17 Quick Notes & Tips For Efficient Housekeeping

  1. Freshen Up Wicker Baskets: Have a bunch of wicker baskets that are old and tired looking? Lightly wash them then dry thoroughly. Once dried, give them a fresh new look with a coat or two of spray paint. Perfect use for that little bit of paint left in a can. You can also clip off any broken ends and pieces of wicker before painting.
  2. Flooring Nics & Chips: To camouflage small nics or chips in flooring, try melting a crayon that is a best match to the color of the floor. Drip the wax into the nic until the wax fills the hole completely. Use a plastic scraper or ruler to ‘level off’ the top so the wax is even with the floor. This isn’t a permanent fix and will need to be done again as the wax wears away, but it can hide the spots nicely.
  3. Baby Powder & Rubber Gloves: Dust your hands lightly with baby powder before putting on rubber or latex gloves (or even flour if you don’t have baby powder). This will help you remove the gloves easily without having to take them off inside out.
  4. Bitty Soap Pieces: For soap pieces that are getting rather thin and small, place them in a bath sponge that you’ve slit a bit in the middle to slide the soap pieces in. Great for kids to scrub down with (make sure the kids are old enough that they won’t try eating the soap). You could also make little pouches cut out of old towels or wash cloths and fill with soap bits to wash with. There are also this homemade laundry pretreater you can add them to: Frugal Laundry Soap – Pretreater.
  5. Clothespin Bag Clips: Buying special clips to keep food packaging closed and snacks fresh isn’t necessary. You can keep a jar or baggy of clothespins on hand and they do just as great a job! Although document clamps can be more expensive, if you happen to get a big stash at a great price–they do the trick too.
  6. Prevent Throw Rugs & Mats From Sliding: Here are a couple ideas to try to keep small throw rugs and mats from slipping and sliding around: Sew rubber jar seal rings on each corner of the mat (underside); Cut and sew rubber shelf liner strips along each edge (underside–a few inches wide per strip is fine–or cover the whole back).
  7. Hillbilly Ice Chest: Having a party and need a big tub of ice for drinks? Fill your washing machine with ice, then stack cans and bottles inside. Since washing machines are deep, you can layer ice and cans if needed. After the party remove any drinks left over, let ice melt and then turn on the drain cycle. This Hillbilly Ice Cooler provides lots of room, easy cleanup, and lots of comments, lol.
  8. Tip for Winter Driving: Keep a small container of cat litter in your trunk when driving in the winter. This will come in handy if you ever get stuck–simply sprinkle the ground around your tires with cat litter and this will help give your tires some traction in snow and ice. You can also store the cat litter in a large sealed tin such as old coffee cans or even in a big old plastic milk jug with cap (make sure to clean and dry the milk jug well before adding cat litter).
  9. Remove Rust From Nails: Try soaking small metal bits like screws, nuts, bolts, nails and tools in vinegar to remove rust. If it’s a tightened screw or nail that you want to remove the rust from, try squirting vinegar or ammonia on it or soak a cloth in vinegar and let it cover the metal item for awhile until the rust is eaten away. I’ve come across mentions of Coca-Cola or Canada Dry working well too–but I haven’t tried that.
  10. Remember Coupons: If you have trouble remembering to use your coupons when grocery shopping, try writing out your grocery list on the back of an envelope. Place all the coupons that you’ll be using inside the envelope and mark a star or a “C” beside the items on your list that you have a coupon for. When you’re at the till you’ll have your coupons stacked in the envelope and ready to hand to the cashier.
  11. Reuse Cardboard From Cereal Boxes: If you mail photos or documents that you don’t want bent in the mail, protect the items by placing between two sheets of cardboard cut down from cereal boxes. Having a small stack on hand is a handy thing to have in the home office.
  12. Helper for Scuffed Suede: Try a cardboard emery board or a piece of light sandpaper to buff out scuffs or pressed areas on suede. Do it gently at first making sure you don’t do any damage. You could also try placing the affected area of the suede over steam from a kettle of boiling water to raise the nap and then carefully brush out with a suede brush.
  13. Small Plastic Scrapers: Save a few of the square plastic clips that keep bread bags closed to use as tiny scrapers. They come in handy to remove labels, price tags, and even do a good job scratching lottery tickets.
  14. Potted Plants & Coffee Filters: Before filling a garden or household plant container with potting soil, first lay a coffee filter on the bottom inside of the pot and then add the soil on top. This will keep the soil from draining out the pot’s drainage holes when you water the plant.
  15. Dog Hair Catcher: If you have to bathe your dog in the bathtub, place a nylon or steel wool pot scrubber in the drain to catch all the dog hair. Prevents dog hair buildup in the drain and pipes.
  16. Paint Tray Cleanup: When using paint trays for household painting jobs, try slipping an empty (and very clean) plastic bag over the paint tray before pouring paint. Instead of having a paint tray to clean up, it’s a simple job to remove the bag and toss in the garbage. Instead of bags, you could also try first lining trays well with plastic wrap (like saran wrap).
  17. Extra Plastic Bags Use: If you find these growing in number and you know you’ll never be able to use them all, check with your local library–they may happily take all you can spare. Another good option is the local food banks and homeless shelters. Keep a box of clean plastic bags in your gift wrap center to use instead of tissue paper when stuffing for protection around items in a box. Also good to use when mailing parcels. Not only is it one way to do something useful with these bags, it also saves on wasting tissue paper.

