One Genius Way to Reuse All Those Takeout Sauce Packets

You know the drill. You order Chinese takeout, it arrives, and you pull everything out of the brown paper grocery sack in preparation to chow down on some chow mein. But when you reach the bottom of the bag, you’re distracted by a question nagging your brain: How could one person possibly use all of these sauce packets? How many people do they think you were ordering for? And why is the number of sauce packets so disproportionate to the number of fortune cookies? (OK, so technically three questions.)

While the latter two questions may forever remain mysteries, you’ll be happy to know there is an answer to the first. No, you should not consider it a personal challenge to use the 10,001 soy sauces, spicy mustards, and duck sauces in your takeout bag during one sitting. Because, sodium. Rather, you can turn what would otherwise be a wasteful process into a opportunity to upcycle.

Don’t toss those tiny sealed flavor squares; reuse them—as mini ice packs!

You can freeze them and pull one or two out whenever you need to calm small cuts and scratches. Bonus? If you have kids, these mini ice packs are the perfect size for little scrape-prone knees and elbows. According to HealthyChildren.org, using ice for such injuries decreases pain, swelling, inflammation, and even muscle cramping.

Or maybe you’re feeling a bit fatigued and need some TLC yourself. Experts tout ice as a secret beauty superhero. Ever wondered how Kate Moss gets that model glow? She’s a believer in cold therapy for the skin, per Vogue—and skincare pros are, too. Frozen compresses can “dramatically improve circulation in the skin for that healthy glow we all want,” says celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen.

How lucky are you that you have a ton of tiny compresses ideally shaped for placing under your eyes or, as Henriksen suggests, running along your jawline and cheekbones? Plus, it will free up storage space. Once you empty all of the excess packets you’ve been hoarding into the freezer, you’ll wind up with a free drawer.

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