Last Day to Enter Our Contest!

contestSorry, contest closed.

All of us know what a paper towel holder is used for, right? Holding paper towels, of course. But did you know it can also be used to hold spools of ribbon? Or that a cereal dispenser makes a great bird seed dispenser? Bet you didn’t!

That’s what our first contest is all about. Theme: Some unlikely uses for everyday common items.

Do you have something in your home that was meant for one purpose, but you use it for something different and creative? Leave a comment on this post and let us know!

If you don’t have anything like that around your house, take a look at our store, find an item that you could use for something other than its intended purpose and leave us a comment with the item number and what you would use it for.

Four lucky winners will be chosen to receive:

1) $100 Stacks and Stacks Gift Certificate

2) Four Cubby Storage Unit from Ameriwood

3) Shower Caddy from Interdesign

4) Hanging Canvas Sweater Bag from Whitney

This contest will run for two weeks. You have until Friday October 19th at 5 pm Pacific Standard Time. Winners will be posted on Monday the 22nd at 8 am PST. We can’t wait to see how creative you are!

51 thoughts on “Last Day to Enter Our Contest!

  • October 8 2007 at 11:52 am
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    I once needed an umbrella stand… and finding one in the early summer (much less desert-like Southern California where it hardly ever rains) was tough at best.

    I found a beautiful, tall, thin, panelled column/plant stand with a lid at Bombay Imports on clearance. I took the damaged lid off, cleaned it up, lined the bottom (so the tips of the umbrella would not scratch) .. and voila!– instant umbrella stand.

    So.. turned a plant stand into an umbrella stand. Does that count?

    - John

  • October 8 2007 at 12:37 pm
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    over-the-door show organizers are great for pet care products, or a multitude of other small items. the clear ones are the best, since you can see what's in each pocket without having to reach inside.

    simple j-hooks on the inside of your kitchen cabinets can hold small packets of seasonings, koolaide, etc.

    icecube trays are great for holding small items like earrings in a drawer, and they're stackable!

    office desk organizers are perfect for your junk drawer.

  • October 8 2007 at 12:48 pm
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    My all time favorite multi-purpose household item is an over the door shoe rack. I have them hanging on almost every door in our house. They can hold spices in the pantry, cleaning supplies in the bathroom or laundry room, laundry in a child's room (socks, underwear, etc.). I also never let a cleaning bucket sit empty. Each cleaning bucket in our house is a quick-grab cleaning kit. (You can create a bucket to clean the bathroom with glass cleaner, tile cleaner, toilet cleaner and an all-purpose cleaner, etc.).

  • October 8 2007 at 1:52 pm
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    Item #30344 is a hand towel rack, but I've know people to purchase it and use as a bracelet holder. All your lovely bracelets are displayed for you to help you make a selection instead of opening and closing drawers in your jewelry box and digging through each drawer as well. It saves time and is very convenient.

  • October 8 2007 at 2:22 pm
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    Baby wipes- the unscented kind, clean off every sticky mess known to man, hands, countertops, car interiors, etc etc. My children are just about done with diapers, but I know I will be buying wipes for years to come.

    I third the over the door shoe rack motion. Perfect for the small toys that have no home, and for keeping mittens, scarves and hats corralled in the front hall closet.

  • October 8 2007 at 3:30 pm
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    My sister was having over 80 guests at her home… I know that the hand towels in the bath always are an issue..
    She had an extra self standing paper towel holder, so I placed a roll of paper towels on it in the bathroom. Not a change of use… just a change of location. I now have one also and receive positive responses to it.

  • October 9 2007 at 7:05 pm
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    Item #20623 Square Acrylic Canister is normally used to keep food fresh but its air-tight nature makes it great for keeping metal tools and screws, watches, sewing kits and basically anything that will benefit from the absence of moisture.

  • October 9 2007 at 3:52 am
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    Ooooh, great ideas!

    Chrissy – I love your ideas. Practical and time-saving!

  • October 9 2007 at 7:17 am
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    I have a drawer in my bathroom for my makeup etc. I wanted to keep my everyday jewelry in it also. So, I put an ice tray in there. It keeps necklaces separate, rings, earrings. I also have small things like finger nail clippers, lipstick samples, a needle etc there. It's great! Keeps everything separate and those little things don't get lost in the big drawer.

