Got a rubber band ball made up of the seemingly endless rubber bands that seem to trickle into your house when you're not looking? Take it apart. That ball is a total waste of an incredibly useful household item, and we're about to show you the myriad ways you can put rubber bands to use around the home -- besides the obvious.
1. Traction in the kitchen
If your cutting board tends to slip, or you're working on something in a mixing bowl and you're worried about it skittering across the counter, you could put a dish towel underneath. Or, you could use a couple of rubber bands. I find this tremendously helpful when I'm working on something like making mayo; this way, if I spill while I'm working, I don't end up with a filthy dish towel!
This traction trick also works for opening stubborn jars and bottles. Put a rubber band around the lid and use it as a grip; unlike your hands, it won't slip as you turn the lid!
2. Car visor clip
Need to keep track of little pieces of paper in the car, like receipts from bridge tolls and other oddments? You could stuff them into the cup holder, like some people who shall remain nameless, or you could snap a tight rubber band around the visor and slip the papers into it. You can also use a rubber band for a makeshift money and card clip in an emergency if your wallet has gone walkies!
3. Limit paint drips
Span the top of a paint can with a rubber band, and as you dip and remove the brush, wipe it against the band. This will limit clots of paint that would otherwise drip all over the can, the floor, and your painting project.
4. Quickie button extender
Are your jeans a little tight today? Loop a rubber band through the buttonhole, and run the other end over the button. Adjust as needed so your pants will fit comfortably without falling down or feeling like they're going to cut you in half.
5. Keep books closed
This one's a perennial problem for me: I shove books into my bag, and when I pull them back out again, they've flopped open, losing my place. As if that wasn't bad enough, now the pages are all bent and funky. A rubber band keeps a book's pages closed and together, no matter what else is rattling around in your bag. (Which, in my case, is usually more books.)
6. Ribbon tamer
If you keep a stock of ribbon around for presents and crafting projects, you're probably achingly familiar with the unspooling phenomenon, where ribbon ends up everywhere, no matter how you store it. Try running a rubber band over the spool to keep the ribbon snugly in place.
7. Emergency wrist strap
Need to keep something (like your keys) attached to your wrist? A rubber band is a fast and easy solution; loop it through a hole to tie it off, and then wrap it around your wrist or ankle. Especially useful for runners who don't want to lose important objects while they're on the go!
8. Pump-top control
How many times have you pressed down on a pump top only to have it spurt everywhere? Or stepped into the shower after the kids and seen a spray of pump-top shampoo all over the wall because someone got too exuberant? Wrap a rubber band around the base of the pump to limit how much comes out with each press to reduce waste, messes, and falls in the shower induced by an excess of conditioner caking the floor.
9. Flier hanger
If you need to put up fliers but can't (or don't want to) use tape, adhesive, pins, staples, or nails, well, I hope you have some rubber bands and paper clips. Stretch the rubber band around a pole, and use a paperclip (or another rubber band) to join the two ends together. Your flier will fit neatly underneath, and stay in place! (Until some sneaky person takes it down.)
10. These lids aren't budging!
Have you ever rounded a corner in the car on a way to a party and heard the lid sloooooowly slide off that casserole you made? You know what's happening next and you want to close your eyes, but, uh, you're driving, so instead you wrench them away to focus on the road while the food cascades all over the seat and floor. Great, now you have a mess to clean up, and you have no food for the potluck.
Don't be this person. Secure food container lids with rubber bands before setting out, and they'll stay put no matter how fast you careen around the curves.
11. Bottle gripper
Are your personal care products always slipping and sliding in the shower? Well, slide a rubber band around them to offer traction so they won't fall when you're using them. While you're at it, ask your Austin contractor about redoing the bathroom?
12. Quick and dirty wine charms
Sure, you could use fancy, pretty wine charms. But maybe not everyone's drinking wine, and maybe you don't happen to have a set of foofy charms lying around. Use different colored and sized rubber bands to help people find their drinks, whether in bottles, cans, juice glasses, mugs, or, all right, wine glasses.
13. No more disappearing tees and sundresses
A few months ago, I kept having a recurring problem: my favorite dress would vanish from the closet. I knew I hadn't worn it, but I'd check the laundry anyway. I'd start to panic, wondering how a dress just disappears. And then I'd look closer into the depths of the closet and see that it had fallen behind the trunk I use for storing folded items. I'd hang it back up, and the cycle would repeat all over again. The problem was that the straps were too thin, and the fabric too light, for the dress to stay on the hanger. So I popped a couple of rubber bands on either end of the hanger to act as stops, and boom, problem solved. Now if my dress is missing, I have only myself to blame.
14. Hydration reminder
I'm terrible about remembering to drink enough water, and then I can't figure out why I get headaches and feel cranky! Then I started putting a couple of rubber bands on my reusable water bottle every morning. When I finish a bottle, I take a band off. When I get through two, I take the second one off -- and I know that I've drunk the recommended amount of water for the day!
15. Quick tagging
Do you have objects that look similar that you want to be able to quickly distinguish? Like charged and uncharged batteries? Or two identical thumb drives for work and school? Use different-colored rubber bands as tags to keep track of them.
16. Keep a sliced apple fresh for lunch
If you cut up apples for lunch before heading out in the morning, you know well the disappointment of tragic, browned apple slices when you open your lunch bag during the break. Put a stop to that by rubber banding the slices together in their original apple shape.
17. Fluid level reminder
Use rubber bands to keep track of the amount of fluid (or solids) in opaque and dark containers so you can check them at a glance. This is really handy when you're making grocery lists and you want to quickly check on levels of common ingredients like olive oil -- instead of having to take the bottle down and peer at the side, you can just look to check the level! (P.S. The band will also catch drips.)
18. Say goodbye to disappearing mixing and stirring spoons
I was making soup the other day and turned around for just a second, but that was all it took: my stirring spoon disappeared into the bubbling pot with a quiet "bloop." I had to fish it out with another spoon and burn my fingers in the process, which made me resolve to be more careful in the future. If only I'd thought of putting a rubber band on the end to create a slide-proof grip.
Bonus round: You could pick up this rubber band gun for someone -- but make sure your recipient knows not to shoot it at anyone!
Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.