Even small inventions change the way we engage with the world on a daily basis. Sure, these little devices may not boast the shiny, jaw-dropping powers of a new piece of gadgetry, but their contributions make our lives much easier. And some of these simple creations are even more useful than we may have realized.
In fact, most objects that seem mundane actually carry a second, less-obvious use. Regardless of whether they were included intentionally in the product’s design or discovered later by an inquisitive mind, these 20 secret uses for everyday items will change the way you shop, cook, and interact with the world!
1. Bread tags: 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.
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2. The hole in a pen cap: The little hole at the tip of the cap wasn’t added just so it could be used as a makeshift whistle. Studies showed a lot—like, a lot—of people swallowed and subsequently choked on caps. The hole helps would-be chokers breathe easier until help arrives.
3. Chinese takeout containers: By just doing a little bit of crafty folding and unfolding, these containers can act as plates, too. Yep, ordering takeout saves you from cooking and doing the dishes!
4. Soda can tabs: Doing that weird tongue thing to try and corral a straw that’s bobbing up and down in a can of soda might make you the butt of a few jokes and stares. Keep the straw in place by putting it through the tab.
5. Applesauce lids: Ever pack applesauce for lunch and forget utensils? Like a goon, you probably poured it into your mouth. Next time, do a little twisting and shaping with the foil lid—it can easily become a spoon!
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6. The little pocket in jeans: 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!
7. The drawer under the oven: In some ovens, there’s a little drawer that’s the perfect size for trays, pots, and pans. So of course, that would be storage space, right? Not exactly. You’re supposed to use it to keep food warm while waiting to eat!
8. The grooves on your keyboard: What’s the deal with the little grooves or bumps on the F and J keys? If you’re a classically trained typist who doesn’t look at the keyboard, those marks indicate “home keys,” or where your index fingers rest.
9. The number on a glass ketchup bottle: 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!
10. Ketchup cups: 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.
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11. Pan hole: At the end of your typical frying pan or pot, there’s a little slot so that you can hang your cookware up and out of the way. But that little hole can also secure a drippy spoon while you’re cooking!
12. The hole in the elevator door: 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!
13. Soft drink lids: 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.
14. The arrow on the gas gauge: On the typical gas gauge, you’ll see a little picture of a gas tank. Most importantly, there should be an arrow pointing to the left or right. That’s an indicator as to which side of the car the gas tank is on!
15. Tic Tac lids: 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.
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16. Plunger: 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.
17. Bottle necks: Warm beer can be a total drag and ruin just about any drinking experience. And wouldn’t you know it, your own hand might be the beer-warming culprit. Carry the bottle by the neck instead to prevent the heat of your palm from affecting your brew!
18. Pasta spoons: You know those weird spoons meant for scooping pasta? Well, the hole in their basin may be useful for letting water drain out, but coincidentally, it’s a measuring tool. It happens to fits about a single serving of pasta!
19. Measuring tape hole: At the end of measuring tape—usually within the metal, flat tab at the end—there’s a hole meant to hook screws or nails. That way, you can keep the tape in place without having to stretch your arms to their limits.
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20. Converse shoes: Near the arch of your foot in a pair of Converse sneakers, you’ll find a hole for laces that might seem totally unnecessary. But if you slide your laces through those in addition to the others, you’ll find they provide a lot more ankle stability than the usual lacing method!
Turns out these already useful items have a few extra tricks. What are your favorite secret uses for everyday things?
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