  • October 9 2007 at 7:33 am
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    Plastic quart and 2-quart size food storage are terrific for storing paper files such as tax receipts, bank statements, etc.–allowing you to see the contents. Protects them against water damage as well.

    Scissors in the kitchen make it so much easier to cut open those supposedly easy to open plastic bags.

    An empty square tissue box makes a good container for storing plastic bags. I have one in my car; others in my laundry room and garage; and a fourth by the dogs leashes for picking up after them on our walks.

  • October 9 2007 at 9:41 am
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    From baby to toddler, the plastic food containers that accompany each stage of childhood are perfect for organizing all the little stuff that we manage to accumulate throughout the house…

    (1) The small rectangular plastic Gerber fruit and veggie containers are ideal for toting snacks or finger foods in the diaper bag when the little one is starting to eat solid foods (rather than the pureed stuff).

    (2) Later on, these little plastic containers can be used to store items in the (a) garage: nails, screws, hooks, etc.; (b) sewing room: pins, buttons, ribbon, etc.; (c) home office: paperclips, rubber bands, staples, etc.; the possibilities are endless!

    (3) By the time your toddler is eating like a horse, you'll find that the large plastic fruit containers work equally well to store a variety of items anywhere in your home (see above). For example, in the garage, you can screw the lids to the bottom of a shelf, and you'll have instant easy access to all the little items that you use most frequently. Just unscrew the jar, and you're good to go!

    (4) The hard plastic pencil cases work really well for storing all those teeny tiny toys that come with older kids (you know, the ones that you step on and feel like your foot just got pierced by a ten-inch nail). Storage ideas include (a) dress-up accessories: rings, necklaces, bracelets, hair ties, barrettes, etc.; (b) little dolls or action figures, along with their accessories, furniture, and equipment: Polly Pockets, Barbies, GI Joes, Pokemon, Pocket Pets, etc.; (c) art supplies: crayons, chalk, paintbrushes, embellishments, etc. Again, the possibilities are endless!

    Best of all, these storage ideas allow you to help out the environment by reusing and recycling the containers!

  • October 9 2007 at 12:38 pm
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    Laminated wine rack box, with four divisions.

    I found one on sale at Target, and it's laminated wood color matched my decor. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but the wine rack sits in my kitchen, near the entry. This is how our household uses the pretty "organizer" in our busy kitchen:

    The top bin is for the week's sales papers. My hubby loves to watch sales, and those papers are messy. In there they go, all in one place, easy for him to find and reference. They look neat and clean here.

    The right bin is mine. I put items in there I find, that I like for the house. It's a type of holding place for household ideas we wish to pursue at one time, when money is there. There's a pix of landscaping patterns I like in a magazine, in this section of the rack they go.

    The left bin is his. He puts items in there that have to do with sports and cigars. Either a bet he'd like to make at one of our casinos or a cigar catalog he'd like to order from.

    The bottom bin is for our medical. If we have tests to take and schedule in six months, they go in here. If we get a provider bill waiting for processing from insurance, it's in there with any notes we took on it.

    These four compartments are labeled. They hold perfectly our items we go to almost every day. If a section ever gets crowded, we instantly know it's time to purge that section for more room. And if we don't, it still looks neat!

  • October 9 2007 at 1:34 pm
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    I have a magnetic file holder (the kind you stick to a file cabinet) on my refrigerator that we use for coupons, bag clips, pens, pencils, paper and the markers for the white board also on the fridge.

    In the store I used to work, I used a wire sports organizer rack to hold brooms, mops and other equipment we sold. It now holds lawn and garden equipment at the owners' house.

    I use a wire kitchen shelf (like this – Item #20405) to elevate my printer and store computer CDs and DVDs in small boxes underneath.

  • October 10 2007 at 8:13 pm
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    I use a small fishing tackle box to hold my earrings. It is perfect to snap shut for traveling!
    Also a small screen hanging in your closet for earrings! Works great if the earrings do not have backs!

  • October 10 2007 at 8:46 pm
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    I use Sterilite bins in my fridge to create "drawers" on the shelves. Instead of items migrating to the back of shelf where they get forgotten (and moldy!), everything is corralled in the bins. It is easy to pull a bin out to see what is in the back of it.

    I use the bins to separate items by meal: breakfasty stuff in one bin, lunch in another, etc.

    The white plastic of the bins looks like it was designed for the fridge, and the pattern of holes in the sides means that cold air can circulate properly.

