Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tips & Tricks for the Home (Inspired by Many)

I was blessed to have a wonderful grandmother who raised me from a very young age.  It was her influence that fueled my passion for being the mother that I am today.  There has never been anyone who has believed in me or supported me more than she has.  She is truly is my hero, and is the smartest person I have ever known.  There is not a single bad thing that anyone can ever say about her.  She is THAT kind of person. I love her more than I could ever express.

That being said, one of my favorite memories from my childhood is reading the newspaper with my grandparents.  It was a daily routine.  Their dog would go fetch the paper from the driveway and we would all have breakfast and read our sections of the paper.  My section was the "Dear Abby" section which also had the comics lol.  But it ALSO had the "Dear Heloise" with all of the tricks for the home in it.  My grandmother would always clip the ones that she thought she might use later and place them in a pile by her lamp.

Maybe it was all of those articles, or it was the generation she grew up in..but my grandmother can ALWAYS be counted on to help me get rid of a stain! 

Now in this day and age, instead of a neat pile of clippings we have Pinterest and we can "repin" these nifty tips and tricks right on the internet!  I think my grandmother and Dear Heloise would be proud of all of the nifty tips and tricks I have been able to compile :)  They have come from google, pinterest, blogs, Dear Heloise, and just from here or there!  I wanted to put them all here for you to be able to help you in your every day life!  Enjoy!


coffeefilters1 DID YOU KNOW...
COFFEE FILTERS –More than just for your much-needed caffeine fix in the morning, coffee filters are an AMAZING household helper! 
  • Cleaning! Because they are lint free, you can use coffee filters to clean glass, CD’s/DVD’s, computer monitors and even your iPad. 
  • Laundry! Run out of dryer sheets? Apply a few drops of fabric softener to a coffee filter, rub the sides together and stick it in the dryer.
  • Stinky Shoes? Pour some baking soda into a coffee filter, wrap it up with a rubber band and stick it into smelly athletic shoes to absorb the stench.
  • Decor!  Look up some nifty craft projects on Pinterest to see wreaths, lampshades and MORE made from coffee filters!

DRYER SHEETS – Speaking of dryer sheets, did you know…
  • Air Fresheners!  Put a couple of sheets in your closets, under the bed, or in luggage for a simple, long lasting and fresher  smelling space!
  • Dust Repellant!  Run dryer sheets along your baseboards to prevent dust from collecting on them!
  • Bug Repellant! Put dryer sheets in your back pocket to help repel bugs and bees!
  • Dish Cleaner! The anti-static formula used in dryer sheets can help remove baked-on food from pots or pans. Place a sheet in the pot/pan, fill it with warm water and let sit overnight. The next morning, the baked-on food should be loose enough to clean as usual.
  • Scissor Sharpener! Rub a dryer sheet along the blades of dull scissors for a quick fix.
  • Thread De-tangler! Try running the needle through a dryer sheet before sewing to prevent the thread from tangling.
marshmallows DID YOU KNOW...
MARSHMALLOWS -If you are able to keep them around longer than a few days (they go quickly at my house!).
  • Brown Sugar! Stash a few marshmallows in a box of brown sugar or the sugar bowl to prevent the sugar from hardening or clumping.
  • Ice Cream! Make ice cream cones less messy by sticking a few marshmallows in the bottom of the cone to prevent the ice cream from leaking out.
  • Sore Throats! Eat three or four marshmallows to soothe a sore throat.  The gelatin is very helpful when it comes to relieving irritation and soothing pain in your throat.

  • Floors! A tiny bit of clear nail polish can touch up small dents and scratches on hardwood floors and can help prevent further damage to the area.
  • Rust! To prevent rust rings in the shower, you can apply clear nail polish to the bottom of the shaving cream can.
  • Ribbons! Keep ribbons (or even shoelaces) from fraying by painting the ends with clear nail polish.
  • Automotive! Scratch the paint on your car? Brush a coat of clear nail polish over the scratch to prevent it from rusting until you are able to get it repaired.
  • Jewelry! Reset loose stones in inexpensive costume jewelry with a coat or two of clear nail polish. This also gives the jewels a little extra sparkle.