These quick tips were previously published on Tipnut as single tips, they’ve been moved to this page for better organization and convenience. Any bookmarks you may have had will automatically forward to this page.

The comments below are timestamped earlier than the post date since they have been moved from the original tip post to here so they won’t be lost.

Related Posts


    • Eleanor Oster

    Since the soap we use (Dial) is fairly flat, with an indentation on the biggest side, when one bar is almost gone, I grab a new bar, lather with it a bit, and stick the old bar in the concave spot. Use it a couple of times and the two pieces glue themselves together quite well.

    • TipNut

    Eleanor great idea, I never thought of that!

    • Mary

    Instead of draining the water, why not add a load laundry and soap doing your ‘cold water’ wash.

    If you still must ‘drain’ the washer use the water for plants or ice paks.

    • Red Clover

    I also save my shredded paper (I have a personal sized shredder)in garbage bags. Most of what I pack for shipping in boxes goes to family so this is a cheap, easy way to re-use the paper and also limit my “identity” exposure since my family lives in a different country.

    • Cricket

    And since most hillbillies have a non-working washer outside in the yard somewhere, it’s even extra super-convenient!

    • Sara Mastrangelo

    This one is for all you sewers out there. Another great use for your leftover soap bar is using your leftover soap to mark your fabric.

    • ilsesthings

    i love your tip, Sara! i was just trying to find my magic pen, and this allows for me not to have to go buy one (for a looong time)!! 😀

    • Katlyn

    This reminds me of this other brand of soap thats pre-bagged, but the outer layer rips VERY easily. This is probbably a better idea.

    • Emily

    I have tried the Coca-Cola treatment. It never worked for me.

    • Rae Baz

    You can also use it to make appliqué backing to hold fabric in place using the same technique. Place the fabric you want to cut your appliqué from, place it face down then put the plastic bag or wrap over it. Making it smaller then the fabric. Then put a piece of wax paper on top to cove the fabric so not to get plastic stuck to the iron. Press until sealed, let cool then pull off the wax paper and cut out the shape you want to appliqué. Place the shape where you want it to be sewn and press it in place. Then stitch around it.

    • Vickie Harris

    I was looking on this web site a few weeks ago and saw a tip for crocheting a grocery bag out of the plastic bags from the grocery store, but now I’m having a hard time finding it. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Allison

    I use my shredded papers to line the bird cage; the seeds and feathers get stuck in it and really cuts down on the stuff that ends up on my floor. And there is no way anyone’s going to be able to read anything after that 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *