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updated: 4/26/2011 1:07 PM

Colander uses won't strain your brain

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Colanders last a long time. But through heavy use, they get chipped, dented, partially rusted or melted. Eventually, you'll need to replace your old colander with a new one. Don't throw the old one away. There are multiple creative ways to use it even if it's not in perfect condition. If your colander is still in great shape, I've included a few ways to make it multi-task.

One reader, Polly from Pennsylvania, shares: "Your old beat-up colander just might look great spray-painted copper, with a potted plant in it."

Here are some more ideas.

Produce container: It can hold fruit or vegetables. Place on your kitchen counter as a practical and pretty display bowl, or use it in the refrigerator for food such as grapes or berries.

Food cover: Use a colander to cover food at a backyard BBQ. It will protect your food from insects. Or use it indoors to cover a plate of hot food to help keep it warm.

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• Write Sara Noel at