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HOUSEHOLD TIPS/HINTS...THIS AND THAT!

Apr 24, 2014 - 27 comments

Well, I have a journal entry for all kinds of other stuff, and I'm just sitting here thinking about how helpful it would be for us girls and guys to share little tips and tricks that make life easier.  Share whatever you like, household tips, fix-it tips, whatever!

I'll start with this cool, easy, inexpensive way to keep your kids' (or spouse's, lol) lunch cold without worrying about getting the ice pack back.  Ice packs made from cheap kitchen sponges!  Reusable, and not a big loss if they don't make it back home....

http://www.thekitchn.com/make-diy-ice-packs-from-a-kitchen-sponge-my-kitchen-escapades-176888

:0)

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by specialmom, Apr 24, 2014
So you freeze the sponge and put it in a zip lock so it doesn't get things wet as it thaws?  Hm, I'll have to try that.  Each lunchbox here gets two ice packs--  one in the drink compartment and one in the food compartment.  Our school isn't air conditioned and is one hot box!  And we lose many an ice pack throughout the school year!  

Okay, so this is probably something others do but I have felt overwhelmed before about cleaning the whole house.  The house takes a LONG time to thoroughly clean, right?  I was doing like one big clean job once a week and it was taking hours to complete.  So, now I have a schedule.  I broke the rooms down by day and spend from half an hour to an hour and a half each day instead.  I alter the schedule as the week unfolds and I see what we have going on.  AND, yes.  Sometimes I skip the cleaning schedule all together and it looks like a tornado ripped through the house.  :>)  

Bring on the tips!

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 24, 2014
Breaking up the tasks is always a good idea!  I set out to do that, but usually go nuts on ONE, burn myself out, then let other go for a week!  UGH!  LOL  But, you know that about me already!  HA!  At least I FINALLY tackled that hoarder's room!  YIKES!

Yeah, you soak the sponges, seal them in a ziplock, and freeze.  When they melt/thaw, the sponge reabsorbs the water, so it's not a big mess.  Some people use a vac sealer, but a ziplock works just as well!  

Another good tip....an old (clean, lol) sock works great for dusting, just slip it over your hand, and you can manipulate areas better and dust items (like candles, vases, lamps) much easier!

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by VICourageous, Apr 24, 2014
Hi!! Rubbing Alcohol can shine your faucets or any Stainless Steel or whatever it is made of..
You can put cayenne pepper around your Garden or flowers and most bug will not go there..Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Also for me here up in what seems like the N Pole we still have the wood stove going. I like to put pots of soup and beans or such and cook on it, BUT I discovered it makes one heck of a grilled cheese or any cheese or hot sandwich..Just put it all together and put in tin foil and turn it over a few times..YUMMY. We also heat our Burrito Shells that way on the wood stove on top of a piece of tin foil..OH there are so many tricks. Do Not forget how much Vinegar and Baking Soda can do..lol
Bless

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
Thanks Vic!  Great tips!  I'm not much of a gardener, but I will def try the cleaning tips.  We used to have a free standing wood burner in our old house, it was GREAT for the things you described, but now we have a wood burning furnace, so it isn't quite the same, not the same surface area on top.  Boo!  We used to always keep a cast iron kettle of water on top of the stove, for the humidity, well, I got the idea one time to add potpourri to the water, it was very awesome.  It made a nice aroma, without being overly strong.

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by specialmom, Apr 25, 2014
Any suggestions for deer in the yard?  (short of hiring a hit man?).  Man, they munched my hostas and this beautiful phlox plant I got last year that was growing nicely.  It's now a nub.  I'm so mad and disappointed.  I don't know how to keep them out of my garden!  

Morton salt can absorb spilled things like wine on carpet.  I have this plug in wax burner that smells really good.  I put it in a room other than the kitchen one time and did a dumb thing, when I went to pull it out, the wax splashed on the carpet.  It was red colored!  Used a paper towel and iron and got it up.  My sister to the rescue on that one!