  • October 10 2007 at 5:03 am
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    I use the large container that I used to put dog food into to hold our paper recycling products. It is large and holds them very nicely.

    I use old boxes cut up to put yard sales signs on and them post them up for the world to see. They are sturdier than posterboard.

    I use a small drinking cup to hold our Q-tips in.

    I use plastic bags to cushion books when shipping them.

    I use a goldfish bowl to hold my large serving utensils (spatulas, wooden spoons, whisks).

    I use metal hangers to clean out my outside dryer vent.

    Guess that's all for now:)

    Cool contest!

  • October 10 2007 at 6:31 am
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    Here's a gooder! Rubber bands!! They work EXCELLENT for fishing and holding your bait on the line. You know those little wormies are always slipping off the line, so cut a little pice off your rubber band and put it on the hook after your bait…it keeps it on just beautifully!!

  • October 10 2007 at 7:28 am
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    cardboard egg cartons are amazing! My daughter currently is using one to separate her Littlest Pet Shop collection. It's an easy way to keep legos in order by color or kind.
    Holds paint nicely which keeps me from having to wash bowls.

  • October 10 2007 at 11:29 am
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    With six daughters we have a multitude of hair accessories around the house. I bought a fishing tackle box and now we have everything organized and in one place.

  • October 10 2007 at 2:36 pm
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    We use baby wipe containers for everything: toys, crayons, samples, cotton balls, you name it!

  • October 10 2007 at 4:17 pm
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    Ah, so many items, and so many inappropriate uses I'd have them serve for…

    I'd hang your Tool Rack – 24" Magnetic on my kitchen, and try to hand knives and spoons on it.

    I'd use Storage Rack – Ball and Bat to put vegetables in. Yes, yes! Not all vegetables go to the fridge, so they go into baskets, it's just that it gets a bit messy with so many baskets on the floor. This Storage Rack is wonderful and can help me save some space. But I'll have to manage to close the front of it..

    A Stor-Pod Attic Storage Container – 96 Cubic Feet? Huh! I'd use it both as a closet for my clothes and will have enough space there to change inside it. I'll put it with it's front facing the wall, one which I'd hang a huge mirror. ;)

    Enough creativity?

  • October 11 2007 at 5:00 pm
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    I love the Stor-Pod dressing room idea, Mary!

    Excellent! :)

  • October 11 2007 at 8:32 pm
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    Paper towel rolls as fun toys to use with my 7-month-old. :) I sing to her through them, and she laughs and laughs!

  • October 11 2007 at 8:41 pm
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    I like this: HM66382

    It is TECHNICALLY a file older. But I would wanna put all my secret stuff in the top little drawer!

  • October 11 2007 at 9:04 pm
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    We save the plasticy bags out of the ceral box, cut them into thirds and use them to cover plates that are being microwaved to avoid splatters. I know normal wax paper will function for this as well, but the cereal wax paper is FREE!!!
    We use an empty, clean hermit crab cage in my 3 year old's bathroom to organize his bath supplies.
    I'm not sure where the line between "creativity" and "cheapskate" is crossed.

  • October 11 2007 at 9:17 pm
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    I have found that sets of small plastic drawers designed for office supplies work well in the kitchen next to the coffee machine. You can put coffee filters in one drawer, sugar packets in another and sweetener packets in another. You can also put stirrers, or small spoons in them. It keeps everything handy and tidy.

    Wooden dinner plate holders which are designed to hold dishes vertically are also good to use for storing cookie sheets, muffin tins, and lids.

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  • October 11 2007 at 5:44 am
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    I use scented diaper disposal bags when I'm picking up doggie poop!

  • October 11 2007 at 2:17 pm
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    I use the Pier One Imports vegetable bin as an attractive shoe bin inside our front door.

