Miles Kington Remembered: Five more apparently useless things never to be discarded

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Today I am completing my list of the 10 most common left-over objects in the average household and how to re-use them.

Before anyone writes in and complains that I have not included empty bottles or expired medicines on my list, I should explain that although these are very commonly found in the average household, they are not generally reusable.

The only bottles found lying around most houses are bottles that have been rejected by the bottle bank, such as black glass bottles from Spain that do not seem to want to go into the Brown, Green or Clear apertures, or flask-shaped bottles (Armagnac, etc), which will not physically go through the holes in bottle banks. They should be broken at home and taken back again to the bottle bank.

As for medicine, it is calculated that the households of Britain contain between them a haul of superannuated pills and potions with a street value of £50bn, and that between them they could hardly cure a headache, though they could probably kill you. So, if you don't want to cause any harm, just tip them away.

(Of course if you do want to cause some harm, that's quite a different matter. You may, for instance, wish to murder a close relative in easy stages, in which case send for our leaflet "How to Use Those Old, Unwanted Medicines for Illegal But Untraceable Purposes". Simply enclose a stamped, addressed envelope and a waiver form saying that you hold us irresponsible for all the consequences.)

Right – on to the second half of our list! Yesterday, we covered bits of old soap, empty match-boxes, left-over wrapping paper, old match-sticks and corks. Today we have...

6 Old newspapers

Old newspapers have so many obvious uses (lighting fires, pushing down wet gum boots, making pets' bedding etc ) that one tends to overlook the greatest use of all: reading them.

Old newspapers are always more fun to read than new papers. I would go so far as to say that it is a great mistake to read papers on the day of purchase. Would you rush home with a great wine and open it? No. Then why do we rush home with a great paper and read it the same day? You must lay a great newspaper down carefully for later reading, under clothes in drawers, carpets and floors, etc. In years to come, you will unveil them, scan them and say wonderingly, "Who on earth was Michael Howard and why did people find him so funny?"

7 Old toothbrushes

Have you ever noticed that when a toothbrush gets too old and splayed to clean our teeth, it has become exactly the same kind of shape that new washing-up brushes have? Yes, dear old nature still has a trick or two up her sleeve! Old toothbrushes are ready-made new washing-up brushes, to be kept for all the washing-up jobs that real washing-up brushes are too small for! Such as getting down teapot spouts, getting the last bit of

porridge out of pans, etc, etc. (Send for our new brochure "101 Uses For Old Toothbrushes, Also, A Few New Ideas On How To Kill Off Relatives With Old Medicines..."

8 Pencil ends

As with soap, it is hard to throw away a pencil that is too small or short to use. But you can still use it if you stick it in a small tube or bamboo stick to give it extra length!

9 Old envelopes

Use these as normal for posting letters, packages etc, but do not put any stamps on. The Post Office seems to have decided that it is too expensive to collect postage due any more and will therefore deliver unstamped mail as normal; there will be a postage due stamp on it, but only as a sort of warning-shot that is not followed up.

10 Old, forgotten cheque books with a few cheques left in

Always worrying to have lying around, aren't they? Imagine if someone got hold of them. Never mind – just send them to us and we'll dispose of them carefully for you. That's a promise. But don't forget to sign them first!