Instead of tossing away those plastic jugs and bottles, give them new life by recycling them for use around your home. They're especially handy in the workshop.
* If you use a lot of carpenter's or other glue, buy it in large quantities and use old plastic mustard or catsup squeeze bottles to dispense it. You'll save money and avoid the hassle of running out of glue in the middle of a project. Be sure the bottles have twist seal nozzles or flip-top caps. And remove the labels and clearly mark the new contents.
* Make a string dispenser from a 2-liter plastic soda bottle. Cut off the bottom. Then mount the top half upside-down on the wall with the string coming out of the bottleneck.
* Keep nails, nuts and other fasteners handy by storing them in plastic peanut butter jars attached to the bottom of a wood shelf over your workbench. Simply screw the lids to the underside of the shelf. Use a washer under each screwhead for security.
* A baby-wipe container makes a good holder for your brushes while they soak in paint thinner or water. The slits in the top will hold the handles of most brushes securely. Make sure the bristles stay about one-half inch above the bottom of the container to keep them out of the settling paint debris.
* If you need to use more than one brush while painting, keep them handy by making a caddy that straps around your waist. Find a clean, rectangular plastic container that's wide enough to hold the brushes, but narrow enough to keep them upright, such as an economy-size cooking oil bottle. Cut off the top of the bottle and make two slits on one side so you can thread an old belt through. Position the caddy on one hip.
* To get small fasteners back into their containers quickly, make a combination scoop and funnel from the top half of a square-shaped plastic milk or water jug with a handle. Cut off the bottom half of the jug at an angle. The small parts will pour easily through the neck. With the neck closed, you can scoop dog food, bird seed, sand or fertilizer.
* Similarly, a rectangular motor oil container makes a great gutter-cleaning scoop. Cut away the bottom portion at an angle and it's just the right size to fit into the gutter. The spout gives you a hand grip.
* You can also make a boat bailer the same way. Cut off the bottom half of a large plastic bleach bottle diagonally. Don't forget to keep the cap on so the water doesn't slosh through.
* To make sure a tree or shrub gets enough water, use a plastic gallon jug to fashion an inexpensive drip irrigation aid. Punch a nail hole about an inch up from the jug's bottom (to keep enough water in the jug so it won't blow away). Set the jug next to the plant and fill it with a hose. The water will drip out gradually, soaking the soil right at the roots.
* If you live near the water, cap several jugs tightly and string them together to define swimming and boating areas.