Certain items in a household tend to accumulate over time. Most of us have too many towels, too many cleaning products, and more pillowcases than we have pillows. The trick is to find creative uses for those items — or, if all else fails, donate them to help reduce clutter.

Consider the pillowcase. There are plenty of ways you can use a pillowcase that have nothing to do with pillows. So start collecting those slips of fabric that you’ve drooled on a few too many times or that no longer go with your decor and turn them into fantastic DIY creations.

Use it as a duster

When was the last time you cleaned your ceiling fan? If you’re anything like me, those hard-to-reach places don’t always get the good once over they deserve. Happily, a pillowcase is the perfect tool for cleaning your fan (and any number of other surfaces). All you have to do is slip your pillowcase onto your fan blade so that the blade is inside the hole and then slide it out keeping a bit of pressure on the top of the blade. By doing this, you’ll trap the dust inside the pillowcase so it doesn’t fall all over the floor. Here's a video to show you how:

Trick-or-treat bags

Those plastic pumpkins have a limit to their candy capacity. A pillowcase on the other hand? A kid would have to hit every good street in the country to stuff it full. Take some time with your child to decorate the pillowcase with pumpkins, ghouls or ghosts, or make it costume-specific and redesign it from year to year.

pillowcase skirtMake a skirt

Transform your favorite patterned pillowcase into your new favorite skirt. Thanks to Glamp Laugh Love, you can find detailed instructions on how to turn bedding into something adorable, wearable and perfect for spring.

Transform it into a garment bag

Traveling this summer and want to keep a top or skirt from touching your dirty hiking boots? Tuck nicer items safely into a pillowcase to keep them clean.

Make a child’s smock or apron

When I was a kid, we had to bring in our own smocks from home — you know, something to throw over your school clothes when using paints in art class. Instead of dirtying up a shirt, simply cut head and arm holes in a pillowcase and your kid will have the perfect smock to keep his clothes paint-free. Or, get a little fancier and put those crafting skills to use to create a nicer apron.

little girl wearing a pillowcase dressTurn it into a child’s dress

Do you have a super-sweet pattern on your pillowcase that would make the most darling dress for a young child? Check out these instructions from Sew Like My Mom and transform that adorable pillowcase into a tiny fashion statement (see right).

Fill with rice to make a heating pad

For those of you who love DIY projects and want to have a nice warm heating pad to help ease aches and pains, cut up that old pillowcase to create your own perfect migraine accessory.

First, cut the pillowcase into smaller, equal-sized rectangles. Place one on top of the other evenly with the pattern sides facing inward. Pin the outsides of the fabric to keep the two pieces from slipping. Then, sew together (either with a machine or by hand) the outsides of three sides of the fabric pieces. On the fourth side, leave a small opening about an inch or so wide. Turn the fabric pouch inside out so your pretty pattern is now exposed. Grab a funnel and pour in the rice. Then sew up the rest of the hole. Voila! You have your own microwavable heating pad. (Heating times will depend on how big or small your pad is.)

Wash your delicates

If you have delicate lingerie or stuffed animals that need to be washed, but you don’t want them to get thrashed around with all your other items, tuck them into a pillowcase and put them in the washer. It will keep your sensitive items separate from your denim and other harder fabrics. You can also use a pillowcase as a laundry bag to separate your lights from your darks.

bag made from a pillowcase

Shopping bags

Pillowcases fold up well, becoming super small, which makes them fantastic options to turn into shopping bags. Sew on handles and you’ve got yourself a spacious bag for food shopping, clothing or anything else you can think of.

Wastebasket liner

Have a small wastebasket? Instead of lining it with plastic, put in an old pillowcase. It’s washable and reusable making it eco-friendly as well as economical.

Still haven’t hit your DIY pillow fix for the day? Check out these instructions on how to make a throw pillow using plastic bags.

Related on MNN:

Pillowcase skirt: Glamp Laugh Love blog

Pillowcase dress: Sew Like My Mom blog

Pillowcase bag: storebukkebruse/flickr