You can keep your bathroom mirror from fogging up by applying a thin coating of soap. Either squeeze some liquid soap onto a rag and rub it onto the mirror or scribble all over the mirror with a bar of soap and then rub that in. Shaving cream works, too. Your mirror should stay clear for at least four or five days. This technique also works with eyeglasses, which is great for those who get frustrated because their glasses fog up when they walk into a store while also wearing a face mask. And while you’re at it, apply this treatment to the inside of your vehicle’s windshield and windows to keep them from fogging up.
Keep costume jewelry from getting tarnished or rusty by placing a couple of pieces of chalk in the jewelry box.
When homeowners and renters want to keep the warm air from leaking out of their homes and apartments, they often use caulk to seal up the gaps around windows. But you wouldn’t want to caulk up the gaps that would keep you from opening windows on warm days. That’s when you use rope caulk. Rope caulk comes in 1/8-inch-width, 90-foot-long rolls that you can slowly unravel. Break off as much as you need, and push it along the gap; for wider gaps, you can fold a piece of rope caulk against itself and twist to make a thicker rope. On a warm day, you can carefully pry it away with an old knife—and because it’s like cookie dough, it can be rolled between your fingers, reshaped, and reused. Lowe’s carries a gray-colored rope caulk, and Home Depot carries a wood-tint rope caulk. Click here for Lowe’s and click here for Home Depot; each costs under $8.
It’s not too late to weatherproof your entry doors. There are several types—adhesive foam, adjustable brush-type that can be attached to the bottom of the door, and rubber gasket type. Visit any home-improvement or hardware store; you’ll have lots to choose from.
If you hate scraping the ice off your windshield in the morning, try ice-proofing the glass with vinegar. Make a solution of three parts vinegar and one part water, and then pour the mix into a spray bottle. The acid in the vinegar is the key ingredient, and if you spray your windshield right before going to bed, you can keep nighttime precipitation from freezing. If you forget, then you can still spray this solution onto your frost-covered windshield to remove the ice a bit easier in the morning.
If you’re renting out a storage space, stop by and sprinkle mothballs or mothball flakes around inside the storage unit. During the winter, spiders and other critters are looking for a new home, but they usually avoid places that smell like mothballs.
It never hurts to have plastic grocery bags on hand for emergencies. (While driving down the street, I once saw a woman running around picking her groceries up off the ground after her bag burst. I was able to pull over, grab a few bags from the glove compartment, and help corral the groceries.) Take an extra grocery bag, flatten it out and fold it length-wise into a one narrow strip. Then, starting at one end, make a triangle by pulling the top corner to the side edge. Continue folding the bag like this, over and over, the same way the military folds the American flag. A bunch of these folded-up grocery bags can be slipped into a ziplock bag for neat storage.
Don’t you hate scratching at a roll of tape while trying to find the end (especially when wrapping presents)? Next time, fold down the end of the tape 1/4-inch and stick the tape to itself so you can find the end more easily and quickly.
Soup is really popular this time of year. You can make it individual servings available superquick by preparing a batch, pouring it into a muffin tin, and sticking it in the freezer. When you need a quick bowl, pop out a serving and warm it on the stove or microwave.
It might not snow here this winter—at least it hasn’t yet. But if it does, grab your shovel and keep it by the door so you won’t have to trudge through the snow to the shed in search of it later. Right before you do use your shovel, spray it, front and back, with cooking oil or lubricating oil (like WD-40). Snow won’t stick to the surface, which should make your job a little easier.
If you have superdry skin, and winter weather is making it even dryer, get your hands on some glycerin. Liquid glycerin can be found at drugstores and variety stores for around $5 or $6. Add some to your favorite lotion and you’ll notice its soothing and moisture-retention properties. Another thing you can do is to apply lotion as soon as you exit the shower or bathtub. After applying the lotion, gently pat yourself dry. Your skin will benefit from the extra moisture and you’ll feel more comfortable and less itchy.
Another way to deal with dry skin is to add a half-cup of baking soda to your bathwater, followed by rubbing in a generous amount of moisturizing lotion when you step out of the tub. If this doesn’t work for you because you prefer showers, rub on some mineral or baby oil after your shower. Then pat yourself dry gently with your bath towel. Buy a generic, no-name brand—they’re all pretty much the same.
Your kitchen might have extra activity this time of year. Every now and then, pour a cup of salt down the kitchen drain, followed by a cup of baking soda and a teakettle full of boiling water. This is a good way to keep your drains clear.
Tired of your TV remote somehow getting peanut butter or chocolate all over it? Clean it and slip it into a ziplock plastic bag. The remote will still work from inside the bag while staying nice and clean.
Keep a blackboard eraser in the car to quickly wipe down the windows when they get fogged up.
If you’re washing dishes by hand, add a splash of vinegar to the dishwater to help cut the grease.