‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ is one of the most cliched, oft repeated and freely abused adage since Methuselah’s birth. However, as much as you want to roll your eyes back in your head and bawl at the repetitiveness of common home remedies, some of the eccentric, contemporary ones actually manage to make you put aside your mockery and consider the value of ‘useless’ things lying around in your home.
Ice cube trays and buttons
Lack of a proper storage place has left me looking like Tupac Shakur often, with just one earring dangling in my comparatively luckier ear. To elude this last minute earring misery, may we suggest that instead of going for high-priced jewellery boxes, you can keep earrings and rings in ice cube trays. Also, repurpose spare buttons by using them to keep pairs of earrings together. Most buttons have at least two holes in them, so simply place an earring in each opening for easy storage.
WD-40, the stain slayer
If your child’s hands have a brain of their own and despite your incessant warnings they start working in circular motion every time a pen or pencil comes in contact, then WD-40 — usually used to lubricate rusty door hinges — is what you need to store at home. The fluid is also handy in removing rust stains, stubborn chewing gum and even paint.
Tape it off
Remove dry skin from lips by putting cream or vaseline on them and pressing the sticky side of a scotch tape to your pout. Just remember to be gentle — there are a lot of other things you can vent out your aggression on. You can also test a nail polish colour without the mess by placing a small piece of tape on your nail and removing the colour in one swift move.
That thread needs some hair spray
You may not spend much time sewing, but at some point you will have to reattach a loose button or hem your kameez. Threading a needle is much easier if you spray the end of your thread with hairspray first. This will stiffen the thread, enabling you to easily slide it through the eye of the needle.
Iron between buttons
Use a hair straightener to iron between buttons or around any design or motif which is made from delicate fabric such as silk, chiffon or lace. The mild heat of a hair straightener will not burn or cause dark stains to appear on the sensitive fabric.
Old stockings for new beginnings
Create a chic shrug by taking a pair of tights or stockings and cutting off the feet (or use a pair of footless tights to save a step). Place your arms where the legs would normally go and voila you have created a sleek alternative to a shawl or cardigan. Take it a step further and embellish the piece with crystals or small diamantes to give it a formal, finished look.
Listerine and vaseline to the rescue
Listerine and vaseline work like magic on foot blisters and boils. To disinfect a popped blister or boil, dab a few drops of Listerine mouthwash, a powerful antiseptic, on it. Also, avoid blisters caused by stylish yet hellacious stilettos by coating problem spots with petroleum jelly before slipping your shoes on.
Goodbye Mr Fuzz
Use the stiffer side of an eyebrow brush to get rid of unwanted fuzz from your shirt. An old, rusty razor also helps remove sweater bobbles without really harming the fabric of your shirt or sweater.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.
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