Use a zipper-top baggie
Have a squeaky door? Spray the hinge with cooking spray. Open and close the door a few times to work the spray into the hinge, and your squeak should disappear!
"If you make your own pesto, try using pistachios instead of pine nuts. The result is amazing, and a slightly better nutritional profile, too." – T.D. in New York
To clean terra cotta pots for new plants, follow these steps: Use a plastic brush to remove large dirt chunks and stuck-on materials. Soak pots in a 25 percent vinegar solution for 20 minutes. Scrub with a plastic scrubbie and rinse. If all deposits are gone, clean with soapy water and put out to dry. If not, soak in vinegar again. Happy planting!
Keep baby occupied at the table with this parenting trick: Add a little poster paint or finger paint to a gallon size zipper-top baggie. Close tightly, removing all air from bag. Tape edges to the table with masking tape. Now Junior can make patterns in the paint, essentially mess-free painting.
"Magazine holders, placed on their side, make an excellent and useful set of shelves in a traditional freezer. Who hasn't had the contents of their freezer tumble out because they removed something from the bottom of the pile? It's much easier with these 'shelves.'" – V.R. in Georgia
If you spill glitter, don't panic! Using a small hand broom, sweep up as much as you can. Then, bust out your lint roller. It will pick up those stubborn pieces that stick to floors. For anything that's left over? Try enjoying the sparkle!
Use coffee filters to separate snacks in a dish, or to separate plates in a stack, particularly ones with gold paint or a raised pattern.
"I did some spontaneous cleaning in my favorite black tank top. I ended up with a couple of small but noticeable bleach stains on the front. My mother broke out a black Sharpie and colored the spots in. They are completely unnoticeable now. Thank goodness for moms, right?" – E.I. in South Carolina
"For pin holes in the wall, many people know the old renters trick to use white toothpaste to fill. Did you know that you also can use toothpaste to level slight dents? Apply toothpaste to the wall, filling the dent. Scrape a spatula or flat plastic card over the dent to remove any excess paste, leaving a flat spot. Wait for it to dry, and reapply if needed. This only works for small dents, like, say, the one left behind by a doorknob (oops!)." – M.W. in Washington
To make your own freezer gel packs, simply mix one part rubbing alcohol to two parts water. Use a freezer-safe plastic bag, add the mixture and close, being careful to release all the air from the bag. Take that bag and put it in another freezer-safe bag, and seal (in case the first bag leaks). Freeze and enjoy. You could use it for a lunch bag, or slip inside a small sock to ice boo-boos.
It's spring cleaning and summer insulation time! Forty-four percent of home energy dollars are spent on heating and cooling costs. Check for leaks in windows, doors and the chimney. But don't forget outlets, plumbing fixtures, power boxes and the attic. If you felt it over the winter, you'll likely feel it in the heat of summer, too. Prepare now.
"Save the plastic cups that yogurt or fruit comes in. You can reuse them for Jell-O cups. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and secure tightly with a rubber band." – E.D. in Kansas
Start seeds in the cups of an egg carton, the kind that are made from paper. You can get them going on a windowsill inside. When it's time to plant in the ground, score the bottom of each cup and plant it – paper and all – in the dirt.
"I found a decorative cardboard box that is big enough to hold a power strip. After installing it in the box so it looks pretty, I made holes out the side for different kinds of chargers (Apple, Android, etc.). The cord can be stored in the box or pulled out enough to charge a device. It looks nice on the side table instead of a mess of cords." – W.L. in Alabama
"Cheese can be grated, then frozen. The frozen cheese can be used in casserole dishes without even defrosting. I find it convenient to freeze my mozzarella in batches because we make a lot of individual pizzas. I can get a big block, grate it and freeze. It keeps for a long time." – J.M. in Pennsylvania
Lipstick and lip gloss (including lip balms) shouldn't be kept for more than a year. You can extend the life of your favorite lip wear by shaving a bit off and using a brush to apply it from the cut-off portion. If it touches your face, it can collect and breed bacteria. Be sure to replace mascaras every six months at minimum, and clean brushes regularly.
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