So much of RVing is expensive that I really love discovering inexpensive (or even free) fixes to problems when we’re out on the road. Here are a few unusual uses for cardboard tubes that I hope might help you while RVing. I’m talking about the cardboard tubes that appear when you run out of paper towels or toilet tissue. You might be surprised at how useful these cardboard wonders can be!
10 uses for cardboard tubes in an RV
Electrical cord wrangler
Our tool drawer was a mess. Our three electrical cords were constantly entwined and tangled together. So, I untangled them and now store them separately, each folded neatly together and held in place. How? I slip the folded cord inside a cardboard tube. The tube holds them securely until needed. Bonus: I use a marker to note the length of the extension cord right on the cardboard tube. That way I can tell at a glance which cord I need.
As winter winds down, I grab my collection of small cardboard tubes. I stand the tubes upright in a shallow pan and fill each tube with potting soil. Then I place tomato seeds into the soil. When the weather warms up, I transfer the tubes right into my garden. The cardboard will disintegrate, and the plants have a head start on the growing season.
I keep a cardboard tube in a plastic, zipper-type bag near our RV dryer. When I clean the lint trap, I put the lint inside the cardboard tube. When the tube is filled, we use it for a campfire starter. The lint quickly ignites and the cardboard burns long enough to get kindling wood burning well.
I like to hang my pants on hangers in our RV closet. The problem? The clothes hanger will often form a bend or crease in the pants. To prevent this, I split a cardboard tube lengthwise. Then I slip the tube over the hanger and use tape to hold it in place. The cardboard prevents the crease or bend in the fabric.
RV closets are notoriously small. Longer cardboard tubes poked down inside each boot will keep the leather from bending over, which can result in permanent wrinkles. With the tubes in place, I can store the boots on a shelf and the boots still hold their shape.
Hair band holder
A cardboard tube is a great holder for hair bands. All you do is wrap the bands around the outside of the tube. They will remain in place until you need one.
Trying to vacuum beneath our RV’s slides is impossible without a cardboard tube. In fact, there are many narrow places all over our RV’s interior where our vacuum nozzle just can’t penetrate. The vacuum end is simply too big to fit inside the narrow cracks. If you face this situation, too, just grab a cardboard tube. Gently flatten one end of the tube to fit into the narrow opening. Hold the vacuum nozzle against the non-flattened end and you should be able to remove pet hair and other debris from the narrow area. (You’re welcome!)
Viewing spring, napkin rings, and office things
One rainy camping day, our grandkids set to work recycling some cardboard tubes. One stapled two cardboard tubes together to make “binoculars” for our hikes in the woods. Another child cut the tubes to form individual “rings,” which they decorated as napkin rings. Our grandson stood various sizes of tubes on a small block of wood and glued them in place. Once decorated, the tubes now hold my pens, pencils, rubber bands, and other small office supplies.
Fairy light holder
To keep fairy lights (these) from becoming tangled, I wrap them around a cardboard tube. First, I cut a small slit on opposite ends of the tube. I begin by securing one end of the light string in one of the slits. Then I gently wind the lights around the tube. I secure the end of the light string in the slit at the opposite end of the tube. No more tangles! Yay!
For the birds
A cardboard tube can also make a great bird feeder! Thread a string through the tube and tie the ends. Coat the outside of the tube with peanut butter. Then roll the tube in bird seed. Use the string to hand the feeder on a nearby tree, then watch the birds from your RV window.
If you have additional ways to use cardboard tubes, please share them in the comments below.
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