Read these 70 Household Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Thrifty tips and hundreds of other topics.
Using one part white vinegar to four parts hot water, pour the mixture on a carpet stain. Take several white paper towels folding them over each other and lay them over the area, then press with a hot iron. (You will want to work on small areas at a time -- at least no bigger than your paper towels.) The vinegar and heat will lift the dye out of the carpet and into the paper towel. Your paper towels will turn the color of the dye you are lifting out so you can SEE it working. Keep pouring the cleaner on the areas and change your towels when soiled. Just keep this process up until your paper towels are no longer turning color. This method works for Kool Aid & other impossible to get rid of stains.
Why buy expensive cleaning products when you can get the same results using ingredients you already have at home? For a cheap way to remove mildew, dilute 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gal of water. Apply to tile and grout and scrub; wipe shower stall and curtain; rinse thoroughly.
You can get free bark mulch from your sanitation or public works departments, which recycles yard cuttings and organic debris. Also, companies that clear limbs around power lines often make wood chips and give them away rather than paying for disposal. Get the number from your utility bill or call a local tree trimmer.
It is possible to clean the VCR and save a trip to the repair shop. Unplug the VCR. Using a screwdriver, unscrew the screws and remove the cover from the top of your VCR. Use a can of "Compressed Air" to clean the dust out of the corners and take some rubbing alcohol and swab around the VCR heads, crevices that look dusty or anywhere gunk has built up. Replace cover.
Use 10% less of everything, from detergents to electricity! Use less laundry and dishwashing detergent, less shampoo and toothpaste, turn down your hot water heater 10% and adjust your thermostat by 10%. You can even extend the 10% rule to food. Serve smaller portions. Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds, anyway.
The easiest way to clean your shower curtains is to wash them in the washing machine using cold water. You can wash the shower curtain with other clothing, but make sure that they are similar colors, that you don't use bleach, and that you use cold water. DO NOT DRY IN THE DRYER. Hang them back up to let them air dry in the shower.
If weekend projects have you banging your head against the wall, take a break and visit handymanwire.com. Whether you're removing wallpaper or cleaning the carpet, this site's trained volunteer consultants are happy to lend a hand. Visit the extensive FAQ page or consult the Articles Index for a host of how-to guides. Still at a loss? Expert forums tackle even the most obscure do-it-yourself dilemmas head on.
The free Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak is filled with more than 50 tips to help you organize your home, your office and your life! http://www.getorganizednow.com/
All you need to do is enter your e-mail address, and they will send you these great tips in your mailbox!!!
Save plastic yogurt cups, take-out Chinese food soup containers, old plastic ice cream tubs, etc. and use them instead of purchasing expensive containers from the store. These containers work perfectly well in the freezer, fridge and basically anywhere you would use a storage container.
Having an answering machine may seem old-fashioned compared to voice mail, but it will save you money in the long run. It will cost more for the initial purchase of an answering machine, but when you add it all up, it will save you money. Also, listening to your messages from a machine instead of through voice mail, will save you minutes used on your phone bill. Double the savings!
To get to the last drop of an item, turn it upside down, and leave it there for a while - do this with shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, lotions, etc. Don't have time to wait? Use a new bottle a little bit, put a funnel in it, tip the other bottle upside down, leave it for a while, and then it should all go from the old bottle to the new bottle. Waste not, want not!
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Keep both a disposable and a non-disposable razor in your shower. You can just use the disposable one for under your arms and the non-disposable one for your legs. This way, you still get the smooth legs that you want, and you don't have to change the more expensive refill as quickly.
Why pay for a completed item when you can purchase the materials at a fraction of the cost and do it yourself? It's always cheaper to provide your own labor rather than pay for someone else to do it. If you find yourself facing a bit of a challenge, ask around to see if anyone you know has experience, or research tips and advice on the web.
If you have an old metal box fan, you should fix it up and use it in place of the air conditioner. Some of the old metal box fans can cool an entire room by themselves. If you don't have one, look around to see if you can find one. These are much better than the newer plastic fans. Using a fan instead of an air conditioner will help you save on your electric bill.
Need to remove some wallpaper, but you don't want to rent a steamer or spend the money on a professional solution? It will come off with lots of warm water. However, to make the job easier, mix a little fabric softener in with the water. Rip off the outer layer of the wallpaper, and then spray the wall with the solution. Wait a few minutes, and then wipe away the paper with plenty of damp towels.
Free Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Check out the Department of Energy Assistance's website to get more information about this program, and to see if your family qualifies. http://www.eren.doe.gov/buildings/weatherization_assistance/
Window, celing and whole-house fans use less electricity than central air conditioners, therefore, lowering your electric bill. It's also better for most people's health to have fans going and getting the fresh air from outside, than it is to breathe the air conditioned air.
Household leaks account for 13% of all home water usage. A single dripping faucet can waste up to 2700 gallons a year. Toilet leaks are part of this percentage as well. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the color seeps into the bowl, then you have a leak.
Learn to do your own maintenance and repairs on your house instead paying someone else to do them. There are plenty of books out there on how to. If you're not that handy, see if your local vocational school or college does this type of work and see if they would do it - still cheaper than a regular contractor.
Make a list of jobs you can do in 15 minutes or less. These jobs can be single chores or a portion of a larger job. The idea of doing this is that you're more likely to find yourself with an extra 15 minutes than an extra day or even a couple of hours. When you do have a bit of time, get out your list and choose a job. You'll make steady progress this way and feel good about getting a start on some of the projects that seem overwhelming to you.
The next time that you go shopping, you may want to check the prices of what your shampoo and conditioner costs versus a two-in-one shampoo conditioner. Depending on the brands, you might be able to save some money buying the two-in-one. You can also save time in the shower, as an added benefit, which will cut down on your hot water costs and your water bill.
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Check with stores to find out if they have leftover scrap materials you can buy (or better yet, have for free). Lumber, plexiglass, photo mats, leather, canvas, paper, etc. The possibilities are endless. Any place that produces a product also produced leftovers but because they don't think of them as useful, you might not find out about them unless you ask.
Replacing or repairing a hardwood floor can be very expensive, not to mention a real hassle. This is an easy test to find out if you need to refinish the floor to prevent major damage. Pour a tablespoon of water onto the floor. If your floor is properly sealed, the water will bead up immediately. If it soaks in after a few minutes, the floor is beginning to wear. If it soaks in immediately, you probably need to repair or replace the floor.
For homeschoolers, purchasing a scanner can be one of the thriftiest things you can buy. The money saved on purchasing workbooks alone make it worth its weight in gold. You can then scan those pages from library books or the neighbors books, that you need to save. A low cost flatbed scanner can often be had for under $50.00 with rebates.
Add A Little Sunlight to Your Home! Sunrooms, Patios, and Solariums not only add value to any home, they are a beautiful addition providing sunshine year round in a comfortable, often four season room. Receive a complementary Insider's Guide to Sunrooms. (US only). Go to http://tinyurl.com/22nm3 to get more information and the free guide!
At www.repairclinic.com you can access troubleshooting and repair information for many common household appliances, from refrigerators to washing machines. The site's "PartDetective" feature can help you determine which spare part is needed for repairs - and helps you order it.