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I put Ziploc bags up there with sliced bread in terms of usefulness. They're like the ultimate affordable organizing tool. If you're only using bags to freeze leftovers or tote sandwiches to work, you're missing out! Read on for 10 new ways to use Ziplocs:

1. Compact wet wipe storage. Like traveling light with your baby or toddler? Me, too. I never bought a bulky diaper bag and I also ditched the plastic wet wipes container early on. Instead, I always carry a baggy with a small stash of wipes, which takes up only the tiniest amount of space in my messenger bag.

2. Diaper changing mat. Speaking of diaper duty, a gallon or larger size Ziploc makes a perfect super-compact changing pad. No, it's not padded (unless you add an old t-shirt or something), but it will keep your tot's head off icky public diaper changing surfaces.

3. Corral odds and ends. Pop loose kids' toys, craft items, electronic doo-dads and home improvement leftovers in Ziplocs, and label with permanent marker. The bags take up much less room than plastic storage containers, which I love, plus you can identify their contents with a glance.

4. Homemade ice cream. Combine ingredients in a baggy and shake it all around for a few minutes. A delicious frozen confection should by your end result. Mmm, sounds like yummy fun ... and a great kids' rainy day activity to boot.

5. Baking essential. If you're making a crumb crust pie, place graham crackers in a Ziploc then pulverize with a rolling pin. You can also use them to pipe frosting. Just cut a small hole in one corner and have at it.

6. Store pantyhose. Instead of a tangled mess, contain pantyhose in Ziplocs. It's a cleverly compact way to keep them organized, yet close at hand.

7. Gum remover. Place ice cubes in a Ziploc and rub the gum. As it hardens, you will be able to chip and scrape it off your clothing/carpet.

8. Clean rusty shower head. Shower head sporting an unattractive alkaline build-up? If it's difficult to unscrew from the wall, don't. Fill a Ziploc with white vinegar and secure around the shower pipe with a rubber band. Don't you love no-scrub cleaning solutions?

9. Homemade heat pack. Fill a bag with rice and microwave for a couple minutes then apply to aching muscles. Aaaah.

10. Tea bag organizer. You want your tea bag assortment to stay orderly, right? Here's a brilliant Ziploc solution that keeps your tea efficiently contained and also prevents flavor sharing.



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