Helpful Hints #2

Published July 20, 2012

It’s time for my annual “helpful hints” column. These are little ideas to help make life easier for you on a day-to-day basis. Every year we tend to put forth New Year’s resolutions that may include simplifying our lives and becoming a bit more organized. If you’re like me, as the year progresses the resolutions become less and less. Discouraging as it is, maybe this year could be different.

My first resolution was to put away the Holiday decorations before January 15th. Now that it’s January 25th I can safely say I have not yet begun. That being said, I haven’t given up on my quest for organization. Too many times I have attempted to pull out my holiday lights only to find a huge, ball of tangled mess. Every year I swear to put them away properly and this is the year.

The trick is to keep any boxes that are 16″ by 16″ or larger. These boxes may be cut up with a sharp knife into 15″ x 15″ pieces. Make a slit in the top left-hand side and place the end of the light cord through it to secure. Begin wrapping the lights around the cardboard piece in an organized fashion until you reach the end. Make another slit on the bottom right-hand side and secure the end of the lights. Repeat with remaining strands of lights.

While we are on the topic of boxes, another handy tip to make heavier lifting easier is to cut out handholds on the side of awkward size boxes. Using a pencil, draw out a “T” shape on the smaller side of the box approximately 3-4 inches from the box top. Then continue to draw perpendicular slits down the center until they meet to form a “T”. Cut this shape out with a utility knife. Fold the flaps inward and you have created handles for easier carrying.

Have you every decided to move your furniture only to find those annoying, little indentations left by the furniture legs? Here’s a tip to remove them. Place ice cubes on the indentations and leave until the ice cube has melted. The slow- melting ice cube will cause the fibers in the carpet to expand and absorb the water. Once dry, vacuum up the spot.

Finally, it’s an old one but a good one and worth repeating. Remove wax stains on tablecloths with a warm iron and brown, craft paper. Begin by removing any excess wax by scraping it with a kitchen knife. Place 2-3 pieces of brown paper under the cloth and one on top of the wax. Using an iron on low setting, carefully iron over the stain until the wax is absorbed into the paper. You may have to move the paper around to absorb the whole stain.

And remember…don’t put it down…put it away!