Helpful household tips

Slip saver: Keep a plastic milk jug of kitty litter by the front and back doors. It’s a given when it snows or you have a freezing rain that someone could fall and get badly hurt. The kitty litter is just clay and won’t eat up the sidewalk or kill the grass like salt does.

Shop helpers: Save those liquid laundry detergent jugs, wash and dry well and take to the shop. It makes it easy to transport bulk oil or even gasoline to farm tractors, loaders, etc. The lids are self-draining and leave no mess to drip.

Zap the germs: A reader from Montana writes: “An emergency room nurse shared this hint with me and we thought to share it. She says you can destroy all of those nasty germs on your toothbrushes by simply ‘zapping’ them for just one minute in the microwave. This way, they get sterilized but don’t melt. She does three or four at a time, a couple of times a week. She has children in school as well as two toddlers at home so is more than busy. She is a first-class penny pincher and figures it costs her 2 cents per week for all the family toothbrushes to be kept pretty well ‘germ free.’”

Bulk food storage: An Alabama reader writes, “I keep reading how we should keep some extra food on hand in case of storms or something, but how do I store it? If I buy an extra sack of sugar, the first thing I know, it’s ripped and sugar is all over the cupboard. Same with cereals or anything like that. Help!”

I shared that most of us “country folks” who live miles and miles from stores have relied on glass jars for storage for years. You could ask the owner/manager of a restaurant if they could save you some of their big heavy gallon glass jars (they have metal lids and last for years if taken care of). I also have several gallon plastic jars that I use to store rice, noodles, etc. and find that if you put one or two pieces of unwrapped spearmint chewing gum in the jars, the bugs don’t hatch. I use one piece for the half-gallon jars and haven’t had one bug since I started using the glass jars. The gum does not flavor the flour or sugar either. I do have neighbors who store rice, beans, flour and cornmeal in heavy plastic bags (doubled) and that works too.

Static buster: During the winter months, our homes are plagued with dry air because the heat is on all the time. Thus, static electricity will zap/shock you when you go to pick something up. The only way to fix it is to add some moisture to the air.

Grandma used to have a pan of water simmering on the back of the cook stove. Now we have those little simmer pots that can be filled with water and a few cloves, piece of cinnamon stick or other spice to scent the air.

Another “shock buster” is to put a few drops of liquid fabric softener to some water, put it in a spray bottle and spritz the carpets to cut down on static from stocking feet versus carpeting.

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, South Dakota 57543; or email them to [email protected]. If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a free copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention High Plains Journal when you write.