TOOTHPASTE –Not just to make your breath kissable fresh!
  • Caulk! No caulk on hand? Use a bit of (white) toothpaste. This works really well on small pinholes and white woodwork.
  • Stain Remover! Use a spot of toothpaste to remove stains from carpet. Just brush it in the carpet, rinse and the stain will come right out.
  • Pimples! Overnight blemish cream. It works. Enough said.
  • Toothpaste can soothe pain from minor burns (that don’t involve an open wound). It has been said to temporarily relive the pain and actually prevents the wound from opening.
  • Leather! Use toothpaste to remove scratches from leather. Just dab some toothpaste on the scratch, wipe it off with a soft cloth then wipe the area with a damp cloth. Be sure not to use whitening toothpaste, as it might bleach the leather.
  • Onion Smell! Get rid of the nasty onion smell on your hands by “washing” them with toothpaste.

These are what I have found from:  Bethany's Blog  I haven't done all of these personally, but she did an AMAZING job compiling them. She has TONS of cute stuff on her blog, check it out!  When I do get to do them myself, I will update!

1. I looked for months for this tip- and it came from Vivienne over at the V-Spot Blog. To clean the grease off of the burners on the stove- put them in a zip lock baggie with about 1/4 cup of ammonia and seal the bag. Then let it sit overnight (outside is best, in case the bag breaks and you can avoid the stink!) and the fumes will take off the burned on grease and you can wipe it away with a sponge in the morning.

HOLY CRAP. Vivienne, you have no idea how much time I have wasted scrubbing those stupid things. You are a genius.
2. Kim had the BRILLIANT idea how to clean our shower heads: to get the built up residue off of your shower head, tie a baggy of vinegar around a shower head. Leave it there over night, and it will clean everything off with no work! (PS- Go check her out at Tales and Tips from A Real Life Housewife, shes full of great ideas and sweet as can be!)

3. To keep spaghetti sauce from staining your plastic ware, spray the inside of the storage container with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray. It will prevent the red from soaking into the plastic. If they still smell like sauce after you've washed them, place a cut up lemon inside and zap it in the microwave for a minute. 
4. If you frost a cake and are going to store it in the fridge, wet a piece of newspaper and set it on a plate. All of the fridge odors will go into the newspaper and not the cake. A great hint for if you have a fridge full of food for a party.
5. The sun is a great bleaching agent. You can place wet fabrics or plastic ware into the sun and it will bleach the stains out for you.
6. From, aspirin can not only prevent heart attacks but also remove sweat stains, take the green out of blonde hair in the summer, treat pimples and get rid of dandruff.  To remove sweat stains crush up enough pills to make a paste with water to cover the stain. Let set and then wash as usual. To remove the green from the pool from your hair, dissolve 6-8 tabs in water and let soak onto hair for 10 minutes. For problem acne, make a paste and apply directly to the pimple. For Dandruff- crush two aspirins and mix it into your normal amount of shampoo (regular shampoo, not the dandruff kind!) you use in the shower.  Let sit on hair for a few minutes and rinse away the flakes!

7. Tossing a few pennies in your garden to make your hydrangeas blue. (My grandma also swears it prevents slugs, but I dont have slugs in my garden so I dont know if this is true or not!)

8. Oh Martha, how I love thee. Store your sheets in a pillowcase. Keeps everything together and it makes for easy, compact storage.

9. A Real Simple Tip- Once you open the brown sugar, toss a few marshmallows in to keep it soft.

10. This one came from Shape Magazine- To remove stains from nails after wearing a dark polish, scrub nails with a whitening toothpaste and a nail brush.

11. To make your own nail polish, make a little pile of eyeshadow (great idea for the broken shadows we all have lying around!) and mix in a little clear nail polish. By using a matte topcoat, you can even get the Matte look here from Nevertoomuchgliiter!

If youre into nails, you have to check the awesomness out that is her blog. I die.

12. When you cut up an apple keep it from turning brown by using a rubber band to hold it together in its original apple shape.


