I love finding new uses for ordinary household items. I’m not really your typical packrat but I sometimes find it difficult to throw things away. It might be the result of coming from a poor background, I’m really not sure, but I keep thinking that I might need those items for something.
Recently, I found a ton of pencils in my briefcase. They were left over from my days of training (and teaching). Most of them didn’t have a lot of actual pencil left but most did have a lot of eraser. For that reason, I hated to just toss them away. Something just told me that they would come in handy.I was right. They did.
The first one I actually remembered from an old client of mine. He opened a coin shop in the town where I worked as a business development specialist.
On one visit to his shop, I found him using an eraser on a coin. Of course, I had to know what he was doing. He told me that he had purchased a rather sizable coin collection at an estate sale over the weekend but that a lot of the coins were in terrible condition. He informed me that an eraser can be useful in shining coins.
He did warn me, however, never to use an eraser on valuable coins because part of their value was in the patina that had formed over the years. I went home and gave his recommendation a try. I was surprised to find that it worked!
Another use for a pencil eraser most women all ready know about. It isn’t uncommon to lose the back of a pierced earring. They get loose over time and eventually fall off easily. An eraser works beautifully to hold the earring in place until one has time to replace the back.
The next trick I picked up from Suzanne Somers. Years ago I purchased a pair of suede boots from her. In the package with them came a little “care card.” It said that I could remove minor marks and scuffs by gently rubbing an eraser over the discolored spots.
The friction of using the eraser lifts the dirt and fluffs up the suede fibers to make the boots look like new once again. I’ve also used the same technique on a suede purse as well as a jacket. It works beautifully almost every time.
A word of caution, however, always try the procedure on a spot of the suede that doesn’t show in the off chance the fabric is mixed with something other than just suede. In such an instance, the result may not be the same.
I use a larger eraser in my sewing box to hold straight pins and needles. They don’t embed themselves as deeply into the rubber as they do in a pincushion so they are easier to get out. But they won’t fall out easily either, making a mess in your sewing kit.
If you are worried that the beautiful large pictures you just hung on the wall, might scratch the surface, there is a sure cure. Cut off the erasers of two pencils and hot glue them to the bottom corners of the frames. They will rest against the wall gently and prevent the frame from causing damage.
My daughter takes care of children before and after school. She has kids of all ages; some of which don’t behave in a particularly polite manner. One of them loves to color on her wall. She’s tried everything to prevent the miniature Picasso from doing it, but he still colors away.
One day when she couldn’t find a Magic Eraser to remove the left over marks, she decided to try a eraser. It worked perfectly and has now become her new secret weapon.
My daughter and I clean houses together and oftentimes we don’t have the cleaners on hand that we need. So we have gotten inventive over the years. One common problem that we kept encountering was scuffs on vinyl floors that didn’t want to come up with simple floor cleaners.
While the Magic Eraser took some of them off easily, others were more resistant. But we discovered that an eraser works very well; removing those stubborn marks without maximum elbow grease.
One of the houses we clean has a piano and another one has a huge keyboard. We also have several homes with computers. Sometimes cleaning the keys of instruments and pieces of equipment can be a challenge. Even when cleaners work well, it can be difficult to get in between the keys, particularly on smaller keyboards.
However, a pencil eraser works every single time. Sometimes we find it necessary to carve a point onto the eraser in order to get into the smaller spaces, but that is a simple remedy and certainly solves the problem.
The last little trick I learned while working in the floral shop. Vases often came in with price tags or manufacturing labels across them. Removing those labels from glass always seemed to leave a sticky gray substance that refused to go away. But my grandmother taught me that by using an eraser, the friction dislodges the adhesive enough to wipe away the excess for a damp sponge.
The moral of my article is this, sometimes there are lots of uses for those items we are tempted to throw away. I now look at everything from a different perspective: Can it solve a common household dilemma? More often than not, the answer is “yes, it can!”