Use a cheese grater!
• To make a deliciously flaky piecrust, use a normal cheese grater to grate butter in to the flour mix. The butter will stay cold, and it will come out tender and flaky.
• "I like to make a big presentation, so I use sliced fruit, nuts and fresh herbs for garnishes. I prepare them ahead of time and store them in the fridge to take dishes from stove to table quickly. I have found that if you use a little lemon juice on apple slices, they won't discolor and you can cut them up ahead of time, too." – T.C. in California
• Because fabric softeners can leave residue on the dryer's lint trap, clean yours out at least every other month. Just scrub with plain old soap and water.
• Create your own nonslip hangers for your closet with your glue gun. Run a thin bead along the topsides of your hanger. Allow to dry thoroughly and you will be able to hang the flimsiest of tops on the hanger without them falling off. No glue gun? Try wrapping a pipe cleaner tightly around each side; this works well for tank tops!
• "Print out recipes and tape them to your kitchen cabinets, or hang from a door pull with a pants hanger. You could even stack a week's worth of recipes on a clipboard and add a dedicated hook for them in your kitchen." – T.Y. in North Carolina
• To save time making potatoes, try microwaving instead of boiling. Follow the manufacturer's directions on your microwave.
• The best time to shop for your 4th of July and Christmas tableware is after Valentine's Day. Red is abundant and very well-priced.
• "Clean, shiny china is easy with this simple recipe! Use a half-cup of Borax powder in a sink full of warm water. Dip the china in the sink and rinse with cool water." – F.T. in Louisiana
• Keep a pumice stone in the shower or bath. Once a week, plug up the bath while you shower and, if you want a real treat, add a little Epsom salts to the tub. When you have finished showering, your feet will have had a nice soak and will be ready for scrubbing. After you dry off, make sure to moisturize well, and your feet will stay looking great and be ready for sandal season again (if it ever comes back!)." – C.T. in Maryland
• Sweaters don't belong on hangers, but they can be bulky and take over your drawers. Try this storage trick this winter: Roll sweaters and display them in the sections of a hanging bin organizer in your closet. You also may find that they do well in the slots of a shoe rack.
• This is an old carpenter's trick, but so very useful: Use a clothespin to hold a nail you are about to hammer. It works especially well if you need to nail in an awkward place. This way, you will not pound your fingers or thumb.
• Need to secure a small amount of cash? Try this traveler's trick: Stick the cash inside a clean sanitary napkin wrapper and reseal. No one will suspect a thing!
• If you have a linoleum floor and get scuffmarks a lot, try this trick from the pros: Take a regular tennis ball and cut a small "X" into one side. Push the top of your broom through the "X." Now, when you are sweeping, you can turn your broom over and just lightly rub the scuffmark away with the tennis ball. It's simple.
• Experts say the best way to get your dose of daily exercise is to roll right out of bed to it. Leave a pair of sneakers at your bedside instead of slippers, and wake up to a 30-minute session of walking.
• "I love to cook, but it's just me most nights. Did you know that you can separate items in a large casserole dish by creating a thin "log" of wadded up aluminum foil, then covering the whole dish with foil? It basically creates two (or more) sections in a glass-baking dish. This way I can bake a nice piece of fish and roast veggies or whatever, all in the same dish." – J.K. in Pennsylvania
• "Add a little baking powder to your mashed potatoes when mixing. It makes them extra fluffy. My mom is famous for her mashed potatoes, and this is her secret!" – R.E. in Maine
• And here's a tip you can enjoy with those fluffy mashed potatoes, courtesy of V.V. in Illinois: "Add two nice dashes of soy sauce to your gravy for instant greatness."
• Label bags, baskets and boxes in your closets for better organization. When you create a dedicated place for something by labeling it, you are mentally more able to remember where to put something when it needs to be put away.
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