Share your random, minorly useful tips and tricks.

I know this has been done before, but it’s certainly time for another round. Folks, here’s your chance to share all of that random, minorly useful tips and tricks you’ve learned over the years.

I’ll start.

You know how when the ice cream starts to melt, it always drips out the bottom of the cone? Stick an upside-down chocolate chip in there first. It acts as a stopper.

I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem, but we bought a 13-gallon trashcan for the kitchen but found the bags kept falling into it because it was too deep. I took an box, cut a largish slit in the side, put the roll of bags inside it and put it in the bottom of the trashcan. It both created a false bottom so the trash didn’t yank the bag down, and made a handy way to dispense the bags when the full one was taken out to the garage can.

If you want to copy down some information from a non-computer source, like for instance a recipe in a book, and you happen to have a digital camera on you (many cellphones have such things built in), just take a picture of it. Hell of a lot faster than writing it down.

I have a secret burn cure. It is not medical advice, and may in fact be very harmful, but it hasn’t killed, maimed or scarred me yet.

I put neat lavender essential oil on minor burns. It clears them right up. I’ve had blistered fingers turn into nice little callouses that allowed me to go on with life without pain the next day. I’ve spilled a cup of tea all over my lap, leaving a bright red splotch from my knees to my navel, and have the whole thing disappear hours after putting the oil on, except for one tiny blistered part.

Just rinse the area in cold water for a while, then pat it dry and dab on some oil with a cotton ball or q-tip. Don’t lick your fingers afterward, yucky.

When I vacuum the dining room, I move the chairs out of the way when I clean under the table. Then, when I put them back, instead of returning them to their original locations, I put the chairs one place to the left of where they were originally, so that the chairs rotate one place clockwise every time I vacuum. I do that so that all the chairs get an equal amount of wear instead of one or two of them getting worn out while the others stay new. This is only useful advice if you have more chairs than people.

When forced to drag a protesting toddler who refuses to walk, it is better to grasp the upper arm than the hand. The child is thus held a little higher, therefore decreasing the amount of toddler that must drag on the ground, causing friction.

When crossing a road. Look both ways!

This works surprisingly well. One time I was at IKEA looking for a cabinet for a specific area of our house. Instead of fiddling around with making sketches of the pieces and writing down the measurements, I just took a picture of the item with my Palm, then the measurements/wood types on the tag so I could block out the appropriate-sized area on the floor when I got home and could see how it was going to affect the “flow” of the room. It’s also a lot easier to find stuff in the self-pick area this way.

Sounds like you’re giving medical advice to me and you’re right, it may be very harmful. Putting oil on burns is not a good idea. It makes things worse. Please don’t anyone do this.

It’s not medical advice. It’s something I do to myself. Like I said. There are lots of home remedies that people use and swear by that you could say the same thing about.

I find that laundry detergent, liquid or powdered, gets car grease off of your hands a lot faster than products like Fast Orange. You might want some hand lotion handy, as it tends to dry out your skin.

Got a cold, and the rims of your nostrils have that nasty “I blew my nose too many times” feeling? Just take a little Chap-Stick (or whatever you use on your lips), rub a bit on your finger, then apply it directly to the affected area.

When you open a bottle of soda and it starts to foam and spill over, do you run to the nearest sink? Reach for something absorbent? Here’s a better idea. Close the freakin’ bottle!. I don’t know how many times that happened to me before I figured it out.

Better yet, open it the tiniest little crack first to make sure it won’t foam and spill over, and then open it the rest of the way.

The scratchless cleaner they sell for smooth glass cooktops makes a great silver polish, and rinses off more cleanly than the paste polish.

If you’ve got hard gemstone rings (rubies, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, etc.) soak them in a little Tilex Soap Scum Remover for a few minutes, foam them up with an old soft toothbrush, rinse well, and they’ll sparkle like mad - a lot of the gunk that builds up in rings and dulls the stones is soap. DO NOT USE on semi-precious or soft stones such as pearls, opals, or turquoise.