13. A bounce sheet in your back pocket will repel mosquitoes. Place them around your house to repel mice as well.

14. Found on To get the water spots off of chrome faucets, after cleaning rub them with a piece of waxed paper- it will keep the water spots and fingerprints from sticking to the clean metal. You can also use a piece of waxed paper on your swifter sweeper. Just rip off a piece the size of the sweeper, attach, and wipe away. The dirt sticks to the paper- so much cheaper than buying the refill kits.

15. If you get a water mark on a wooden table, rub the stain with Petroleum Jelly and let sit for 24 hours. Then wipe off the excess and polish as usual.

16. Cornstarch will untangle all kinds of knots. Rub some into the knot in shoelaces, chains, string etc and watch as it comes apart.

17.  Found her on Pinterest- and Diane from In My Own Style has one of the best why didnt I think of that ideas ever. When painting, wrap a rubber band around the can over the opening. Then you can dip in the brush and wipe the excess paint off onto the rubber band, rather than the edge of the can.

18. You can make your own ice packs by filling a zip lock baggie with dish soap, then placing into a second baggie to seal in leaks. The soap wont freeze totally, allowing you to mold it to your body. Bonus, you can get a few packs out of a $1 bottle of soap from the dollar store.

19. To make perfectly shredded chicken, simply toss hot/warm cooked chicken into the mixer with the cookie paddle attachment. Turn it on speed 5 and in about 30 seconds it will have done all the work for you. This came from Simply Healthy Family- and if you like to eat you NEED to check out the recipies over there!!

20. When you take down Christmas lights, wrap them around a square of cardboard for storage. A good use for all of the shirt boxes that get ripped open Christmas morning. Keeps them untangled and easy to put away.

21. When hammering in a nail, use a clothes pin to hold the nail in place. No more hammering your fingers!


22. You can make your own magic erasers for cleaning by simply buying some melamine foam. You can buy 30 of them on Amazon for $15. No more paying $4.69 for four!

23. The tip came from Pinterest and linked me to Jaimelyn from over at I {heart} Nap Time. let us in on this AMAZING secret- baby powder will remove sand from skin. Perfect for keeping feet clean!

Head on over to I {heart} Nap Time and see some awesome recipies, craft ideas and overall awesomeness.

24. Soak old paint brushes in HOT vinegar for 30 minutes and then wash. The old paint will come out and they will be as good as new. Just one of the many ideas Ive found on This Old House :)

25. Chalk will remove grease stains from clothes. Simply rub the stain with chalk, then toss in the wash as normal. I learned this when I was student teaching :)

26. Add some Velcro to a dish towel to keep it secure on the handle of the oven.

27. When a sweater gets pilly from being in the dryer, run a cheap disposable razor over the fabric to shave off the fuzz! They used to make little machines that were basically mens razors for this back in the 90's.

28. From Martha- save cabinet space in the kitchen, hang a tension rod and use S hooks to hang pots and pans. Then a magazine rack attached to the door will hold lids in place.  Also, tension rods turned vertical will sort cookie sheets and pans so you don't have to move a bunch of stuff to get the pan you want.


29. To clean a cast iron skillet, toss about 1/2 cup coarse salt into the pan and rub with a soft sponge. The salt removes excess oils and takes off the bits of food without messing with the seasoning of the pan.


30. Did you know that strawberries can be hulled using a regular drinking straw.  I most certainly did not. Thank you Williams and Sonoma for charging me $8 for a strawberry huller for nothing...
31. Iron a little baby powder into the under arms of your white shirts. It will keep oil from seeping into the threads, thus keeping them white.


32. Bed Skirts can be really costly, so take a tip from Martha! Get an extra fitted sheet and cover the box spring. You can get the plain ones for around $7 from target.

33. I found this from Chica and Jo a super long time ago, and it has saved me hours of aggrivation. When painting something, use a few push pins in the back of the object to lift it off of the table. No more sticking to whatever its painted on! It took me forever to find the link, but check out tons of their DIY ideas!

34.  Tired of having your shoes bang around in the dryer? Check this guy out.
35. Keep the stove top clean by applying a thin layer of car wax, then wipe it off. It keeps food from sticking. Anything that sticks easily wipes away with a magic eraser!

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