Thursday, November 08, 2012

Review: 869 New Uses for Old Things

Given my fondness for improvisation, renting Real Simple 869 New Uses for Old Things: An Encyclopedia of Innovative Ideas for Everyday Items from the library was a no-brainer. The contents are just what the title suggests: pick an item, describe a few alternate use for it, repeat.

The book is clearly more interested in the breadth of items, versus the depth of uses for particular items. How else can you explain WD-40 having a two alternate uses listed (instead, of say, 2,001), or the bobby pin also having 2. It does, however, contain a number of Master Multitaskers which pick one item and fill up a page (of relatively large type) of uses for it.

My favorite three hacks:

  • Using empty paper towel tubes to neatly store plastic bags
  • Lighting a length of spaghetti and using it as an improvised, extra long, match
  • All the use for olive oil

I was also surprised at how useful coffee filters can be, but because we don't drink coffee, we don't have any lying around to try them out. Nor do I think I can justify buying some just to play with the hacks (or maybe I can...).

For someone like myself, it's a fun book and if nothing else, it will get your creative juices flowing. Certainly glad I rented it from the library, and it would probably make a fun and functional coffee table book.

My favorite part of the book, though, is contained after the last item is discussed (zippered plastic bags, to be exact). It's a flowchart that lists 10 uses for itself for the book itself. Definitely a clever addition.

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