Monday, January 31, 2011

Recycling the Laundry!

I have some ideas to take things out of the laundry room and put them to work around the house!

1. Re-use your dryer sheets. They're indispensable all over the house from cleaning electronics, to dusting wood, to cleaning mini blinds, they're lint free and their static cutting power keeps dust away longer!

2. Set a laundry sorter in your garage and use it to easily separate recycling items. The compartments are perfect, and if they get dirty you can just toss them in the washer!

3. Set a laundry basket next to the sorter and lay some twine inside so that it crosses in the middle and drapes over each side. Lay a newspaper in the bin. This way when the bin is full you can simply tie the papers and lift them out. No more struggling to keep papers together while you tie them!

4. Or use old laundry baskets to help you clean up the house. Bring it with you as you move from room to room, collect the items and carry them easily to their destination!

5. Wash out laundry detergent bottles and use them to store and dispense birdseed and pet food. They seal tight and pour easily!

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Illuminating Projects

Most every project calls for good lighting but sometimes that's hard to do. Well, I have some easy ideas to shed some much needed light on your projects.

1. It is easy to direct light at your project with either a headlamp or a light that attaches to your ear. Both of these give off plenty of light for working and because they move where your head does, the light will always be aimed right where you need it.

2. If you've ever tried to prop up a flashlight for some extra illumination you know that they can fall and roll away in the middle of a job. You can easily direct that light by making a stand. Put a pair of pliers around the handle of your flashlight and use some rubber bands to hold the handles of the pliers in place.

3. If you need to get some light into a really tight spot, attach a night light to an extension cord and feed it to the spot you need.

4. If you need a reliable flashlight for your toolbox or your car try the shake variety. You don't ever need batteries; simply shake the light back and forth when you're losing power.

Bungee Cords

You may not think bungee cords are an essential, but they come in handy for all sorts of things!

1. For emergency childproofing, keep several small cords handy to secure cabinets and doors. Just stretch the cord around the handles.

2. If you've got a load a little too big for your trunk, just attach some cords to the hook at the back of the trunk and then to the top. It will secure the trunk door for your trip.

3. If you have to move furniture with drawers, secure a long cord all the way around the dresser from front to back, and watch those drawers stay in place.

4. If you can't find the cords in the size you want, make your own. Buy some bungee cording material with no hooks on it, then buy some hooks. Decide how long you need the cord, and snip it off giving yourself a few extra inches to connect the hooks. Thread the end through the hook and tie it off.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

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Hands Down!

From smells, to splatters to stains, household tasks can wreak havoc on your hands; I have some tips to clean them up!

1. Don't get caught red handed; berry and fruit stains are easy to fix. Grab some sugar and a fresh lemon in place of soap. Cut the lemon; dip it in some sugar and scrub! The citric acid and the gritty sugar will work together to wash those stains. If you don't have any lemons on hand try plain lemonade mix, it will do the same thing!

2. If your hands smell like garlic or onions, rub a stainless steel spoon over your skin under hot water. The steel reacts with the odors to leave your skin smelling sweet, or at least not garlicky.

3. Latex paint and grease splatters are easily cleaned off of your skin with some white shaving cream. Rub it into your skin and watch the mess disappear, you don't even need any water.

4. Say you want to prevent all of these hand dilemmas but you're not a fan of gloves, rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly over your skin before you start a task. Dirt, grime and stains will wash away easily when you're done.

Just some "handy" tips to help you out at home!

Cobweb Catcher

If you have cobwebs in your house in hard to reach places, you don't have to put up with it any longer because I have an easy way to make a cobweb catcher. All you need is an old nylon shower puff and a broom or mop handle.

1. A shower puff is the perfect tool for grabbing cobwebs, all of its layers and textures help get in and grab those webs. Pull an entire layer of the puff down and around your broom handle, and secure it in place with some duct tape. Using this whole layer rather than just the hang string will give your catcher more stability when you're reaching high above your head.

2. Once the puff is secured, go to work. This tool reaches easily into high corners and doorways and conforms itself to tight spaces.

3. Tap the puff on the side of a garbage can to toss the webs. Another neat trick is to pull a leg of a nylon stocking over the puff, that way if you get those sticky cobwebs you can just peel off the stocking and toss the whole thing!

A handy cobweb catcher that is sure to become a favorite tool in your house.

Cleaning Painted Cabinets

If your painted cabinets can use a good cleaning, I have some advice for you.

