You've probably thrown away hundreds of those silica gel packets that come in packaging and purchases. However, these little toss-aways could be helping you around the house with everything from keeping your silver tarnish-free to preserving vegetable seeds and drying flowers.

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"Silica gel is a desiccant, meaning it adsorbs and holds moisture," says The Globe's community editor Amberly McAteer. "Not absorbs, but adsorbs with a 'd,' meaning it collects moisture on its surface." The porous nature of these beads helps protect nearby surfaces from moisture.

McAteer continues describing how adding these packets to household items typically damaged by moisture is an easy was to protect the shelf life of those items or prolong their usefulness.

My Thirty Spot editor Erin Kennedy suggests a clever use that could save many mobile phone owners moments of panic. Yes, this little drying wonder can help the occasional phone that's taken a dip in the pool, tub or cup of coffee. Removing the phone's battery and SIM card and placing the phone in a bowl of silica gel for 24 hours may offer hope to a soggy cell phone.

Laura from Make Life Lovely offers a particularly handy tip to those who store Christmas or other holiday decorations in damp basements or attics for months at a time. Yes, these versatile little packets will keep your stuffed Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer free of mold and mustiness for years to come.

With all these handy tips to explore, there's more than enough motivation to keep those packets out of the trash. Be sure and spread the wisdom by passing this along!