Just about everything can have a second use. Old shampoo bottles can transform into smartphone charging stations, and lemons can have a second act as dessert bowls. But did you realize that the freezer standing in your kitchen can also also undergo a metamorphosis? It's true. Check out these 10 awesome hacks that prove your freezer is no longer a one-dimensional appliance.
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1. Stretch Too-Tight Shoes
Many of us are guilty of buying shoes that don't quite fit because we loved the color or they were on sale. Typically, those shoes end up in the closet or in a donation pile, but now you can use your freezer to stretch them out! Instructions: Fill two Ziplock bags with water, leaving an inch of empty space between the waterline and the seal. Fit the first bag into the toe of the shoe and fill the remaining space around the insole with the second bag. Place into the freezer and allow 2-3 days for the bags to freeze, expand and stretch the shoes.
2. Restore Water-Soaked Documents and Photos
The devastation of flooding is real, and many victims claim the loss of family photos and irreplaceable documents stings more than property damage. Thankfully, once power is restored and debris cleared away, the freezer can be a comforting tool for families looking to restore water-logged photos, books and documents. Instructions: Wrap documents or books in wax paper or freezer paper, place in a bag and set in the freezer for anywhere between 1-8 weeks. Visit Northeast Document Conservation Center for a complete list of instructions by document type and amount of water damage.
3. Wash Denim Without Soap and Water
The washing machine can be sudden death for the perfectly-fitted denim that makes your butt look like a movie star's. "Seriously, why risk it?" asked every freezer everywhere. Skip the conventional washing cycle and put those stanky jeans on ice! Instructions: Place your denim into a plastic bag or pillow case and allow 1-2 days for the freezer to kill any smelly bacteria.
4. Chill Sheets on Hot Summer Nights
There may be nothing more challenging than falling asleep on a hot summer night, especially when you are without air conditioning. Suffer weather-related insomnia no more with the coolest hack ever, literally! Instructions: Place sheets and pillowcases in a plastic bag and leave in the freezer for 1-3 hours. Fit the sheets on your mattress right before bed time, and you'll be counting sheep in minutes.
5. Preserve Sweaters From Wear and Moths
Everyone loves a comfy sweater, including moths who also love to lay eggs in them. The only thing more annoying than your sweater becoming a daycare center for winged insects, is when your coziest sweater begins to fray and shed. Take care of both problems with this one simple freezer hack. To prevent shedding: Place sweater in a bag or pillowcase and leave in the freezer for at least 2 hours for the fibers to constrict. To kill moth eggs and bacteria: leave in the freezer for 2-3 days.
6. Preserve Batteries and Emergency Candles
Don't be left out in the cold in an emergency. Unless, of course, you're a candle or a battery. These two power-outage essentials actually last longer when stored in the freezer. Chilled wax melts slower and helps extend the lives of both disaster-kit candles and everyday candles. Storing batteries in the freezer helps them retain their charge longer. This trick works better with long-lasting NiMH and Nicad batteries, but it also works with household alkaline batteries, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate. Just be sure to keep them tightly sealed and return to room temperature before using.
7. Store Leftover Wine for Cooking
Did you know that your freezer can help you save money and wine? Instead of tossing the inch of cabernet at the bottom of your girls' night bottle, turn unused wine into ice cubes for your next pan sauce or stew. Instructions: Fill an ice-cube tray with leftover wine and allow several hours to freeze.
8. Easily Remove Gum and Crud From Shoes
Whether you're rocking discount-store kicks or expensive European heels, stepping in gum is aggravating. Instead of having an angry cry, let your freezer take over. Instructions: Press a piece of paper into the gum and then place the shoe into the freezer for 1-2 hours. When you remove the shoe, both the gum and the paper should peel off easily.
9. Prevent Rusty, Dull Steel Wool
We learned this trick from a chef who swears the freezer keeps her steel wool crisp, course and rust free. The magic trick may simply be getting the steel wool out from under the kitchen sink, but who are we to argue with results? Instructions: Store steel wool in a container or bag in the freezer.
10. The Mason Jar Secret
Most kitchen connoisseurs know that canning jars can be set in the freezer, yet the blogosphere is full of anecdotes about how mason jars break either in the freezer or after they were removed from the freezer. Here's the secret only Pinterest pros know: Successful mason jar freezing requires both the correct process and the right gear. First, only shoulder-less canning jars with a big mouth can stand up to the sub-zero temperatures. Second: Leave 1-2 inches of air in the jar to accommodate expansion and always let the jars thaw in the fridge and not on the countertop. The extreme temperature changes causes the glass to crack.