative ways to keep them busy when they are not at school. Winter also brings with it dull, dry skin that can keep us from feeling our best. The following tips can help you to make the most of the colder months by repurposing items that are probably already within your reach.

Use coffee grounds for an effective at-home skincare remedy.

Coffee ground scrub

It's no secret that coffee is the perfect morning pick-me-up. That same energy kick you get from your morning cup of coffee can be used to liven and brighten up your skin, too! The caffeine found in coffee can reduce inflammation and promote collagen productioni. This idea isn't new; cosmetic companies have been using caffeine in their products for years to help reduce the appearance of cellulite and to smooth and soften skinii.

All you need to make your own at-home skincare remedy is a tablespoon of coffee grounds and water or olive oil to mixi. Use it in the morning for a radiant glow that will help keep away the dull winter skin blues.

Plastic bottle tornado

All you need for an educational and fun-filled afternoon on the weekend is two empty plastic soft drink bottles with the labels removed, food colouring, strong tape such as electrical tape, and dish washing liquid. Creating this "tornado in a bottle" is a great way for kids to see basic scientific principles in actioniii.

To create your tornado, start by filling one bottle about half way with water and add a few drops of food colouring and dish washing liquid (this makes it easier to see what's going on)iii. Next, place the second bottle upside down on top of the first and fasten them together with the tape (you may also want to place a small washer with a wide enough opening between the two bottles for extra support). Once your bottles are securely fastened together, you're ready to create your tornado.

By turning the bottles over, the water will begin to flow from the top bottle into the bottom bottle and create a vortex similar to the wind patterns found within a tornado.

Use a newspaper to clean windows and mirrors

After you've read through your favourite section of the Sunday paper, what do you usually do with it? If you throw it in the recycling bin, you're off to a good start, but what about giving those pages a second chance to do some good? Newspaper is a great alternative for cleaning glass as it is stronger than a paper towel, so it can cut through any dirt or grime and it won't leave bits of lint behind eitheriv.

Mix up a solution of vinegar and water instead of using store-bought window cleaner, and you'll be well on your way to a sparkling home in no timev.

Use clothes pegs to put your holiday pictures, Polaroids, post cards, or other light items on display.

Turn a drab clothes peg into a work of art

It's safe to say that there are countless uses for clothes pegs around the home. If you're looking for some home décor inspiration, try using clothes pegs to liven up some basic piecesvi. Especially if you don't want to put nails in your walls, clothes pegs are an ideal and cost-effective way to put your holiday pictures, Polaroids, post cards, or other light items on display. All you need is a string or wire, and your imagination. Either use plain wooden pegs, or paint them in colours that complement the colour palette in your home. Just hang a string or wire from one side of the wall to the other, and attach photos and post cards using your clothes pegs. Another plus of this method is that it couldn't be easier to swap the images as often as you like. Got a Halloween party coming up, a kid's birthday or a dinner party? You'll have your room re-decorated with matching visuals in no time.

Alternatively, grab a large wooden picture frame, and divide it in thirds horizontally using a wire or string. Then arrange your favourite pictures along the wire to create a unique piece of art with a vintage feel to itvii.

Save your electronic devices with cat litter

Puddles pose an ominous threat to electronic devices everywhere. If you find that your favourite gadget has taken the plunge, a bag full of cat litter may be just what the doctor ordered. Water damage can cause your gadgets to short circuit, so turning them off straight away is the first thing to doviii. Taking the battery out of your phone or gadget and covering it with cat litter for a few days will draw out any moisture that has found its way inviii. If you don't have any cat litter handy, uncooked rice will also do the trickviii.

iDreskin R 2012, How to make your own exfoliating scrub, viewed 27 June 2014

iiDakss B 2007, Perk up your skin with caffeine, viewed 30 June 2014

iiiNOAA nd, Tornado in a Bottle, viewed 27 June 2014

ivSennebogen E 2010, Was Mom Right? Can you use newspaper to clean glass

vChannel4 2010, How to clean mirrors and glass, viewed 29 June 2014

viCountry Living 2012, Crafts with clothespins, viewed 27 June 2014

viiApartment Therapy 2011, Talia's "Once Upon A Time" DIY Photo Display, viewed 29 July 2014,

viiiPilon, Jon 2011, "How to fix waterlogged gadgets? Rice and cat litter, of course.", viewed 27 June 2014,