These days, when you visit the appliance department at your local store, there is an appliance for almost everything you could ever imagine. You can purchase a blender, a smoothie maker, a juice maker, a milkshake maker and a margarita maker, but why? Can’t the blender alone create smoothies, juice, milkshakes and margaritas? This is just one example of how to use one appliance to multitask.

Although appliances are marketed to make you feel like you need each one, the truth is most of our appliances can be used in more than one way. By doing so, you will save energy, money and space on your counters, in your closets and all over your house!

Here are three examples of extra uses for a common appliance:

  1. Wet-dry vacuums are a popular appliance these days, with their immediate multiuse feature being that they can pick up liquids and solids. However, they can do a lot more than just that. You can use your wet-dry vacuum to unclog drains by plugging the hose into the port that blows out air, sticking the hose down into the drain and turning on the switch. Or, plug the hose into the port that sucks air in, stick the hose down a drain and retrieve items that you may have lost in the drain, such as jewelry. You can also clean out your fireplace, clean up overflowing toilets or basement flooding, or remove snow or rain from your walkways!
  2. Not only can your microwave now cook practically everything your oven can, plus more, but also the microwave has numerous other uses that have nothing to do with cooking food! Disinfect dish rags and sponges by soaking them in vinegar or lemon juice and then heating them in the microwave for one minute. This also works to disinfect cutting boards. For baking, you can soften brown sugar by adding a few drops of water to the plastic bag and then microwaving it for 10 to 20 seconds, and you can bring solidified honey back to its liquid form by microwaving the uncovered container for 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Drying your hair is one of many uses for your hair dryer. You can also use it to find out if any of your windows or doors are leaking heat by having one person stand outside with the hair dryer, blowing it along the window or door edges, and have another person stand inside with a candle. If the flame flickers or blows out, you might need caulking. You can remove a bandage or piece of tape easier by blowing heat on it first to soften the adhesive, you can remove crayon from wallpaper, and you can remove wrinkles from plastic tablecloths or shower curtains with the warm, blowing air.

These were just three examples of ways to use your appliances in new ways. By thinking creatively, you will save energy, money and space! Little steps like these create greener, more energy-efficient living.