Practical Secrets for Plastic Bags

These everyday items are useful all-around -- and cost next to nothing!

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Cover a cookbook

You’re trying a new recipe from a borrowed cookbook that you don’t want to get splattered during your creation. Cover the book with a clear plastic bag. You’ll be able to read the directions, while the book stays clean.

Scrape dishes

Your extended family of 25 has just finished their Sunday dinner. Time to clean the dishes. Here’s an easy way to get rid of the table scraps: Line a bowl with a plastic bag and scrape scraps into it. Once it’s full, just gather up the handles and toss. Place the bowl in a prominent place in your kitchen so everyone can scrape their own dishes when bringing them to the sink.

Crush graham crackers

Don’t spend hard-earned grocery dollars on a box of pre-crushed graham crackers or a ready-to-fill graham cracker crust. It’s much cheaper and a real snap to crush graham crackers yourself. Just crumble several graham crackers into a plastic bag. Lay the bag on the kitchen counter and go over it several times with a rolling pin. In no time, you’ll have as many graham cracker crumbs as you need, plus the remainder of a box of crackers to snack on as well.

Ripen fruit

Some of the fruit from that bushel of peaches you just bought at the local farm stand are hard as rocks. Place the fruit with a few already ripe pieces or some ripe bananas in a plastic bag. The ripe fruit will help soften the others through the release of their natural gas. But don’t leave them for more than a day or two or you’ll have purple, moldy peaches.

Protect plants from frost

When frost threatens your small plants, grab a bunch of plastic bags to protect them. Here’s how: Cut a hole in the bottom of each bag. Slip one over each plant and anchor it inside using small rocks. Then pull the bags over the plants, roll them closed, and secure them with clothespins or paper clips. You can open the bags up again if the weather turns warm.

Start poinsettia buds for Xmas

You want that Christmas poinsettia to look gorgeous by the time the holidays arrive. You can speed up Mother Nature by placing the poinsettia in a large, dark garbage bag for several weeks to wake up the plant’s buds.

Clean a grill easily

That neighborhood barbecue was a blast, but your grill is a sorry mess now. Take the racks off and place them in a garbage bag. Spray oven cleaner on the grill and close up the bag. The next day, open the bag, making sure to keep your face away from the fumes. All that burned-on gunk should wipe right off.

Cover garage-sale signs

If you’ve gone to the trouble of advertising your upcoming garage sale with yard signs but worry that rain may hurt your publicity campaign before even the early birds show up, protect the signs by covering them with pieces cut from clear plastic bags. Passersby can still see the lettering, which will be protected from smearing by the rain.

Store outdoor equipment manuals

Your weed-whacker spindle just gave out and you have to replace it. But how? Stash all your outdoor equipment’s warranties and owner’s manuals in a plastic bag and hang it in your garage. You’ll know exactly where to look for help.