17 clever household tips for everyday use
Who doesn’t love tips that make everyday tasks a little simpler, or that help us save time and money? We all do! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of handy hints that will free up your time and mental energy – and maybe even save you a little cash.
Slow down, banana! Pull your bananas apart after you buy them. They ripen more slowly when not attached to each other by the stem, and will therefore last longer as singletons.
A sweeter sweet pepper. Yellow, red or orange sweet peppers with three bumps on the bottom are sweeter than those with four bumps. The ones with four bumps tend to be crunchier though, so choose wisely!
Don’t waste that sauce! If you don’t use up an entire can of tomato paste or tomato sauce when you’re making a recipe, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop into a freezer bag and keep for the next time you want to make a sauce. Small cubes thaw much faster than a big block of sauce, and they can be easily added to soups and stews for a burst of flavor.
Reheat pasta faster. If you’re using a microwave to reheat your leftover spaghetti, put it on a plate and make a hole in the center (like a giant spaghetti donut). It’ll heat more evenly without you having to stir it several times like you would if it was in a bowl.
Cut the cheese. Cut soft, sticky cheeses like goat cheese using a piece of unflavored dental floss instead of a knife. Hold the floss taught above the cheese, then press down (with your fingers on either side of the piece of cheese). It glides through, making a much neater cut.
Grape cubes. Keep your glass of wine perfectly chilled using frozen grapes as ice cubes. They won’t water the wine down, but will keep it perfectly chilled as you sip.
Save the cake. If you have leftover cake, keep the cut ends moist by securing slices of bread to the ends using toothpicks.
Bread loves glass. If you shatter a glass in the kitchen, save your fingers and use a slice of bread to pick up the shards.
Revive your honey. Honey that has crystalized isn’t bad; it’s just hard to eat. Soften it up by placing the jar of honey in a pot of hot water.
Vacuum extender. If you can’t seem to reach all those nooks and crannies you need to with your vacuum’s hose, put an empty paper towel roll onto the end of the hose and bend or flatten it so you can squeeze it into those tough-to-clean spots.
Microwave cleaning made easy. Make this annoying task a little easier by heating a chopped lemon in a cup of water in your microwave on high until the window is nice and steamy. Let the bowl sit inside for 15 minutes, then open and wipe down the grease and grime.
Stick it to dirt. Clean under heavy appliances without moving them by putting an old sock on a stick and securing it with an elastic band. Simply run the sock-covered stick underneath the appliance and you’re done!
Save your sponges. Extend the life of your sponges – and make them safe to use – by regularly disinfecting them in the microwave. Moisten them, and then pop them in the microwave on high for two minutes. Just make sure your sponge doesn’t have any metal in it.
Priority laundry. Get an extra, small laundry bin for “need right away” items like sports and work uniforms, and other items that need to be laundered sooner rather than later. Check it daily and pop those items in the wash right away to avoid those panicked, “WHERE IS MY…?” moments.
Make sweat stains disappear. Try a thick paste of baking soda and water to remove perspiration stains from clothing. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with ¼ cup of warm water. Wet the stained area of the garment with plain water, then slather the baking soda paste on the stain, gently rubbing the fabric together. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour, then rise and machine wash as usual.
Save money by being cold. Unless your clothes are extremely dirty or greasy, wash them in cold water. Today’s detergents are made to work just as well in cold water, so save money on your energy bills by using hot water for only the dirtiest jobs.
Purge box. Put a cardboard box or a large shopping bag in a spare room and write, “PURGE” on it. Tell everyone in the house that every time they come across an item they own that they no longer want or need, they must put it in the purge box. When it’s full, sort through what can be donated to charity, given away to friends or family, or sold online or at a garage sale. Having a handy spot to regularly toss unwanted items helps keep clutter to a minimum.
416156 CAN/US (04/18)