20 Household Hints for the Harried Homemaker
20 Helpful Hints
1. If you happen to leave your laundry sitting in the dryer for too long (and who hasn't) simply toss a damp cloth in and turn the machine back on for five or ten minutes to help remove the wrinkles. It normally works and sure beats the dreaded iron!
2. Forget about expensive stain removers. I have never been able to find one that works as well as good old white hand soap. Just wet a rag and lather it up. Then, use the soapy cloth to scrub the offending stain out of your shirt, pants, unmentionables, or whatever. Launder as usual and, most of the time, goodbye stain!
3. Have you ever pulled your sheets out of the washer only to find that they have, somehow, managed to tie themselves into knots that would cause Houdini to have a nervous breakdown? No problem. Throw a clean, dry towel into the dryer with them and it usually manages to set them straight.
4. You will save countless hours when folding time comes around if you ask your adoring family to please, please, please turn their clothing right-side out before putting them in the hamper. It seems like a small thing, but I have lost years of my life pulling shirt sleeves and pants legs back to where they belong.
5. Someone in your house have a case of stinky feet? Just slip a dryer sheet into their shoes (when they're not wearing them, of course). It helps to kill the funk before it kills you.
6. While we're on the subject, toss a couple of dryer sheets into your suitcase before you store it. The next time you open it up for a trip, it will smell of summer fields and jasmine instead of old pool water.
7. Lay a dryer sheet in the bottom of your indoor trash cans to keep them smelling fresh. Okay, okay, I'll stop with the dryer sheets.
8. I lied. A moistened dryer sheet makes a great cleaner for shower doors. Just wipe them down and then go over your work with a clean, damp cloth. It makes them shine and the room will smell terrific, too. That is until the husband has his next "business meeting."
9. One simple thing that I can't stress enough is that, in order to keep your closets organized, you must rotate your clothes with the seasons. Don't attempt to have all four seasons sharing the same space all year round. They really don't get along well enough for that. Let's say that summer is around the corner, that's a fine time to pull out all of the bulky coats and sweaters that take up all of your free space. Under the bed storage bins are great for some of the smaller items. A hall closet, designated solely for outerwear, is a good place to keep all of the family's coats. When you get down to brass tacks, if a season has passed and you didn't wear a particular item, kiss it goodbye. If you don't use it--lose it.
10. Baby wipes make great toilet seat cleaners for those who tend to miss their mark. I also use them to wipe off the sinks, spigots and countertops. Get the unscented ones for countertops if you're going to be using them in the kitchen. No one likes bread that smells like baby powder.
11. Baby wipes are also great for cleaning up spills and stains on carpets. I wet them down and soap them up before scrubbing away whatever has desecrated the rug. When I'm done, I toss them out, easy as pie.
12. Plastic shopping bags seem to multiply in homes like rabbits. Luckily, they have all sorts of uses. One of those is the obvious small trash can liner. Everyone does this so it's not a novel idea. I'm just throwing it out there because I thought I should.
13. Plastic shopping bags can also be used in place of gloves to pick up the less desirable things in life. I slip them over my hand when I have to pick up dog doo, cat barf and squashed bugs. Living the dream!
14. Hang a plastic bag inside your car to act as a litter catcher. You would be surprised at how many cups, straws, candy wrappers, napkins and so on accumulate in a vehicle in a very short amount of time. Placing the trash in a bag keeps you from having to clean out the car later. You can even purchase inexpensive peel and stick hooks to put on the inside of a car door so that you can hang the bags. You're welcome.
15. Line your ovenware with aluminum foil before baking for easy cleanup. Just don't try this in the microwave, that is, unless you want to see the 4th of July in full bloom in your kitchen.
16. Rotate your groceries after a trip to the store. Place the new items behind the older ones. This saves money in the long run. It sounds simple, but most folks don't do it.
17. Late for work and your hair looks like greasy, grimy gopher guts? Sprinkle a little bit of cornstarch or baby powder on your brush and work it through. This will help to absorb the grease and get you through the day. Word of warning: don't shake the powder directly onto your head unless you want to look like a Yeti.
18. Getting to the bottom of a tube of makeup or toothpaste? Snip off the end and dip the contents out with a cotton swab. I've gotten two or three more uses out of products this way. Works with lipstick, too. Yeah, I'm cheap. So what?
19. Keep a small trash bin close to the door where you bring in your mail. This way you can toss out the junk immediately instead of laying it down somewhere.
20. Last, but not least, do everything the night before you need to go somewhere. Pack school lunches and backpacks, lay out outfits for the next day, have your keys and purse ready to go. It's so much easier to have everything ready before bedtime than to run around at 7 o'clock in the morning like a chicken with its head cut off--or so I've heard.
I hope you will try some of these tips if you haven't already. As always, test out any cleansers on a small area before going whole hog. You never know how some materials may react. Happy cleaning!