Foil uses!

Aluminum Foil

Many office products in this picture can be reused in very ingenious ways.

Carlos Gawronski/Vetta/Getty Images

If the brilliant late-1980s TV show “MacGyver” has taught us anything, it’s that you can repel a gang of thugs, break out of prison, and build a functioning spacecraft with little more than a paper clip, a C battery, some twist ties and an empty tube of toothpaste.

Yes, OK, fine, MacGyver was fiction, but you can conjure up all sorts of handy household fixes — no improvised bazookas, sadly — with everyday items that most of us thoughtlessly chuck in the garbage. Join us on a journey through the exciting world of Internet-fueled recycling/repurposing obsessions to identify the 10 things you should absolutely never throw away.

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Binder clips are prized for their strength — if you ever had a fingertip caught in one of these suckers, you know what we mean. That strength makes them great for coralling cords.

Photick/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/Thinkstock

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If you’re cleaning out your home office and come across a box of these butterfly-winged beauties, do not even THINK of throwing them away. In the life hacker community, binder clips are the go-to tool for a clever solution to any household problem.

Binder clips are prized for their strength — if you ever had a fingertip, earlobe or tongue caught in one of these suckers, you know what we mean. They’re also flat on one side, enabling them to stand up with some degree of stability.

Among the many, many, many uses that have been dreamed up for binder clips, here are some of our favorites [source: Gordon]:

  • Minimalist wallet – pinch some folded cash and a credit card in the clip; even hang a house key from the silver handle.
  • Picture “frames” – drive some nails into the wall, put binder clips on some favorite photos, then hang them from the nails.
  • Toothpaste helper – keep your half-empty tube of toothpaste locked and loaded by rolling up and clipping the bottom.
  • Cable corral – attach some clips to the edge of your desk to hold the ends of unused USB, power and audio cables.

Sure, you can use foil for reheating or storage, but did you know you could sharpen a knife with it?

TiWhen Reynolds sold its first rolls of aluminum foil back in 1947, the company advertised it as the foil for “1,001 kitchen miracles.” Foil exhibits some unique properties of metal — moisture-proof, odor-proof, able to withstand extreme temperatures — and adds the uncanny ability to be molded into any imaginable shape. Foil is also washable, making it the material with 1,001 lives.

Next time you use a sheet of foil to cover a plate of leftovers, rinse it off afterwards, and save it for one of these unexpected household uses [source: Stimpson]:

  • Pot scrubber: Ball up some aluminum foil for an easy way to remove baked- on, caked-on grime from pots and pans. Also works on grease-caked grills.
  • Silver polisher: Submerge tarnished silver in a glass pan of boiling water lined with aluminum foil; then add two teaspoons of salt. In minutes, a simple chemical reaction will dissolve the tarnish without damaging the silver.
  • No-fuss funnel: Where’s a funnel when you need it? Form a cone out of a double layer of foil and you’re in business.
  • Scissor sharpener: If your scissors get dull, simply cut through a sheet of aluminum

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