Helpful Home Uses for String

String's incredible number of uses make it an item you'll want to keep yards of.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Polish silverware more easily
To get your silverware looking that good, run a length of string through some silver polish and use it to get at those hard-to-reach spots between fork tines.

Stop the sound of a dripping faucet
If a leaky faucet going “plop… plop… plop” is keeping you awake at night, there’s a way to silence it until the plumber arrives. Tie a piece of string to the fixture with one end right where the water is oozing out and the other end hanging down to the bottom of the sink basin. Water droplets will travel down the string silently instead of driving you to distraction.

Use as a straight-line guide
Trimming a long hedge straight is a near-impossible feat unless you use a visual guide. Drive two stakes into the ground, one at each end of the hedge. Measure the height you want for the trimmed hedge, then run the string between the two stakes, tying it to each one at that exact height. As you clip away, cut down to the string line but no farther; the top of your hedge will be straight as an arrow.

Make a quick package opener
Next time you’re preparing a box for mailing, take a second to make it easier for the recipient to open. Place a piece of string along the center and side seams before you tape, allowing a tiny bit to hang free at one end. That way, the recipient just needs to pull the strings to sever the tape without resorting to sharp blades that might damage delicate contents. Do the same for packing boxes when you move.

Outline garden features
When you’re making a new garden, lay common bright white string on the ground to outline paths and beds. From an upstairs window or other high vantage point, you’ll be able to tell at a glance if borders are straight and whether the layout is pleasing.

Measure irregular objects
A cloth tape measure is the ideal tool for measuring odd-shaped objects, but you may not have one if you don’t sew. Wrap a plain piece of string around the item instead, then hold it up to a ruler to get the measurement you need.

Plant perfectly straight rows
It’s harder than it looks to make straight garden rows freehand. Use string two ways to keep plants in line:

  • For planting heavy seeds such as beans, put sticks in the ground at each end of a row and run a piece of string between to guide you as you plant.
  • To plant dozens of lightweight seeds in a snap, cut string to the length of a row, wet it thoroughly, then sprinkle the seed directly on it. The moisture will make seeds stick long enough to lay the string in a prepared furrow. Just cover the string with soil and you’re done!

Stop slamming doors
Is a slamming door getting on your nerves? Here are two ideas for using string to control the way a door closes:

  • A piece of light twine tied to both sides of a knob and running around the door edge provides just enough friction to slow it down and prevent a loud slam when it shuts.
  • Use thicker rope the same way to temporarily prop open a door that automatically locks when it closes or to make sure pets don’t get trapped in one room of the house.