Miles Kington Remembered: Five apparently useless things you'd be mad to chuck out

Share
Related Topics

Today I want to turn my attention to the urgent question of what to do with all those things around the home that have reached the end of their useful life but which you haven't got the heart to throw away.

In almost every soap dish in every house I know, for instance, there is a generous-sized cake of soap, and under that piece of soap there are one or two or more tiny slivers from the previous pieces of soap which someone hadn't the heart to throw away, hiding under the big soap like snails under a stone.

Is this true of your house?

I thought so.

You come to the point, don't you, where your piece of soap is too small to risk even taking into the bath, or so tiny that you start mislaying it in your armpit when in the shower, and you should by rights have sternly thrown it away, but there is some part of you that says: "Hold on! This little thing is pure soap! It is just as much soap as any other part of the cake! I will be infringing soap's basic rights if I throw this away! Also, there must be some use for it, if only I could think of it," and so you hang on to it and finally throw it away when it has become so soft and useless that it resembles more a bit of fish gut than anything else.

(There was a time when people would collect all their little slivers of soap and press them into one new, multi-coloured ball. However, it was so slimy and kept falling to bits so often that the idea was quietly dropped.)

Today, however, we have completed a survey of the 10 most common useless objects in the average household, that is, the 10 things that people find hardest to throw away, and we have come up with new and exciting uses for them. So cut this out and embroider it on your kitchen wall:

1 Empty matchboxes, or matchboxes that are almost empty except for used matches (see 5)

Empty matchboxes are ideal for reusing as gift boxes. You know when you have a present which is small yet quite valuable, like an earring or stash of cocaine, and you feel silly wrapping it in wrapping paper? Convert a matchbox using that tiny decorative bit of left-over gift paper you thought you'd never need, to encase it in a new glittery exterior!

2 Those useless slivers of left-over soap

They may look useless to you, but they are exactly the same size as the cakes of soap you get in hotels these days! Just put one in a matchbox newly converted to a gift box and place it in your guest room marked "Courtesy Guest Soap". Now you'll never have to waste a proper piece of soap on a guest again!

3 Little left-over bits of wrapping paper

For converting matchboxes (see 1) or – even better – for wallpapering doll's houses.

4 Corks from wine bottles

In the old days children used to use burnt cork to make up their faces. Why don't they still? In our household we also use corks to tie to the end of kitchen sink plug chains so that when the chain has snapped off from its fixture, as it always does, the little chain doesn't disappear beneath a gallon of unbearably hot or dirty washing-up water so that you can never again pull the plug out, but floats neatly to the top waiting to be pulled, like an aircraftman in his inflatable lifeboat patiently waiting to be rescued. Well, to be honest, we don't, but I can see it would be a great idea.



5 Small, used matches

Ideal for using as an emergency eye make-up stick, as substitute Rawlplugs, as units for stakes at card games, for making into ladders for hamsters' cages (using left-over dental floss as well, if you want to make it into a rope ladder), for converting into home-made cotton buds, for building huge models of St Paul's Cathedral, Houses of Parliament etc. (Just after they have burnt down. Otherwise, use clean new matchsticks...).

I'm sorry – I shall have to hold the other five over till tomorrow.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album