  • October 11 2007 at 3:00 pm
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    Let's see, I use a curtain rod for a ribbon spool holder, a spice rack with glass spice jars to hold my beads and I use a toy bin to hold my preschooler's craft items. I also use a book shelf to hold my fabric, I use cigar boxes to hold my many spools of thread, I use an night stand to hold my daughter's blankies, I use a tall dresser in the guest room to hold extra bed linens and my apron collection. I use a hat/coat hanger (accordian style that hangs on a wall) to hang baskets on. I use a vintage ceramic bowl in the bathroom to hold my Caress soaps (unwrapped) so they smell pretty in the bathroom. I use a fireplace utensil stand sans the utensils to stack the toilet paper on in the bathroom (the tubes of paper fit down over the rod on the stand). I use a coffee table in my son's closet to store baskets of toys on and under. I use a three teired plant stand in the guest room to store/show the guest towels/wash clothes/hand towels and toiletries.
    Well, that is all that I can think of right now without walking around the house to look into every room.
    Le Anne
    yardsaleprincess1@yahoo.com

  • October 11 2007 at 3:38 pm
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    Truly the princess of yard sales! Congrats to you, Le Anne, on so many creative ideas!

    ~Eva

  • October 12 2007 at 6:45 pm
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    I use shoe boxes to organize my photos and scrapbook supplies.

    I have a dresser in the closet that has all of my towels and sheets in it.

    I use water glasses to hold pens, pencils and my son's spoons and forks. We also have a rectangular basket with tin planters that organizes all of our forks, spoons and knives in the kitchen!

  • October 12 2007 at 7:08 pm
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    I end up with 14 empty medication bottles every month. To keep them from adding to the garbage and make them useful again I use them for jewelry supplies, buttons, screws, etc. Just attach the top of the bottle to a solid surface such as a square of corkboard, plywood, anything you have around. You can screw the top to the base or glue. All you have to do is unscrew the bottle to get what you need. If you glue one of the beads or screws onto the bottom of the bottle you will instantly know where your items are. You can make a system like this for any room where you have things to store.

  • October 12 2007 at 7:25 pm
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    I use four suitcase-shaped wicker picnic baskets (with handles and little metal toggle closures) on the tops of my kitchen cabinets. One holds back up foil, plastic wrap, etc. One holds plastic ziploc bags in a variety of sizes (discard boxes and wrap them with rubber bands). One holds back up candles. And another holds cloth napkins. I have a very small galley kitchen and this gives me a lot of extra storage and it looks pretty. It helps that my husband and I are tall! I also use various sized clay pots from the garden center to hold many things, such as q-tips, cotton balls, and lipsticks in the bathroom; and brushes and sponges next to the kitchen sink. My son's crayons and paint brushes also are organized in them.

  • October 12 2007 at 7:26 pm
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    Item #: 11180

    These little spice tins would make a great storage & display for scrapbooking embellishments – brads, eyelets, buttons, beads, small epoxy stickers, charms, etc. I'd use one in my scrap room but I don't have one yet.

    Also those pegboards with hooks, usually used in garages or stores are a great place to store/display other scrapbooking supplies.

    I've reused a spice container with large holes to hold & dispense cornstarch for my babies rashes.

  • October 12 2007 at 7:44 pm
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    I use an old TV stand as a makeshift diaper changing table in our bedroom.

  • October 12 2007 at 7:04 am
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    Old small pringle cans: Wrap with fabric and store hair bans, ribbons and clips. Scrunchies can be wrapped around outside of can.

    Old wrought iron tea candle holder that hangs on the wall. Flip it over or keep it straight. Hang jewelry off it. If it's straight you can keep earrings in the empty glass candle holder. Add clip cafe curtain hooks and you can hang even more jewelry.

  • October 12 2007 at 10:59 am
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    I use a corkboard (black) and clear pushpins to organize my jewelry.

    On a larger scale, I use my living room as my office, and my kitchen counter for a printer station, despite having two unused bedrooms that I could convert into an office. The counter's the perfect height and easily accessible, and otherwise I'd have to buy furniture to put it on.

  • October 13 2007 at 4:25 pm
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    I use a Pringles can as a directional antenae for my wireless network access :)

  • October 14 2007 at 8:14 am
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    My latest organizational idea was to help control some of my children's clutter in our car. It involved one plastic crate (like you would use for filing hanging files) and one old shirt. I used safety pins to close the neck and arm holes of my shirt, and used the shirt as a liner for the crate. I then secured the crate to the third row seat in my car using the middle seat belt. It now holds all of my children's car gadgets, like tv and game chargers, tissues, wipes, etc. Best of all, it was FREE, because I re-purposesd items that I already owned! You can see photos and the whole story on my blog under the title "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" 9/27/07.

  • October 16 2007 at 2:21 pm
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    We get a staggering amount of junk mail on a daily basis, much of which needs to be shredded for security purposes. To cope with the avalanche we use a laundry basket as our shredder pile catch all and the once a week we sit down and shred everything.

