by Pat McNees (updated 9-5-22). Original publication 5-29-16.
aka Life Hacks for the Home and Office.
Final section, "Shopping Smartly"
Preferring books to housecleaning, I live in a messy apartment. But now I'm ready to act on tips I've been gathering (posted below) on how to upgrade my home, make my clothes last longer, detox my life, find a better credit card, tidy up the spaces guests are most likely to judge me on, handle a tax audit, clean the bottom of my iron, sanitize a sponge in the microwave, and so on. For example, thanks to Buzzfeed (61 Little Tips and Tweaks to Improve the Appearance of your Home), I've discovered dozens of practical tips, including How to
3. Hide my television wires in a shower curtain rod.
6. Add cheap framed mirrors to closet doors, painted to match.
19. Get the right-size rugs and learn how to place them.
• 10 Cleaning Myths and What to Do Instead (Mary Farrell, Consumer Reports, 7-6-18) A sample: Myth: Newspaper works the best for cleaning glass. Fact: Wet newspaper tears easily, and the ink can transfer to window trim, leaving more to clean. “We use microfiber cloths to clean glass,” says Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, a national franchise. “They’re the best at cleaning without streaking.”
• 42 Ways To Make Your Entire Home Cleaner Than It’s Ever Been (Natalie Brown, Buzzfeed, 6-24-16) Includes video tutorials (for example, on getting rid of gunk on stove burners). Examples:
18. Quickly dust your lampshades by running a lint roller over them.
20. Dust your TV screen with a coffee filter.
21. Wipe down all of your game consoles and other electronics with a microfiber cloth, then squirt with compressed air to get all the dust out of the crevices. I am going to experiment with #34.
Banish carpet stains without excessive scrubbing by using your iron.(After I watch the tutorial again.)
• 29 Clever Kitchen Cleaning Tips Every Clean Freak Needs To Know (Natalie Brown, Buzzfeed, 5-17-16)
2. Scrub the burnt bottoms of your pans with Bar Keeper's Friend to make them look new.
12. If you have blinds, use this tongs hack to get them clean in a jiffy.
20. How to store your groceries
• Tips for Washing Windows, Window Sills, & More by Ask Anna (Moseley)
• Cleaning Tips That Will Change Your Life (Huffington Post). To clean the bottom of your iron, sprinkle salt on the ironing board and iron back and forth.
• How to remove stains from kids' and men's clothes, including poop stains (Homemaker Chic) First, buy some Tide powder.
• How To Get a Porcelain Sink Clean and Remove Rust Stains Too! (Jess Kielman, Mom 4 Real). First, buy a lemon.
• How to Clean Fan Blades (without a Dusty Mess! (Homemaker Chic) First, find an old pillow case.
• How to Naturally Clean a Clogged Drain: The Definitive Guide (Bren Did blog, 8-5-19) Her website full of tips on green cleaning (e.g., How to Clean Oven Racks Naturally and 8 Homemade Natural Oven Cleaners Tested & Rated
• Eliminating odors in the microwave (The Frugal Life, Living Well With What You Have)
• Things you didn't know your microwave could do (BilliKomPk)
• Cleaning and laundry products (Great and unusual shopping, PatMcNees.com)
• 33 Meticulous Cleaning Tricks For The OCD Person Inside You (Peggy Wang, BuzzFeed, 9-18-12). I'm going to try this one: “Put two caps full of vanilla extract in a coffee cup, then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour. Within twenty minutes the whole house smells like Heaven.”
• How to Get Rid of Roaches (WikiHow) Five Methods: Deny Them Water and Food. Use Cockroach Baits. Use Insecticides. Use Traps. Prevent Reinfestation. Community Q&A.