1. Empty the cabinets.

2. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner and carefully vacuum each cabinet inside and out. It may sound strange, but this will take away loose dust and cobwebs, in turn you'll have less streaking and an easier job.

3. In a clean bucket, mix together a cup of white vinegar, two cups of ammonia, a half a cup of baking soda, and two gallons of warm water. (If the cabinets are really grimy, you may want to try some t-s-p or trisodium phosphate, which is a heavy duty cleaner that you can pick up at home improvement centers, instead).

4. Pull on your rubber gloves, open the cabinet doors, and with very little on your sponge scrub from the bottom up which will prevent streaking. Make sure that you get all of the surfaces of the cabinets including the framework, the inside and outside of the doors and all inside surfaces.

Club Soda

Do you know what product can remove stains, shine surfaces and clean cookware? It's club soda; I have some easy ideas for this inexpensive little gem.

1. Speaking of gems, club soda does a beautiful job cleaning your gemstone jewelry. Just put some in a glass and soak it overnight!

2. Save your flat club soda to nourish your plants. Just water them once a week and the nutrients in the liquid will greatly benefit your plants.

3. Cooking in cast iron can make a big mess; pour some club soda in the pan while it's still warm. It will keep the mess from sticking and make clean up a lot easier.

4. It will put a great shine on stainless steel surfaces like pots and pans, sinks and faucets.

5. Club soda is also an amazing stain remover on clothes, carpets and upholstery. Use a white cloth to dab it directly on stains like wine, grease, fruit and chocolate. When you see that the stain is lifting, dab with a clean cloth and cool water.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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Toilet Care

If your toilet is dingy and yellowed, or if you have problems with clogging and back-ups, here are some easy ways to clean the toilet and keep it in good running order.

1. When the toilet is dingy like this there are a couple of easy ways to make it gleam. Try dropping a couple of denture tablets into the bowl. Let them dissolve. Then use the toilet brush to swish it around, and just flush!

2. Pour cola in the bowl and let it sit there for a couple of hours, and flush.

3. For a stubborn ring, apply a thick paste made out of borax and lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes and scrub the ring off. The elements work together to break up the stain and bleach it away.

4. To keep your toilet running well, flush a cup of baking soda once a week. It will help to control the pH level in the septic tank, and therefore keep the toilet running smoothly.


I don't know about you, but I have a whole drawer full of power cords and charges to handheld electronics. But I have some easy ways to identify and organize all of those wires!

1. Labeling. Print out or write small labels to put on the face of each power cord. There is plenty of room, and then you'll know which cord goes with which device.

2. From there you have a couple of options. If you bring the cords with you, coil each and put it in a zip lock plastic bag, then label the bag for easy grab and go access. You could even color code the labels, a different color for each family member for a quick visual clue as to which bags to look in.

3. If you only use the cords at home, buy a dedicated power strip. Plug all of the cords in, coil them up so they're smaller and secure each with a twist tie or rubber band. This method will allow you to walk in, see which cord is yours and charge away. Plus, you won't have any cords and wires hanging all over from every outlet in the room.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas that can leak into your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu so you need to be careful and aware, I have a couple of ideas to keep your family safe.

1. Carbon monoxide can be found in car exhaust, so if your garage is attached to your home, make sure that you have venting to the outside and weather stripping between the garage and the house.

2. Gas appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers and improperly vented stoves can also leak this dangerous gas. Make sure that these appliances are installed by professionals, and maintained on an annual basis.

3. Another source of carbon monoxide back up is in the fireplace, both gas and wood-burning. A blocked chimney can cause big problems so have yours cleaned and inspected by a reputable professional each year.

4. Never operate a gas grill in an enclosed area like the garage.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Antiseptic Mouthwash

Antiseptic mouthwash is designed to kill germs in your mouth and keep your teeth clean, so why not use it to clean and disinfect other things like your bathroom?

1. To clean the toilet a half a cup of mouthwash in the toilet is all you need. Just pour it in, swish it around and flush! It'll kill the germs!!

2. A toothbrush dipped in mouthwash will help clean grout and inhibit mold growth. It's also strong enough to cut easily through hard water stains and build-up. Just make sure you label that toothbrush for cleaning only!

3. Use a little on a lint free cloth to shine up mirrors and disinfect medicine cabinet handles, faucets and flush levers.

4. Use a little on a lint free cloth to shine up mirrors and disinfect medicine cabinet handles, faucets and flush levers.

5. Have a blemish? Use a cotton swab to dab some mouthwash on the area, it'll kill the bacteria and clear up the blemish.