  • October 16 2007 at 2:42 pm
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    I know the over the door shoe holder has been mentioned, but I too love them!

    I have one in our bathroom closet and it holds all my hair scruchies, head bands, hairspray, body sprays, brushes, combs, toothbrush & toothpaste etc and in the lower 2 rows I keep the kids stuff so that they can always access their tooth brushes & tooth paste, combs, bath toys, etc.

    It has really helped me save a ton of space in my small house with very little storage!

    Thanks for the great contest!

  • October 17 2007 at 6:56 am
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    My four favorite hacks:

    (1) When I renovated my galley kitchen, I dedicated one cabinet to a pull-out trash bin. The one I chose has two bins – one for trash and one for recycling. I use the second to store dog food instead.

    (2) I have a lot of jewelry, and rather than buy a large jewelry armoire, I bought a roll of 1/4-inch fencing, cut it to the size I wanted, and finished off the edges with ribbon. Then, I hung it on my wall using C-hooks. I store all my jewelry there – earrings hook through the mesh, and bracelets and necklaces hang on S-hooks.

    (3) I use an over-the-tank magazine holder in my bathroom to store items that don't fit easily into my tiny medicine cabinet – hair brushes, tall cans of styling products, etc.

    (4) I super-glued magnets to the side walls of my medicine cabinet, and store small metallic items there – tweezers, nail files, and nail clippers.

  • October 18 2007 at 8:40 am
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    For those with small children-an ART CADDY is a life saver! I turned the base shelf of our old changing table into an art caddy at home. I added wood slat paper holders (from IKEA) on one side and halfed tin cups on the other to hold colored pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, etc. on the back I cut out a piece of peg board and nailed it on. Pleace various sized hooks on and voila you have lots of storage for smocks, supplies, etc. The front has shelving to hold art supplies. MY FAV IDEA IS USING A SAMLL SPINNING SPICE RACK FOR SAMLL ART/CRAFT SUPPLIES! Glue an example of each item on the outside portion of the lid (pom poms, brads, glitter, etc.)!

  • October 19 2007 at 1:30 am
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    I found one of those colorful storage bins with shelves (like the ones found at Target in the kids storage/bedroom section) at a garage sale and it had just been marked as free. It was missing a couple of bins, but we put in our garage right by the door that leads to our rec room and we store all the kids shoes in the bins. They each have a couple of bins to sort play shoes and nicer shoes into and the spots where the bins are missing are perfect for putting their boots. It has cut down on dirt brought into the house from their shoes and they always know where to find them.

    We also got a free dresser at a yard sale that had ended and I use it in the garage to store fabric and extra sewing supplies.

  • October 19 2007 at 4:51 am
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    Do you know those thicker rubber bands that are used to bundle produce (broccoli, asparagus, etc.) in the grocery store? Never throw these away! I use them for many things such as getting the stubborn lids off of jars being opened for the first time or keeping my plastic food storage dishes closed when I'm transporting my lunch to work. :)

  • October 19 2007 at 3:57 pm
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    I have an over the door canvas shoe rack on my laundry room door to hold household cleaners! No more rumaging under the cabinet to find things!

    I use a plastic tool box for a sewing box. Everything fits perfectly.

    I have an old changing table that I got for free that is use for a potting bench.

    A fishing tackle box for nail polish.

    A pot lid holder that screws into the cabinet put on the wall to hold magazines in the bathroom!

    I also have a wire curtain rod kit that can with cutain clips from IKEA that is now in my sons room attached to the wall to display his postcard collection.

    Store gift wrap in a small unused dresser. The rolls and tissues fit perfectly in the larger long drawers and the ribbons bows cards tape scissors etc go in the 2 smaller drawers. Everything is easily visable so it is easy to find!

    I also have an old antique library card fil that sits on my desk and hold pens, pencils, bills, checks and misc. office supplies and all of the drawers have a space to label whats inside!

  • October 19 2007 at 4:16 pm
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    We have a two tiered towel rack meant for the bathroom. We installed it under a high cabinet in the kitchen and used S-hooks to hang our pots and pans. It doesn't look like a towel rack and guests always comment that they should do that in their home.

  • October 19 2007 at 4:22 pm
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    Nice idea, Marianne, for a kitchen that's too small for a standard pot rack. I like it!

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