+ Tips and Tricks

Belle's New Uses for Old Things

Every now and again, the magazine Real Simple does a feature on new ways to use old things that you might have lying around the house.  Given that there is such a focus on being green and reusing materials these days, I thought I would share a few of my favorite unexpected uses for every day items.  And if you have any tips you’d like to share feel free to do so in the comments.

Olive Oil


For years, I have been searching for a good eye makeup remover that can wipe away waterproof gel eyeliner without drying out my skin.  Surprisingly enough, the best eye makeup remover that I have ever used is a cotton ball dipped in olive oil.  No scrubbing or rubbing necessary, just one good swipe and all the makeup is removed.

Mounting Tape

It’s incredible how a belt can pull an outfit together when worn over a blazer, cardigan or dress.  But nothing ruins the chic look faster than when the tail of the belt flops around because there’s no belt loop to hold it down.  

The solution to this problem is double sided mounting tape.  This clear, putty-like tape will invisibly hold the belt in place, and since the tape is designed not to damage painted walls, it won’t damage leather or cloth belts.

A Flat Eyeshadow Brush

As some of you already know, I don’t like to pay for manicures.  It’s nice to be pampered, but if you have a good steady hand and twenty minutes, you can often accomplish the same thing for the cost of a bottle of OPI and a nail file.  But even an experienced hand sometimes colors outside the lines when DIY-ing a manicure.

To fix these slip-ups, simply dip a flat eyeshadow brush dipped in nail polish remover.  The tiny edge provides great control, allowing you to get right down to the nail bed.  Plus, you don’t end up with any white fuzz in your polish like you do when you use a Q-Tip.  


In college, I dated a guy who had the most horrible smelling feet.  He had tried everything to eradicate the smell, but nothing worked.  And being that he was an athlete, his gym shoes had to be stored on the apartment balcony in order to keep the house habitable for his roommates.  

After months of searching for a cure, my grandmother suggested Vodka.  And by jove, soaking his feet in vodka made the smell go away.  His roommates were eternally grateful.

Floral Foam

I know it may not feel like it, but eventually winter will end.  And when it does, most of us will put away our tall boots for the season.  But unless you were smart enough to save the original box and stuffing that your boots came in (always recommended), you’ll probably end up shoving them into a container under the bed or in the back of the closet.  

To help your boots keep their shape and prevent creasing and folding in the leather and suede, try cutting dry floral foam into a tube like shape the same height as the boot shaft.  This will keep them upright and unblemished until next winter.


    leave a comment

  1. MIS says:

    An even easier solution for boots, use one or two rolled up magazines placed in the boot shaft to avoid creases and keep them upright.

    February 4, 2010/Reply
  2. District Cut says:

    Another great things for shoes…reuse grocery store plastic bags. Stuff your shoes with all the plastic bags you might accumulate. I use them to stuff my hats as well.

    February 4, 2010/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    MIS: That’s a great tip.

    District Cut: I think plastic bags would really do wonders for my purses too. Thanks.

    February 4, 2010/Reply
  4. DCGal says:

    These are much more helpful than the ones in Real Simple! I’ve also heard of sticking empty wine bottles in boots.

    February 5, 2010/Reply