Household Hints and Tips

Bring order to your household with handy hints and timely tips to do everything faster and better.

Whether you need to clean house, cut clutter or get organized, these daily tips will help clean up life on the home front.

Freeze the Freshness with Ice Cube Trays

Old-style ice cube trays still do kitchen duty, even if your freezer features an automatic ice cube maker. Use them to freeze extra pesto or chopped fresh herbs in stock, water or olive oil. Bag the frozen cubes to add summer-fresh flavor to meals throughout the year.

Give The Cleanser A Hand (or a Glove!)

Powdered kitchen cleanser is a cleaner's best friend, but it has the irritating habit of tipping and spilling cleanser when being stored or toted. Give the cleanser a hand--and keep it where it belongs--by stretching a worn-out rubber glove over the top of the canister when not in use. Keep cleanser in its place!

Cut Clutter with Freecycle

Purging clutter at home, some items are too good for the landfill but not quite right for donation. What to do? Recycle them with Freecycle! This grass-roots recycling organization uses local email lists to find homes for unwanted items. A bonus: most Freecyclers will pick up your item, saving transportation costs! Find a Freecycle group near you:

The Freecycle Network

Keep The Fridge Organized With "Cook's Choice"

Before going grocery shopping, plan a "cook's choice" dinner, designed to use up leftovers. Toss the last bits of assorted vegetables and meats into a stir-fry, or chop and add to soup. French toast for dinner makes good use of stale bread and the last few eggs, while lasagne transforms scraps of meat and cheese into a hearty meal. After dinner, toss expired foods and wipe down the refrigerator. You're ready to shop!

Storage Solution: Clear Containers

Whenever possible, choose clear or see-through storage containers. One glance will tell you what's inside, boosting their organizing power. Inside, where possible, store items vertically. Taking a tip from the file folder concept means you can spot the sweater you need at a glance.

Fight Clutter: Dump the Duplicates

Duplicate items--whether cookware, clothing or craft tools--make up a largely unrecognized clutter category. Dumping duplicates clears space for the tools you need and use each day. To part with them, gather all duplicate items and choose the best, dump the rest. Calling this process an "upgrade" makes it easier to part with the space-stealing understudies.

Declutter Central: Create a Staging Area

To make quick work of clearing clutter, you need a place to work! Set up a folding table, and add boxes for each clutter decision: Put Away, Give Away, Throw Away and Store. Bringing clutter to the staging area keeps the process organized, and helps you make good decisions about stored items.

For more clutter-cutting tips, try:

Declutter 101: How To Cut Clutter at Home