These days it can seem like we're all short of space. Just as soon as you feel you've got the house neat and tidy, then the kids leave a trail of toys behind them or yet another bunch of junk mail arrives to clutter up the place. And whenever you try to have a clear-out, it seems as though everything in the house is essential for someone.
The answer is a bit more multi-tasking, with these clever products that work as hard as you do. When your shelves and cupboards are stocked with things that can tackle more than one job, they won't need to be filled to overflowing. And that means you can save a few pennies while keeping the house neat and tidy.
So take a look at these super-versatile products and see how much space and money they can save you.
1. Coconut oil
This all-rounder oil has its uses all over the house: in your bathroom as part of your beauty routine and in the kitchen when you're cooking up something delicious. Try using it to tame frizzy hair by working it into the strands with your fingers, leaving for an hour or two, then washing it out. You can also rub it on your skin as a moisturiser. Or you can use it as a healthy cooking oil: choose virgin oil for the tropical taste or refined oil for a neutral flavour or high-temperature frying.
2. Aluminium foil
It's a store cupboard essential for keeping your roasts from burning, but aluminium foil has many more tricks up its sleeve. Scrunch it into a ball to scrub your pots instead of using steel wool or scouring pads. Or pop a ball into the tumble-dryer to help reduce static cling on your clothes. You can even use it to revive dull scissors or garden shears: just fold over several layers of foil and use the scissors to cut through it. Hey presto! Their sharpness is back.
3. Baking soda
It might almost be quicker to list the things that baking soda can't do, it's so versatile. Pour it with white vinegar down a clogged drain to get things moving again, use it to neutralise bee stings, and, of course, with a touch of something acidic like lemon juice, it'll give your cakes the perfect rise.
4. Ariel 3in1 Pods
There's no need to keep bottle after bottle of different liquid detergents by the side of the washing machine. With Ariel 3in1 Pods you get three different cleaning benefits in each handy little capsule. They quickly dissolve in water and combine to handle more than 900 different combinations of load size, staining and water hardness. So you don't need to worry about dosing, you just pop in the capsule and let Ariel get to work. Keep away from children. Learn more www.keepcapsfromkids.eu.'
It doesn't just do a great job at keeping your pearly whites sparkling: toothpaste can clean up all sorts of things around the house. Take a white, non-gel brand and you can use it to repair scuffs on leather shoes and to bring back the clean white look of the rubber trim on your trainers. It can also bring the shine back on chrome taps in the bathroom or kitchen, polish silver or gently clean the bottom of your iron.
The zingy flavour of lemons means they're already a kitchen essential for cooking. But they've got plenty of tricks up their sleeve when it's time to clean up too. Freshen up cutting boards that have picked up strong smells from foods like onion or fish by rubbing them with half a cut lemon. The same trick will also bring the brightness back on dull aluminium pots and pans. Or you can freshen up a fridge that's begun to smell: throw out the whiffy food, then put a cotton wool ball dabbed with lemon juice inside for a couple of hours.
Your kitchen sponge probably gets plenty of use with all those dishes. But there are so many other ways it can help out. Keep your houseplants in top condition by damping their leaves with a sponge for a healthy shine. Get pesky pet hair off your soft furnishings by using a damp sponge to gently lift the fuzz away. Or use a sponge for a perfect home pedicure: just cut it up into pieces that you can use to separate your toes for smudge-free toenail polish.
What are your favourite ways to multi-task with household items? Share your tips in the comments.