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.

Calm Kid Chaos With A Color Code

Assign each family member a color to keep life organized on the home front. Use permanent markers to color-code gym socks, shampoo bottles or plastic drinking glasses. Color-coded laundry baskets, file folders and organizers make it easy to sort toys, paperwork or clothing by family member.

Clutter-Cutter: Pick A Number

Decide in advance how many items you'll keep, to pare down multiples, whether they're pens, DVDs or items of clothing. If you know you'll keep three sweater sets, zero in on your three favorites, then consign the leftovers to the donations box. Pick a number to cut the clutter!

Clean Strategy: Avoid Remedial Cleaning

Over time, maintaining clean surfaces is easier than playing catch-up at long intervals. Summer school students know the truth of this: it's easier to learn material year-round, than spend your summer catching up on all the points you missed. Regular maintenance cleaning prevents grime from building up--and avoids sweaty remedial scrubbing sessions.

Stand Your Ground, Speed Your Cleaning

To make quick work of cleaning chores, stand your ground! Circle each room only once, cleaning everything in your path from top to bottom. Avoiding switchbacks and back-and-forth cleaning patterns cuts cleaning time. Use a cleaning apron to hold tools you'll need to clean all surfaces in front of you.

Stock Up On Stamps

Why stand on line at the Post Office? Instead, stock up on stamps online, courtesy of the USPS. They'll be delivered to your mailbox for a small service fee. While at the USPS site, don't miss free mailing boxes and envelopes offered by the Postal Service. They deliver!

Rubber Stamps to the Rescue

Rubber stamps are perfect tools to fill out repetitive information. Use a self-inking rubber stamp for your return address, but don't stop there! Add stamps with each family member's name to help route messages, mail and lunch sacks and to the right person.

Clear A Clogged Shower Head with White Vinegar

If your shower head isn't pulsing as strongly as usual, the culprit can be mineral deposits from hard water. Dissolve obstructions overnight in a bath of white vinegar. Place 1/2 cup white vinegar in a plastic food storage bag, and pull the bag up around the shower head. Secure with a rubber band for 8-12 hours to restore shower flow to full strength.

Tech Talk: Tips From Service People

Want to get the most from household appliance? Cultivate your service techs! A friendly conversation with the plumber, HVAC guy or carpet installer is a great source for tips to keep your home's components working at their best.