• What not to throw in the trash or garbage (Pat McNees)
• Products for pest control (Great and unusual shopping. PatMcNees.com)
• 22 Borderline Genius Ways To Make Your Clothes Last Longer (Maitland Quitmeyer, Buzzfeed, 8-30-15) Love some of these: 2. Turn old pillowcases into garment bags to keep your off-season clothes looking fresh. 5. Freeze fuzzy sweaters to keep them from shedding everywhere. 7. Wash your jeans and other items you don’t want to fade inside out. 11. Hide bleach marks on black clothing with a sharpie.
• Tools & Products for the Great Outdoors (Family Handyman, a site worth following)
• 100 Home Improvement Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner (Nick Gerhardt, Family Handyman) Advanced hacks!
• The Gerber-Suspension NXT Multi-Tool is lightweight, though it has fifteen tool attachments, including needle-nose pliers, wire stripper, flathead driver, file, awl, ruler, can opener, scissors, and serrated blade. Attachments are easily retracted.
• 12 Space-Saving DIY Garage Organization Ideas (Family Handyman)
• How to Create a Home Spa Bathroom (Family Handyman) Remodeling your shower can give your bathroom the spa look. Replace the old showerhead with a rain shower head
• 40 Easy DIYs That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Home (Jessica Probus and Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed, 9-13-15) Read on!
• 27 Lifehacks For Your Tiny Kitchen (Natalie Brown, Buzzfeed, 5-9-13). These include:
Hang measuring cups on strips across inside of cupboard door or
11. Add a storage system on side of cabinet
12. Stick magnetic racks on side of fridge;
15. Fill awkward corner cabinets with pots and pans, using hooks or lazy susans;
16. Use an over-the-sink cutting board to temporarily expand your counter space;
18. "Command strips are basically the easiest and best route for attaching storage to the inside of your cabinets." (Command is a brand name and there are various kinds of strips.)
25. Even a narrow rolling cart can serve as extra storage (along the side of a cabinet)
27. Make your own corner drawers.
• Discovering Bonus Storage Space &m dash; Right In Your Own Home by Lois Breneman. Many more helpful articles on this site.
• This Is What Your Guests Notice Most About Your Home (Huffington Post)
• 32 Cheap And Easy Backyard Ideas That Are Borderline Genius (Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed, 4-24-13) Can’t afford that dream deck or in-ground pool you’re dying for? There are still ways to get a beautiful backyard that’s perfect for entertaining.
• 33 Ingenious Ways To Store Your Shoes (Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed, 4-11-13). These include: (1) beneath a bedskirt; (7) in stacked shoeboxes with printed instagram photos of shoe inside; (16) on stairs; (23) implement a slide-out shoe rack; (26) alternate shoes and fit more to a row. (These tips were not so satisfying but might inspire.)
• 9 Ways to Save Money at Bed Bath & Beyond (Huff Post 4-4-16)
• Buying drugs and procedures smartly, cheaply, safely (Pat McNees, comfortdying.com)
• Costco Secrets Revealed: Shop Smarter With These Savings Tips (Cameron Huddleston, GoBankingRates.com, 6-11-18) A slideshow. See in particular buying a cash card for a non-member.
• The Worst Things to Buy at Walmart and Target (Andrew DePietro, GoBankingRates, 4-26-18) Common theme: Buy Name Brand.
• 10 Sites for the Best Online Coupons (Terence Loose, GoBankingRates, 8-23-15)
• 9 Discounts Seniors Get Only If They Know
• Best and Worst Things to Buy Generic (Caroline Hailey, GoBankingRates.com, 7-14-16)
• How to Defend Yourself During a Tax Audit (Ruth Sarreal GoBankingRates, 4-8-16)
• Top 7 Credit Card Offers For Those With Excellent Credit (Tasha Lockyer, NextAdvisor, 11-6-13, updated 8-11-15)
• Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses (Tasha Lockyer, NextAdvisor, 9-14-15) With extremely generous rewards like a $500 intro bonus and up to 5% cash back, these cards are a great way to get rewarded for expenditures you're already making.
Have I missed any wonderful tips? Tell us about them! We lazy cleaners need all the help we can get.