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Now Here’s a Tip

by JoAnn Derson

• Before removing a splinter, ice the area. There will be less fussing, and a wooden splinter might absorb some liquid, causing it to swell enough to pop out a bit more.

• I used the mileage counter in my car to come up with several 2-mile routes for walking. Now I can vary my routine and be assured that I’ve walked 2 miles, which is my goal. I just drive from my house until I hit a mile on the trip odometer, and then I walk to that spot and back. ~ I.L. in Nevada

• Use a tea infuser ball for aromatherapy. Apply several drops of essential oils to a cotton ball and place it inside the infuser basket. Then simply hang it to distribute the scent. You can hang it from a light bulb or even in front of the air handler for your air conditioning or heating intake.

• “If you’re looking to give yourself a bit of traction on icy sidewalks, be careful what you use. While kitty litter is a much-recommended solution, when it melts, you’re left with a slippery pile of clay. Salt can de-ice a sidewalk, but it definitely will kill plants, so be precise, and don’t use too much of either. I carry a baggie of sand in my bag and keep a small bucket for the steps. It’s not perfect, but it works.” ~ T. in Pennsylvania

• “The knob came off my pot lid because it cracked. I grabbed a wine cork and threaded it on the screw. It stays in place and is never hot when I need to remove the top. Plus it looks cute.” ~ E.T. in Alabama

• To extend the shelf life of your bunch of bananas, try wrapping the stem tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. They also can be kept in the refrigerator if you don’t mind cold bananas, like when you are slicing them into cereal or using them in a smoothie. The skins may brown, but the inside will not over-ripen to match.

• “If you have extra books hanging around, why not contact your local nursing homes to see if anyone would like some new reading material?” ~ T. in South Carolina

• H.W. in Massachusetts writes: I use a bathroom chair in my tub and always wash the exterior. One day, a tip came off one of the legs and when I turned it over to replace it, I was horrified to see black mold underneath. I sprayed it with cleaner and it cleaned up perfectly. Please offer this tip to my fellow senior citizens. Mold is really bad.

• Energy saving tip for the kitchen: Use pots and pans that are the correct size for the burner. There’s no sense in using the big burner for a small pot, and a small burner will have to work twice as long to heat up a large pot of water. Also make sure your pots are flat (not warped) and clean, so heat can transfer more efficiently.

• It’s tax season and that means paper season. If you don’t happen to have a rubber finger cover to help you leaf through papers quickly, you can always wrap a rubber band around your fingertip to offer a bit of resistance. It’s better than licking your finger! ~R. in Indiana

• If you enjoy puzzles and board games but like to keep them in their original cardboard boxes, be sure to reinforce corners with strong clear tape BEFORE they start to crack and fall apart. Use hook and loop tape to secure bags inside the box cover so that game pieces will stay with the game. There’s nothing worse than pulling out a game to find that some pieces have slipped out.

• This might not be revolutionary, but if you put a tennis ball into a long sock and knot the sock, your dog will really like it. If they play with it outside, you can even put it right into the wash. ~ K.R. in Alabama

• Remove the neck end of a soda bottle to create a disposable funnel. Use a 2-liter bottle for a large funnel and individual drink size for smaller ones. Rinse and recycle both parts when you are finished.

• Baking soda can be used as a mild abrasive to clean, but it also can help clean your teeth. Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on your toothbrush weekly to give your pearly whites a polish between professional cleanings.

• Tuck fabric softener sheets in your luggage. You can use them to combat static cling or freshen the air by placing one over the air conditioner vent. It will keep your suitcase fresh-smelling between uses, too. 

• Have houseplants with dusty leaves? Grab a banana and eat it and keep the skin. Use the skin to clean the leaves. The dust will stick right to it, and the juice is healthy for the plants.

• Keep your plastic wrap in the fridge. A lot of people find it much more cooperative and easier to use when it is cold.

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