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
I just asked my hubby, he said you can do a few things, one, put a big dog outside (that involves getting a big dog, lol).  Two, you can try deer repellant, which you could buy at a local feed store, he thinks they make a spray form.  He's not sure if it really works or not, as he hasn't tried it, but they def make those kinds of products.  The last (and best) method is putting a fence around the plants/shrubs you want protected.  Chicken wire fencing works fine, the key to keeping them away is to just make sure the fence is high enough to cover most of of the plant/shrub.  

I didn't know about the salt trick, that's awesome!  NOTHING worse than getting something red on the carpet!  UGH!  I've had red crayon in the carpet before, what a nightmare!  Does the sale trick work anytime (like for old stains) or do you have to do it right away?  I imagine the sooner the better huh?

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by RockRose, Apr 25, 2014
SM,  we live in an urban area taken over by deer.  Nursegirl's ideas would probably work in an area where most everyone had delicious gardens that deer have easy access to,  and all they need is a slight bit of deterrent.

In my neighborhood,  most everyone has decided to plant only deer-resistant (there is no such thing as deer proof) plants,  so if you plant something deer like to eat there is virtually no way to keep them out.  You would need about a 7 foot tall fence - no exaggeration - and deer spray and even mountain lion urine doesn't help.  They just eat through whatever you have.

I had a deer kick my medium sized dog right in the chest and the dog wasn't even aggressing.  I had a buck "stand me down" in the driveway as I was carrying out the trash. I had to put down the trash can and go inside - I think he would have gored me.  I've had to slap them on the flank to get them to get off the bird feeder.  

Now,  we've cycled into coyotes who think the deer population and cull the fawn population to a normal level.

And I live in a neighborhood with curbs,  streetlights and sidewalks.  

So my advice is - plant only deer resistant plants.  Salvia,  lantana,  verbena,  cactus.

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by specialmom, Apr 25, 2014
That is the same kind of area I live in too rockrose.  The deep population is out of control.  I've got the sprays that are 'deer repellant', I've used blood meal, I've used coyote urine, I've used my OWN urine, I've used pepper spray, panty hose with hair in it, etc.  I've used deer resistant plants and they are such pests, they'll take a bite out of those too.  they bite the tops of my hydrangeas off, our tree bark, and really anything they see as they are walking by.  I find piles of deer poop in my yard regularly.  

What we need is NG's hunting husband and son to come and get rid of some of these deer.  

It's just so frustrating because I DO love to garden.  I will make an area really pretty (to me) and things will be fine for a while and then in one night, it will all be gone.  The phlox I got, I ordered from the nursery and it was said to be deer resistant.  ??  But they didn't take one bite out of it all last summer.  This Spring?  they ate it.  

It's kind of like war.  I may even get one of those systems that detect motion and then spray cold water and you move it around your yard.  Although I know that I'll be taking my dog out some night and get soaked in my pj's myself.  But I'm ready to give these overly intrusive deer a shock.  

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by jugglin, Apr 25, 2014
Not sure if this helps, but I keep a Swiffer Duster in the car and when I am in school pick-up line, or stuck in traffic I give the dash and front area a good Swiffing so that the car appears to be semi-clean.:)
I swear by Swiffers and find that even my kids don't mind helping when they have one in hand...of course, it usually turns into a full blown sword fight, but keeps them busy for a few minutes.
P.S. This really is not a Swiffer commercial


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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
Oooh jugglin, what a good idea!  I was JUST looking at the dash in my car yesterday, horrified at the dust!  It makes me mad, like there's enough to dust in the house, but I have to dust the car TOO?  Grrr!

Thanks for the tip!

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by ariley13, Apr 25, 2014
Swiffers are a godsend! I have a bunch of cats and hardwood floors, so there are constantly tumbleweeds of cat hair blowing across the floor! Also a good cleaning tip, is use white vinegar diluted with water on hardwood floors and wood paneling. It's much better on the wood and the environment than cleaners. You can also use it to clean the kitchen and bathroom since vinegar has natural antibacterial properties. A 'green' tip for mirrors and windows in lemon juice and water. 1 part lemon juice to 10 parts water. No streaks, it's natural, and it smells great!

