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Handy Dandy Household Hints

Updated on May 16, 2014

The What and The Why

WHAT is the point of this lens?

I may not know a whole lot (and some days I am pretty sure I don't know anything at all), but I do know that this lens contains some of the handiest things I've found (sometimes figured out :o) over the years. They are in no particular order, other than that in which they popped into my head.

WHY did I do it?

I belong to a group called Rocket Moms, started by BDKZ. We are each expected to create 6 new lenses within 6 weeks (my first two assignments are in the link list at the bottom). This week our fearless leader - the rotten woman - tossed out an extra credit challenge for a lens of our top ten "somethings". Of course as an OCD overachiever I was honor bound to accept this challenge and have spent the past few days pondering the topic, until finally - AHA!

Hopefully, you will discover at least ONE helpful thing you did not know before...

Being tacky is not necessarily a bad thing... - (except when you wear socks with sandals)

Did you ever notice how your candles never seem to fit quite right in the holders? Over the years I've found myself either whittling some candles down to size or wrapping plastic wrap (or waxed paper) round and round the bottom to make those little boogers stand up straight and STAY that way - grrr. Of course you know half the time they would tilt one way or the other just to spite me (the little meanies :o)

Volunteering to pick up supplies over a weekend for the HI (Hearing Impaired) classroom a number of years ago, I noticed something called "Teacher Tack" on the list. It's a putty-like substance that teachers use to adhere posters and things to the walls. It was very inexpensive, so I bought myself some too. Coincidentally, I was in the process of changing over my dining room d├ęcor to my fall theme. I had come across some lovely copper candles that were on sale (my most favoritist word) and I could hardly wait to see how they looked. Wouldn't you know it? The candles didn't fit the properly in the holders - they were too small and listed sharply to the right. Suddenly inspired, I dashed in the other room and grabbed the Teacher Tack, slapped some on the bottom of my little leaning candle of Piza and whaddaya know? It worked like a charm!

I now use this stuff anywhere I want something to stay put (like the VCR which kept sliding further back into the cabinet - four little dots of Teacher Tack on the bottom and it remains in the same place; front and center. Awesome :-D

Did you know...

You can leave the cellophane on your candles if you are just using them for decoration (they'll live much longer :o)

Buy Bread in Bulk

(and be sure to ban the burn)

One of the best money saving things we ever bought was a big freezer; it's great being able to stock up when something's on sale. We seem to go through enough bread to feed an army, so buying it in quantity from the bread store outlet (usually half price or better) seemed like an excellent way to save money. We'd be able to thaw it out a loaf as needed, and I wouldn't waste so much gas and time running back and forth to the store (which was not nearby).

Unfortunately, when the bread thawed it had a rather bizarre texture and tasted terrible (neither one of which worked for me - blech). The solution? Twist the end of the bread bag into a longer tail then fold it in half before wrapping the twisty tie back on; your thawed bread will taste exactly as it's supposed to (like bread).

The bread fits perfectly in front of the big plastic crates in our freezer

The bread fits perfectly in front of the big plastic crates in our freezer
The bread fits perfectly in front of the big plastic crates in our freezer

Hate the heel?

I do! Try putting the outside of the heel on the inside of your sandwich; then you won't be able to taste the difference (take it from one who is perpetually picky ;o)

I love my balls!

(bet that got your attention :o)

I purchased a set of Dryer Balls (the blue thing on the left) one afternoon just to see if they worked. They worked SO well I ended up going back to the store and buying a second set. Would you believe I was able to dry jeans and towels (the "biggies") on low heat in the same amount of time it used to take on high? How awesome is that???

For those of you with medium or long hair, a set of Washballs (the little pink and green guys on the right) work great in the washer AND dryer for collecting all those stray hairs.

Shout Color Catchers are also a favorite in my laundry room. They work well enough I have developed a terrible urge to throw a new red shirt in with some tighty whiteys (just to see if they're up to the challenge.... :o)

Did you know..

