From House to Home:

There's Style in Them-Thar Aisles!

Have you ever taken a little extra time to peruse the aisles of your local Hardware store? Be it the 'Big Box' variety or the corner True Value, if you spend a little time and put on your thinking cap you will find some inspiring ideas.

Here are a few favorites:

• Baling Twine. At one time, a necessity on the farm, this twine is strong and has a zillion uses. Buy a big spool of it and use it in the garden, wrap it around a bunch of flowers for a hostess gift, tie it around a package, use it as garland in your Christmas tree…

• Painter's Paper. It comes on a roll in a few different sizes and muted colors. The olive green makes a great gift wrap. Inexpensive yet lovely tied up with twine and a sprig of something fresh from your yard.

The next time you head to the hardware store, walk up and down the aisles.

• Drop Cloths. You can't go wrong with this nubby, neutral-colored fabric. It's a no nonsense basic. With a little imagination it can turn an ugly sofa into a work of art.

• Galvanized Garbage Cans. Use them to store hoses for the winter, keep pet food dry and fresh, store packing peanuts in one and potting soil in another. They last forever.

• Canning Jars. Often the corner hardware store will have a variety of canning supplies including jars in different sizes and shapes. Use them for canning as well as for organizing bits and pieces in your bathroom, kitchen or office.

So, the next time you head to the hardware store, walk up and down the aisles. You never know, a section of heating pipe might just be the answer to your next organizing project.

This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on February 23, 2010

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