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.

Dust Deeply To Cut Cleaning Chores

Dusting only a room's accessible surfaces is an exercise in frustration; remaining dust will colonize clean spaces quickly. When you do dust, be thorough. Move furniture toward the center of the room to reach all walls, windows and baseboards. Vacuum behind the furniture before you replace it, then remove remaining dust in the room's center. Keep the clean!

Recycle Toothbrushes As Cleaning Tools

Dentists recommend swapping out toothbrushes with the season--well before they're worn out. Run decommissioned toothbrushes through the dishwasher, then toss them in the cleaning tote. They're ideal for reaching small spaces and scrubbing around faucet handles.

Clean Athletic Shoes With Ease

Back-to-school brings autumn sports events ... and dirty athletic shoes! Machine-wash athletic shoes in cold water (laces in but untied), then tie the laces and line them up next to the refrigerator vent. The warm air dries shoes quickly--and a dryer sheet tucked inside each shoe will rein in any residual odor.

New Use For Old Sponges

When the kitchen sponge has reached the end of useful, give it a new lease on life! Rinse it well, then place in the bottom of a flower pot when planting. The sponge will retain moisture and prevent soil from washing away.

Save at the Farmers' Market

Shopping the farmers' market? For maximum savings on fresh, locavore produce, shop the market near closing hours. Vendors are often willing to cut prices on surplus goods at day's end, so they won't have to cart it home. Make them an offer ... and cut food costs!

Trash Can Liner Trick

To make it easy to replace trash can liners, slide several unfolded bags into the can before you add a fresh bag. When time comes to take out the garbage, replacement bags are close at hand!

Keep Linens in Order With a Color Code

Jumbled in linen storage areas, it can be hard to tell king-sized sheets from their full- or queen-sized cousins. Simplify matters with a simple color code. When twin beds wear print sheets, the king bed is dressed in light solids, and the teenager's futon dons bright primaries, making beds is a snap.