Dryer sheets keep the gnats away. I cut one in half and tie it on my ponytail during the summer when I'm working outside. I save the other half for next time (because there always is one :o)

Look - I found some! - yay :o)

No More Stinky Pinkies

(or how to avoid clothespin therapy)

My husband is a MAN; he does not always put shoes on his feet before going outside and too often jumps in his sneakers without socks. This creates a pretty offensive atmosphere when the time comes to take them off, and has been known to cause a mass exodus from the Family Room. Having tried a number of shoe sprays, Lysol, OdorBan, OdorEaters, and a myriad of other "solutions" to no avail, (we had pretty much resigned ourselves to wearing clothespins as a final option).

We happened to be watching Rachel Ray one afternoon, when she did her tip of the day (or whatever it's called). Would you believe it was putting shoes in a bag in the freezer overnight to eradicate odor? Three pairs of eyes shot straight to the biggest olfactory offender of all - MY HUSBAND's FEET. Of course you know I ran straight to the kitchen to grab a plastic bag, and stuffed his stinky sneaks in the freezer for the night. Supposedly, it kills the bacteria causing the odor (Hmmm....we'll see).

The next morning I took his shoes out to find the odor was completely gone...COOOOOL!

Did you know...

Letting the hot water run in your sink before turning on your dishwasher will save you money? It uses a lot more electricity if your DW has to heat up the water.

Divide Your Vitamins

(don't flush your money away)

Did you know that your body cannot properly absorb the amount of vitamins and nutrients most supplements contain in a daily dose? Your body will purge what it can't absorb (so you literally flush it away).

This one came from Dr. Oz: Taking your supplements at half a dose twice a day instead of all at once allows your body to better absorb all of the nutrients (pretty neat, huh?)

Between the Cancer and the Dermatamyositis, I definitely need help keeping my meds straight. I bought two cheap organizers and used leftover scrapbooking letters on the front for AM & PM, then practiced my penmanship on the days of the week with a Sharpie :o)

Buy two cheap organizers for AM/PM doses instead of a big expensive one

Buy two cheap organizers for AM/PM doses instead of a big expensive one
Buy two cheap organizers for AM/PM doses instead of a big expensive one

Guard Your Home

against kids with BIBS (Born In a Barn Syndrome)

I don't know about you, but it drives me absolutely nuts when someone stops halfway out the door and talks; this is an ongoing issue at my house. While our horses are on a feed through fly control program, there are some more down the road that are not (I figure we're at least keeping the fly population at half of what it would be). Both my husband and daughter are TERRIBLE about lingering in the doorway and generally manage to let it a plethora of pests several times a week.

Now I have a pretty good track record with the magazines; usually within one or two strikes I've obliterated my quarry - I HATE flies! - but I must admit it gets pretty frustrating fighting this constant battle. It occurred to me recently that maybe I should figure out something a little more proactive. Now, every morning when I leave for work I grab the can of yard and patio spray and quickly hit the mat, frame and door with a shot of spray on my way out. It gives us a 24 hour bug barrier - Ta-Dah! Pest problem solved :o)

Did you know...

Avon's Skin So Soft makes awesome bug repellent for people. Adding a dash to your pet's bath works great for keeping the fleas away too.

Static Cling

is NOT my thing...

I'll just bet it's not yours either :o) A little hand lotion on your pantyhose can keep static cling at bay (after putting it on your hands, just smooth them down your legs). Believe it or not, aerosol deodorant sprayed on your slip will effectively eliminate static cling too (if you don't have any official "Cling Free" handy).

Need to stop a run? If you don't have any nail polish, hairspray will hold it until you get home (keep in mind that unlike nail polish, it will wash out!)

Bake Your Cake with Magic Strips

(and level the praying field)

Do your cakes bake straight? Mine never did - until I found these wonderful little strips! You just soak them in water, wrap them around your pan and presto, a nice evenly baked cake!

Gone are the days of trying to level it out with a bread knife and filling in those annoying "potholes" with icing. I even tried one of those special levelers that they sell in the cake decorating section, but that thing never did live up to my expectations. Check out the Polaroid below this module if you want proof positive.

I bought two sets of these, as I have a tendency to go on "baking benders" and make two cakes at once (I've also been known to make a triple layer cake from time to time :o)

Look how evenly my cakes bake now!

