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.

Give Dairy A Chilly Reception

Dairy products are best stored very cold--but in-the-door shelves are the refrigerator's hot spots. Store dairy products in the coldest zone in the fridge, usually on the lowest shelf towards the back. To make it easy to retrieve the milk, use a rotating turntable to cycle the carton in and out of the cold zone.

Simplify Cleaning Products ... and Save!

A dizzying number of cleaning solutions sit on store shelves, hoping to convince shoppers that they need a different product for every room. Hogwash! If your cleaning tote contains an evaporative cleaner (like Windex-brand), a disinfecting degreaser and a tile/toilet cleaner, you're covered for most household cleaning chores... whatever the label may say. Simplify cleaning solutions to save!

Save on Organizers: Look Past The Label

Buying organizers? Look past the label for flexibility and big savings. Kitchen drawer dividers work in bathrooms, too, and cost less. Hardware stores sell small-parts organizers nearly identical to those sold in crafts stores, but at a fraction of the price. Don't pay extra for that pretty pink color!

Natural Fabric Softener: White Vinegar

Get clothing, towels and sheets naturally soft--and save money on pricey fabric softeners--with white vinegar. Used measure for measure in place of liquid fabric softener (3/4 cup for top-loading, 1/4 for front-loading washers), vinegar cuts detergent residue and softens fabric without perfumes or chemical additives. Dump the dryer sheets!

Banish Cord Clutter with Bread Clips

When finishing a loaf of bread, don't toss the small plastic clip that seals the plastic bag! Tucked around computer cables or power cords, bread clips make it easy to know which cord is which. Use a Sharpie-brand marker to label bread clips ... and cut cable clutter!

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.