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

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing