10 Hidden Uses Built Into Ordinary Objects That You Probably Never Knew About

August 5, 2019 Updated: August 5, 2019

You probably think that you already know everything there is to know about the most common items you encounter and use every day. So it may come as a surprise to find out that there are plenty of ordinary objects that have hidden features. Some of them are pretty exciting.

Here is a list of 10 things that can serve some pretty intriguing functions. You will find some of them curious, and others may just leave you dumbfounded.

1. The Hole at the Top of Your Pen Cap

Have you ever noticed that most of your pens include a little hole at the top of the pen cap?

©Shutterstock | LifetimeStock

It’s such a minor detail that you’ve probably never even given it a thought; but it’s there for a good reason.

As it turns out, they were designed to save your life. Pen caps are actually a huge choking hazard because many people tend to chew on pen caps. The little holes are there to allow you to carry on breathing if you accidentally get one stuck in your throat.

2. Plastic Drink Lids Are Coasters Too

Those thin and semi-transparent plastic cup lids are not only there so you can stick a straw in. It may surprise you to know that they also make perfect drink coasters!


They have three raised side ridges made to perfectly fit your drink cup in! It also keeps the table clean in the process.

3. Your Chinese Takeout Comes With a Built-in Plate

Don’t you just hate having to eat your Chinese out of a box? Are you one of those people who gets a plate out every time they order takeaway?

©Shutterstock | SPBROne

Well, you might be happy to know that those crafty little takeout boxes were designed with you in mind. They are made out of one piece of cardboard, and you can quickly unfold them to make yourself a perfectly sized disposable plate.

4. The Puzzling Hole in Your Pasta Spoon

Perhaps you use it every time you cook some delicious bolognese. Maybe you even looked at the hole in the middle and asked yourself about its purpose.

©Shutterstock | Aliona Pronina

The design is actually a clever way to help you measure a serving’s size. The number of spaghetti that can fit through the hole in the middle adds up to a one-person portion. Unfortunately, this trick doesn’t apply to other types of pasta like macaroni or tagliatelli.

5. Your Pan Is Handier Than You Think

Isn’t it frustrating how every time you stir that tasty curry you’re simmering, the spoon ends up staining your pristine worktop or your stove with sauce?

©Shutterstock | Food Travel Stockforlife

You might not already be aware that the pan you’re cooking in arrived with an already built-in solution to your problem! The hole at the end of the handle is there to hold your spoon, fork, or any other utensil. This allows for the sauces to drip back into the pan and keeps your surfaces as clean and shiny as you like them. Even while cooking.

6. The Real Reason Behind Your Eraser’s Blue Side

It’s interesting how this childhood mystery has only recently been solved.

©Shutterstock | JGA

You were probably always told that the blue side of your pencil eraser is meant to erase pen marks. That is incorrect. Trying it on thin paper means you will end up with a small hole in the middle of your notepad.

As it turns out, the blue part of the eraser was initially intended to remove pencil writing from extra-thick cover-grade paper.

7. That Extra Piece of Fabric Is Not for Sewing

You probably have a drawer full of those little bits of fabric that were included with your new outfits. And you probably always presumed they were there for patching up your clothing if it rips.

©Shutterstock | aopsan

In actuality, the purpose is a lot more practical than that. You are supposed to use that piece of fabric in the wash so you can determine which cycle is best suited for your new purchase. This way, you can enjoy your new dress or pants for longer.

8. The Tiny Holes at the Bottom of Your Padlock

Have you ever noticed one or two pin-size holes at the bottom of your padlock and wondered what they were for?

©Shutterstock | Yulia Yudaeva

They actually have a dual purpose. Firstly, the tiny holes are meant to allow water to drain out and prevent rusting. And the second function is designed for just in case your padlock freezes. You can then pour oil in the tiny hole, which will allow you to insert your key and unlock effortlessly.

9. Have You Noticed the Tiny Arrow by Your Gas Gauge?

Did you ever find yourself in that embarrassing situation where you were at a gas station with a rental car only to realize that you parked wrong and the fuel cap is on the opposite side of the pump?

©Shutterstock | doomu

The good thing about modern life is that you can now avoid situations like that.

Most post-2010 cars now come equipped with a small arrow next to your gas gauge. That little arrow is meant to indicate which side your fuel cap is on. So now you will always stop by the correct pump.

10. Why Your Tape Measure Has a Small Hole at the End

Working with tape measures can be very baffling. You probably think it’s impossible to record an exact dimension as the tape keeps moving and pulling back from where you left it.

©Shutterstock | UltraOrto, S.A.

Tape measures are actually quite ingenious in their design. They have a little hole inserted at the end. It’s meant to be used in conjunction with a small nail that will keep the tape fixed in place while you take your measurements. Maybe now your DIY projects will be a lot more rewarding.


As you can see, there is a range of lesser-known uses for many objects you probably come in contact with daily. Maybe you knew some of the tricks described and some might have come as a bit of a surprise. Now you can surely begin to use some of the above items more efficiently than you did before.