Clean thrift store jeans and a Clorox bleach pen will keep a teenager happy for hours. Colored Sharpie markers are also good for decorating jeans but after decorating, run them in a hot dryer to set the ink before washing them again.

Put your cat’s litterbox inside a plastic trash bag (sideways) smoosh the bag down into the pan and add the litter. When it’s time to change the litter, grab the open end of the bag and pull it backwards over the litter.

Learn some keyboard shortcuts! Off the top of my head:

Ctrl-Z: undo
Ctrl-X: cut
Ctrl-C: copy
Ctrl-V: paste
Ctrl-B: bold
Ctrl-I: italic
Ctrl-L: left-justify
Ctrl-R: right-justify
Ctrl-arrows: move one word at a time, rather than one character at a time
Shift-arrows: select text
Ctrl-shift-arrows: select text one word at a time
Alt-F4: close window or shut down computer
Alt-tab(-tab-tab…): switch windows
[Windows]-M: minimize all windows

If you have Firefox, you should already know about Ctrl-T, Ctrl-tab, and Ctrl-W, among others.

When planning short driving trips, minimize left turns (or right turns if you’re in a drive-on-the-left country) to save time.

I can’t think of any tips at the moment (though I’m sure I’ll think of tons when I’m trying to fall asleep later) but I was hoping someone could offer a solution for getting deoderant stains off of t-shirts. I’ve had to throw away some of my husband’s otherwise decent work shirts because I couldn’t get the waxy white stuff to wash out.

The easiest way to remove oil stains from when your car leaks in the garage/driveway is to use powder detergent. Pour some on and an a little water, just enough to make a paste. Scrub for a few minutes and use an old broom to sweep up the residue.

Carry a section of aluminium cleaning rod while shooting single shot shotguns like Harrington&Richardson and New England Firearms makes. If by chance a fired round gets stuck in the chamber and the automatic ejector won’t eject it, then drop the segment of cleaning rod down the barrel, and it will pop the shell right out.


Windows Key + E = opens Windows Explorer
Also, at work I have added keyboard shortcuts for commonly used programs. In the Start Menu, Right-click on the program icon and select Properties, click in the Shortcut Key box, and type in your shortcut (I try to pick something that isn’t already assigned as a shortcut Windows). Some of the ones I have are:

Ctrl + Alt + E = opens Excel
Ctrl + Alt + W = opens Word
Ctrl + Alt + O = opens Outlook
you get the idea…

Also, there’s a few files that I always have to have open during the workday, so in the Control Panel -> Scheduled Tasks, I made it so those files automatically open when I log onto the computer in the morning.

This one is pretty apparent, but maybe some of you don’t do it. When you’re making KD or Hamburger Helper or something that you need to add water to, use the hottest possible tap water. Better yet, microwave it up before you add it.

Yuckky toilet? Pour a can of Coke or Pepsi in there and leave it overnight. Flush it the next day, and it will be spic ‘n’ span!

Use old newspaper with Windex (or vinegar and water) to clean smudge-free without any fibres left behind.

WD-40 or lighter fluid will take stickers off of anything.

I think I got this one from another thread like this, but it works so well, I have to share it again:
To make vacuuming up pet hair easier, put a tablespoon or two of liquid fabric softener into a spray bottle full of water. Shake well, then lightly mist furniture and carpet with the mixture before vacuuming. Pet hair comes up so much better and also does not cling to the furniture as much in between vacuumings. Added bonus: Light clean scent!
Much thanks to whoever posted this tip before!

Another one I’ve probably shared before:
I organize all of my holiday wrapping paper, scissors, tape and bows by placing them in a garment bag hanging in my spare closet. The rolls of paper fit in nicely and there are all sorts of pockets for the scissors etc. It keeps everything in one place and out of the way.