Seven steps in the ascent of home sapiens

'Next time you get a hole in your gumboot and think it is useless, think again! It has become a wine carrier'
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The Independent Online

From time to time I get sent useful household hints through the post, which always comes as a surprise to me, as I have no use at all for useful household hints. Wait a minute, though! Why don't I use them to fill up this nasty empty space at the bottom of this page here, and make it nice and snug and insulated? Brilliant! Here we go... Egg boxes as sound-proofing for pets, from Mrs JL of Buxton

From time to time I get sent useful household hints through the post, which always comes as a surprise to me, as I have no use at all for useful household hints. Wait a minute, though! Why don't I use them to fill up this nasty empty space at the bottom of this page here, and make it nice and snug and insulated? Brilliant! Here we go... Egg boxes as sound-proofing for pets, from Mrs JL of Buxton

It is well known that the material used in egg boxes is ideal for lining the walls of recording studios - it absorbs the sound and prevents unwanted echo. Why not use this in the same way for lining a pet basket, into which you can put your dog or cat while you are using the vacuum cleaner or any of those extremely noisy machines that pets hate? My dog is always grateful for his sound-proof refuge, especially when the liquidiser is on high speed! Re-using give-away discs, from Mr TJ of Camberwell, London

I am constantly being bombarded with little shiny discs that fall out of newspapers, promising you up to seven and a half free minutes on the internet or a free song from the atrocious Elton John. I am also bombarded by the same papers with articles suggesting how to re-use these useless items, but they always boil down to the same two ideas - either stringing them up as bird-scarers or putting them out as drink mats. Frankly, they don't work as either - birds don't get scared by them, and drinks slide off them. So here's what to do - use them as individual mini-pizza bases at party time! Fingernail-cutting efficiency, from Mr AS of Bristol

Does anyone remember the old music hall joke: "Do you file your nails?" "No, I usually just chuck them away..."? Well, in fact it is a very real problem gathering up nail cuttings after you've trimmed them, as they get everywhere, fly a long way and are very good at hiding in the carpet. Solution? Cut your nails inside a carrier bag! And, hey presto, the cuttings are already in the bag for throwing away! Carrying wine bottles in a car, from Mrs MJ of Chippenham

When you're taking just one bottle of wine to a party or dinner of some kind, it's not easy to find the right place in the car to stop it from rolling around. But all your problems are over if you put the bottle inside a gumboot for transportation. It won't fall out and won't roll around and won't break. So, the next time you get a hole in your gumboot and say, "Oh, God - this gumboot has sprung a leak and is useless for anything now" - think again! It has become an ideal wine-carrier. Nose-blowing on country walks, from Mr RS of Winsley, Wilts

In these wintry days, when we've all got snuffles and winter colds, we have to take paper tissues with us to blow our noses on, but the problem is how to dispose of the tissue after you've blown your nose. There are not many litter bins in the country, and nobody wants little bits of soiled white paper blowing round the country! What I always do is take a small roll of soft lavatory paper to blow my nose on (the paper's just as good as any tissue) and then put the soiled tissue down the hole in the middle of the bog roll! It might have been made for it. When you get home, you can just tip it all away. Seed propagation, from Mrs JD of Swainswick

Don't throw those tea bags away after you've had a cuppa! Moisten them, put a seed in them and see it grow into a seedling in the greenhouse! I don't know what they put into char these days, but nasturtiums love it! Birthday cake wrappers, from Mrs CT of South Glos

When you give children a piece of cake to take home from a children's party, it's traditional to wrap it in a paper napkin. What a waste of time! The napkin goes soggy and the cake falls to bits. So, what to do? Easy! Use the balloons you so carefully blew up for the party, now useless. Cut each balloon in half and wrap the cake in a half-balloon! The rubber will act like very superior clingfilm.

Do YOU have any household hints you don't need? Why not send them to Anne Robinson or someone?

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