Look how evenly my cakes bake now!
Look how evenly my cakes bake now!

Try Cake Release

(for sanity's sake)

How do I cuss thee? Let me count the ways.... I've lost count of the number of times I have meticulously greased and floured my pans only to have a cake come ALMOST all the way out of the pan, with little bits and pieces from the top clinging stubbornly to the bottom (resulting in many repentable words). Of course we all know that "almost" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades: it is completely useless in baking.

A friend of my mother's told me about this stuff called "Cake Release" and I decided to give it a try. The verdict? IT TOTALLY ROCKS!! Notice in the Polaroid below that the edges are already away from the sides of the pan. Now getting them out is......

A piece of cake! (sorry, I just couldn't help myself :oD

Straight out of the oven, and check out the edges... Now that's what I'm talking about - Woo!

Straight out of the oven, and check out the edges... Now that's what I'm talking about - Woo!
Straight out of the oven, and check out the edges... Now that's what I'm talking about - Woo!

My HANDiest Tip

(and "dirt" cheap too :o)

If I DID have a #1 tip, this would definitely be it! Having 9 horses, my hands are washed constantly (mostly because I keep getting them dirty :o) Unfortunately, I also have very dry skin (and a muscle disease which has exacerbated the dry skin problem).

Every night when I go to bed I take 30 seconds to slather my hands with a THICK coat of lotion, pop on some $1 cotton gardening gloves, and crawl into bed to enter into my nocturnal coma phase. The next morning, off come the gloves and my hands are nice and soft (basically ready for me to trash again :o)

If you need a little extra boost for dry, brittle nails or cracked cuticles use Sally Hansen's Vitamin E Oil before applying the lotion - it's great!

Don't have any gloves?

Try a pair of cotton socks; they'll do the trick in a pinch. You can also use the same ritual on your feet for pretty pinkies in the summertime - just slip on a pair of peds when you hit the hay :o)


Have you got a quick tip to share? - I can always use more of them!

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    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wow, thanks for all these great tips

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Can't get the lid off the new pickle jar...tap the side of the lid with a fork a couple of times in different places and It will be a lot easier to remove. Awesome Ideas here! great lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great ideas.Nice lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice Squidoo. I really enjoy reading what you wrote about. Chris

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What a load of great tips, some I never heard of before.

      Thanks for posting them all.

      A 5

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      9 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Amazing lens and tips! I will try does dryer balls, I wanted to for a while but wasn't sure if it was legit or just another "shopping channel" junk item.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Some great tips and ones I hadn't known about before! Thank you.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      9 years ago

      very cool lens--5*s!!

      FREE Samples and Freebies

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 

      9 years ago from Corona, CA

      No tips, but you have many that I can use! Terrific lens.

    • hlkljgk profile image


      9 years ago from Western Mass

      great ideas!

    • Twmarsh profile image


      9 years ago

      Many great products and tips here. A nicely assembled and well thought out five star lens. Thanks!

    • LakeMom profile image


      9 years ago

      Great tips! 5*

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      9 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Wow. There are some great tips and handy products here.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      You offer some great ideas.

      Thanks for sharing


    • JanieceTobey profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      9 years ago

      Love your sene of humor! Great lens and thanks for these tips. I think I only previously knew 1 of them.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hints! Love this lens!

    • EpicFarms profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      [in reply to spirituality] Thank you so much for the blessing and suggestion (I fixed it :o)

    • religions7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens & blessed - but I'd rename it to something like 'top ten household tips' or something specific like that. More chance at search engine traffic.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh girl, you ROCK!! Wow, those tips are amazing, I have bookmarked this lens for all the handy-dandy tips, thank you!!

    • seashell2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great tips... good job! 5*s from me!

    • seashell2 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great tips... good job! 5*s from me!

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image


      9 years ago

      I am not a baker so perhaps I am the last person to hear of cake strips....however, I would definitely try them IF I were to give in and bake! Oh, I LOVE your introduction! 5*

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Some really great ideas here! 5*


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