Shopping to stock the kitchen or home with goods is my favorite type of shopping — and buying in bulk is my favorite way to stock up. I could spend all day in a wholesale club moseying through the aisles, comparing prices and thinking of all of the wonderful things to do with almost everything I see.

However, as much as I love the steals and deals, I have come to notice one thing: When you live in a household with only two people and a small dog, it can take a very long time to get through the items. Earlier this year, I bought a 21-pack of sponges. We barely have dented it.

Luckily, being a big fan of finding alternative uses to common household goods, I have come across plenty of things a sponge can do (besides scrub dishes):

Clean pet hair. Rinse a sponge under running water and give it a squeeze so it is just slightly damp. Run it over furniture or carpet, using the textured, or scrub side, to gather up excess pet hair after vacuuming. The hair will ball up so you can easily pick it up. (Tip: If you have a larger area of carpet, use a sponge mop instead.)

Sprout seeds. You can make your own chia pet with little more than a sponge, seeds (watercress, alfalfa or other fast-growing seeds work great), water, a plate and a glass bowl. Cut a shape out of the sponge, if you desire, then soak it so it’s damp, but not dripping. Next, place it on a plate, scatter the seeds on top and poke them so they get embedded in the sponge, and cover the plate and sponge with the inverted bowl. Lastly, place in a sunny spot and occasionally moisten by spraying with water. Be careful not to overwater or to let the sponge completely dry out. When the seeds begin to sprout, transfer them to soil or eat the seedlings.

Create a no-drip ice pack. All you need for this is a sponge, zip-top bag, water and a freezer. Soak the sponge, place it in the ziptop bag and freeze. Since the sponge is absorbent by nature, it keeps the pack from dripping, causing any melted water to simply absorb back into the sponge.

Freshen up the fridge. Rinse a sponge and squeeze until it’s just damp. Sprinkle baking soda on top and set in the corner of the refrigerator to absorb any odors. You can also try squeezing some lemon juice onto the sponge to give the fridge a fresh citrus scent.

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