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by nonights, Apr 25, 2014
To clean a microwave boil water in a cup with little bit of lemon juice in microwave. Then wipeit down. My boy caught popcorn on fire in my microwave and this actually cleaned it and made it smell nice.  Also on the deer we shave off pieces of irish spring soap. Deer don't like mint. This doesn't get rid of them but slows down the eating.

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by Shannon79, Apr 25, 2014
Nn - you gotta tell that snowman to be more careful when he's making you popcorn. No one likes scorched popcorn!

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by weaver71, Apr 25, 2014
We freeze quart containers and use it to keep lunches cool. They don't get anything wet, so it is better than ice. I let my lettuce to to seed and a lot is coming up, butter lettuce, r ed leaf, carrots, radish, lots of good edibles are coming up. We reduced our power bill by over $100 by drying our close on a line. We burn trash in the wood stove to warm up, we walk around the hood and find fallen branches. We Never go out to eat, accept special occasions, the truth of it is, if it's all the time, it's not special. We have chickens and we trade eggs for coffee and cash, accept the ones we eat. There are many things we can do to make our life easier, the options are limits.

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by melimeli, Apr 25, 2014
My dad would always freeze the capri sun and it would keep the lunch cold and be slushy by the time we drank it!

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by melimeli, Apr 25, 2014
add oxi clean before you mop your floors gets them brighter.  

use baby wipes to wipe down toilet base and the back of toilet

buy the big pack of ground beef and brown it all.  zip packet freeze packs for quick spaghetti meatballs or tacos

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
WOW!!  You guys are smart!  Thanks for all the tips!  I've done the water/lemon juice trick before in the microwave, it works great.  Baking soda and lemon juice are good for cleaning tubs, showers, sinks.  Sprinkle the baking soda (like you would comet), then drizzle (spray is more effective) the lemon juice on top.  It bubbles!  I use the baby wipes to clean the BR too, plus, they're handy in case someone has a dirty bum.   WHHHHAAATTTT?  Did I say that??  (lol)

Weaver, you are chock FULL of great ideas.  I love that you "walk the hood" for branches.  Nothing like a family gathering walk!  Love the idea of freezing quart containers too, but don't they lose the chill pretty fast?  Meli...the capri sun idea is fantastic too, it's a dual use tip!  Love it!

For those of you who use swiffers (the mops?), you don't have to spend your money on the expensive refills, use old washcloths or dishcloths (they work a bit better, they're thinner), jump dampen them and put whatever cleanser on you like, wring out, and put on the bottom of the swiffer.  I don't have one anymore, but when I used to, I had a whole gallon bag full of older dish rags I used for it, and it's nice because you can reuse them, throw them in the washer and BOOM!  Ready to go again!

Love this guys....keep em coming!  :0)

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by krichar, Apr 25, 2014
Hmmm... A regular dish soap wand with the scrubby on the end filled 50/50 with dawn dish soap (has to be dawn) and white vinegar will clean showers including glass shower doors sparkly... And you do it while you shower!!

Clean blinds with a similar solution just add water and some essential oil of your choice but use a sock on your hand to get both sides in one swipe

Put a cup of water and lemon juice in your microwave on high for 1min and let sit for another, it will loosen all the yuck and just wipe away




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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
krichar...love the dish soap wand idea!

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by weaver71, Apr 25, 2014
A frozen quart in a solid block lasts much longer than ice cubes or even a block of ice in a cooler. We leave the quart jugs in the freezer, a full freezer is more efficient. Best part is even cold water keeps it cool and doesn't get wet in a container.

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by VICourageous, Apr 25, 2014
OK..Now I have been getting 5 Beautiful White Tail Deers in my Yard for days now. I do not mind because they are just eating a bit of grass that is coming up..We get Lots of Moose in the winter and they are Shrub eaters. Since we took out a few trees from the back like a Apple and Maples they do not hang around. When I do my Garden I have a 10 X 10 kennel that we had and plant in there and around it..I have Lots of berries too all around in open areas..SO I will get something that SPINS around or hang down and is real bright. This keeps the Critters out & Birds. I just love my Critters!!!! Sometimes I will put Tomatoes and Bell peppers and such in these Big buckets my Hub had from dry-walling..The only one that ever ate my Plants was the COW from across the Street..hahaha We had Tomato Milk..lmao Now he is going to make me a Big Green House when this Trailer gets Moved..YA!!!