6. You can use the same principle if you have a cut or a scrape and no antiseptic cream or wipes. The mouthwash will clean and disinfect in one quick step!

Clean and Efficient Kitchens!

Clean and efficient kitchens make things run a lot smoother - well I have some ideas to help!

1. The dishwasher - modern marvel, right. Well, there are some things that help it clean better and save some money! Fill your soap cup halfway with detergent and halfway with baking soda. The baking soda will help the machine clean your dishes better and it will keep your machine cleaned! Plus you'll use less soap, which saves cash!

2. If your dishwasher is looking a little grungy, fill the soap cup with some powdered laundry bleach, and run it through a cycle empty. This will clean and disinfect the racks, jets and interior in one quick step!

3. Speaking of laundry, did you know that a little laundry pre-wash spray cleans scuffs and stains off of porcelain sinks?

4. To prevent sticky messes in your cabinets, store oils, vinegars and honey in old cake pans. This does two things. It keeps the shelf clean and you can take out the whole pan to get what you're looking for rather than rummage through the cabinets!

5. If items tend to freeze to your freezer, line the shelves with wax paper. It'll keep these items from freezing in place.

Clean and Efficient Kitchens!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Build Up on Wood

Sometimes a build-up of wax and polish can cause a hazy film on your wood furniture. The good news is that it is usually pretty easy to clean up.

1. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to a pint of tepid water. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and wring it out. Rub the haze lightly with the cloth being careful not to get too much water onto the wood. Then, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe up any excess. If there are several layers of polish you may have to repeat the process.

2. A white haze can also be caused by moisture stuck in the wood's surface. Try taking some wood ashes from your fireplace, and mixing them with a little water to form a paste. Work that paste into the piece with a washcloth until you see the haze disappearing. Then clean the wood off with the vinegar and water mixture. (If you don't have a fireplace, you could also try some baking soda on a damp cloth. Rub it into the spot and wipe it away with a clean cloth.)

3. Once you've removed all that white film from your furniture, try polishing the surface with some lemon oil.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Smelly Problems

Stinky sneakers, stale carpets, musty closets, I have some ideas to help with those smelly household odors.

1. When you're steaming vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli the odor sometimes just lingers. Well, eliminate the smell by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water!

2. Ever noticed that plastic containers take on the smell of whatever you store in them. Well, for a lingering onion or garlic odor in your plastic ware, clean and dry it well and then pop it in the freezer overnight. Odors out.

3. This same trick works with stinky sneakers, slip them in a plastic bag and then pop them in the freezer overnight. The cold will kill the bacteria that's causing the stink!

4. If your closets are musty, spritz some cotton balls with your favorite perfume and stash the balls in the corners of your closet, it will keep them smelling great!

5. Musty carpets are often caused by excess moisture. Here's a one two punch for those odors, Sprinkle carpets with some scented baby powder, let it sit for a while and vacuum it up. The powder will absorb some of the moisture and the scent will linger in the air!

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Trash Day Troubles

Trash day troubles? I have some easy and inexpensive ways to ease those woes!

1. To prevent odors and inhibit mildew growth, toss a half a cup of borax in the bottom of your trashcan. Replace it once a month!

2. If you have something sloppy that needs to be tossed, double up some plastic grocery bags, dump the item inside and tie off the bag. Then throw that bag in the regular garbage without worrying about leaks.

3. If you have early morning pick up and animals tear apart the trash when you put it out at night, throughout the week freeze your leftover food. Slip food scraps and bones into a zip top plastic bag and pop it in the freezer. Trash night, toss the zip bags into the garbage and the frozen food won't emit an odor and therefore won't attract any pesky critters!

4. If you have pests constantly in your trash spray the outside of the trash barrels with ammonia each week and you shouldn't have a problem anymore.

Unusual Uses for Cola

If you have some cola in your refrigerator, pull out a can because it can help with all sorts of household tasks.

1. If you have cooked on crud, pour some cola into the pan, and bring it to a boil. The carbonation and heat will work together to loosen that mess! This same procedure will remove lime scale from the inside of your teapot. Just pour it in and bring to a boil.

2. Cola is also a great de-greaser; pour over a load of greasy work clothes, on a greasy stain in your garage or even a nasty spill in the kitchen. It will break up the grease so it is easy to clean away.

3. Sluggish drain? Pour some cola down there. It will bubble and fizz away greasy build-up keeping your drains flowing smoothly.