Now if you get any FLEAS on the carpet..(been lucking on that one) sprinkle SALT on the carpet..the fleas eat the salt and blow up..ekkk
NG I also have the pot on the stove and can add all kinds of different Oils, but I like when I put the Cinnamon sticks in the pot..
Also we have a Well and our water can get the toilets and such a rust stain. So I buy the "WORKS" and it takes it right out..You have to use the Toilet one on the Toilet only..Very strong stuff. (Cheap)
If you live in the Snow area you will always want to carry some Cat Litter or Sand and a small Shovel. They now sell these things that you can just put under your tires when you get stuck. I have a Car kit as well and some blankets and such.
Always use New Paper when cleaning windows this way you do not have streaks..lol
Oh there is so much more since I used to be a Very Compulsive Cleaner..Ha!!!
Somebody told me about Lavender to keep skunks and such away..I have been lucky and not seen or smelled a skunk in a long time..Must be because of the Dogs..lol Moth Balls too.

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 25, 2014
VIC, I've been using "the works" toilet cleaner to clean everything for a while, you're right, it's a BEAST, but you DO have to be careful with it, it's CAUSTIC.  I was cleaning my daughter's tub and put a little too much on the surfaces, couldn't go NEAR the upstairs, breathing in was BAD.  I learned the hard way on that one.  I tried the spray cleaner "works", and well, it doesn't "work" nearly the same., lol.  Well water is a b....stains everything!

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by Barb135, Apr 26, 2014
Spray vinegar or bleach on weeds to kill them, instead of toxic weed killers.

Use your used Bounce dryer sheet for a duster around the washer and dryer area; it'll pick up all lint that floats around when you clean the lint filter. . Also works good for quick pick ups of dog/cat hair.

Take the labels off empty prescription containers, wash them very well and use them for shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, etc when traveling.  Make sure they seal tight before using them with liquid and pack in ziplock bags.

We have well water, too and a Mr Clean Eraser makes short work of rust or manganese build up. I use them for all my cleaning as they work wonderfully, are non-abrasive and don't leave a residue (don't use them on wood - my husband did on our wooden table top and it stripped the paint).  

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by teko, Apr 26, 2014
Human hair is said to keep deer and other wildlife out of your yard. I had people coming to the salon asking us for our garbage hair on a regular basis.

I found a great way to travel with my jewelry. Get a plastic container that is used to keep your daily drugs in. Each little pocket holds a pair of earrings or rings very nicely. You can look thru the bottom and select which ones you want....

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by ariley13, Apr 26, 2014
I don't know about keeping the deer away, but planting mint in your garden keeps ants and other insects away. Marigolds are also good to plant in gardens because the deter the harmful insects and grubs and attract the beneficial ones. If you have an ant problem indoors you can leave spearmint chewing gum on your counters and this is supposed to keep them away.

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by nursegirl6572, Apr 27, 2014
Hey Barb, great tips, the dryer sheet tip makes perfect sense to pick up lint.  I know I use them in our suitcases after a trip, before I put them away, I tuck a sheet in every pocket.  Keeps it smelling fresh!

Hey teko!  How are you?  Human hair eh???  Who woulda thunk it?  Heck, I would be a great donor source, I swear I lose hair in clumps anymore!  I'm amazed I have any left!  That makes sense though if you think about it, as the human scent probably deters them.  SM...you want me to send you my hair?  ;0)  The pillbox idea is great too!  

ariley...I never knew that about mint.  We get ants sometimes, I will def keep the gum idea in mind!  Thanks!

I'm so glad I started this journal, just a plethora of great tips, keep 'em coming!!!!

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by spider6, Oct 23, 2014
Late to the party but had to sing praises of the all powerful wd 40.......is great for shining and cleaning stainless steel and it works great for taking of any kind if gummy sticky substance, like price tags...also great for removing permanent marker.

Strong  magnet for finding stud screws so you can hang heavy picture right into wood stud and not just drywall.

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