4. If you need to remove a rusty bolt, cola to the rescue, it will loosen the corrosion in no time! It will also clean rust off of all sorts of other metal surfaces. Pour a little on a scrubbing pad and go to work, the rust will disappear.

5. Pour a can of cola down your toilet. Wait an hour and scrub away those stubborn stains.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deceptive Decor

If you think high end accents like tassels and finials aren't in your budget, think again. I can show you how to get the look at a fraction of the cost.

1. Those great finials that top everything from lamps to clocks can be made from wooden elements that you can find in a craft store. An egg cup glued to a round knob and then painted gives you the look for pennies.

2. Those little knobs also make great feet for home accents. Add them to boxes, lamps or frames for an instant upgrade.

3. Want a bigger impact? Choose bigger accents, large feet and finials can be fashioned from wooden porch post tops! Love the look of tassels? Try making them yourself for a fraction of the cost. Buy fringe by the yard. At a fabric store, make a loop from the cording and then wrap the trim around the hang cord until you're happy with the thickness. Catch the end of the trim with a couple of stitches and you're done. For a more whimsical tassel, paint a wooden finial from the craft store and choose a multicolored double thick trim. Wrap it around a wooden finial and secure it with hot glue. A little hole drilled in the top of the finial is a perfect spot for a ribbon hanger. Want a bigger impact? Choose bigger accents, large feet and finials can be fashioned from wooden porch post tops! Love the look of tassels? Try making them yourself for a fraction of the cost. Buy fringe by the yard. At a fabric store, make a loop from the cording and then wrap the trim around the hang cord until you're happy with the thickness. Catch the end of the trim with a couple of stitches and you're done. For a more whimsical tassel, paint a wooden finial from the craft store and choose a multicolored double thick trim. Wrap it around a wooden finial and secure it with hot glue. A little hole drilled in the top of the finial is a perfect spot for a ribbon hanger. Want a bigger impact? Choose bigger accents, large feet and finials can be fashioned from wooden porch post tops! Love the look of tassels? Try making them yourself for a fraction of the cost. Buy fringe by the yard. At a fabric store, make a loop from the cording and then wrap the trim around the hang cord until you're happy with the thickness. Catch the end of the trim with a couple of stitches and you're done. For a more whimsical tassel, paint a wooden finial from the craft store and choose a multicolored double thick trim. Wrap it around a wooden finial and secure it with hot glue. A little hole drilled in the top of the finial is a perfect spot for a ribbon hanger.

Monday, January 3, 2011

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Mrs. FIXIT's Official Wax Removal Guide

vinYou name it; somebody's got to get wax off of it. Here is how it's done.

1. For carpets, clothing and linens the method is the same. Layer several paper towels over the wax and use a hot iron. The heat from the iron will transfer the wax to the towels, no muss, no fuss. If you're using an ironing board, protect the surface with a brown paper bag or more paper towels.

2. If you blew a little to hard to put out that candle and ended up with wax on your walls, hold a hot cloth over the wax and then use a credit card to gently scrape it away. Then dip a cotton ball in white vinegar and dab at the wall to remove any residue.

3. Need to clean the tail end of a candle from inside a votive holder? Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, when the wax is good and hard, carefully use a kitchen knife to pop it out from the bottom. Then just let the container come to room temperature and then wash in hot sudsy water to which you've added a cup of white vinegar to remove the waxy residue.

Humidify Your Home!

Dry air not only causes skin problems it makes you more susceptible to colds and the flu, but it also causes static which damages your electronic equipment and also causes your furniture to dry out.

1. If you're wondering if your home has too little moisture in the air? Check the wood in your home, too little humidity will cause the wood floors to contract and separate at the seams. Also if you get static shock when you walk across your carpets odds are that you have too little humidity.

2. Buy a humidifier. There are three basic types of portable humidifiers, Warm mist humidifiers heat water and release the warm mist into the air. Steam vaporizers use electrodes to turn the water into steam. And Cool mist humidifiers use fans to turn water into vapor and release it. Because there is no heating element cool mist humidifiers are the safest to have if you have children in your home.

3. For the best efficiency place a portable humidifier on an inside wall closest to a cold air return

4. You can also get console humidifiers that tap directly into a forced air furnace. These units may be a little more difficult to install, but once in place you can be much more efficient since it uses your existing water supply. I hope this helps solve the dry air problems in your home.

Happy New Year!!!

It's a new year, full of new possibilities. So whether your resolutions include getting more organized or catching up on projects that you've been procrastinating on, I have the tips and tricks to make those jobs easier!

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