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Everyday Cheapskate: 9 Random Time- and Money-Saving Household Tips

Mary Hunt on

From frozen key locks to hazy headlight covers, today I have a handful of completely unrelated household tips to entertain and make your life a little easier. Enjoy!

ORGANIZE HOUSEHOLD SUPPLIES. Use an over-the-door hanging shoe rack with clear vinyl pockets to organize and store cleaning supplies, with one item per pocket. This gets them up and out of the reach of children. But even better, now you can actually see what you have.

OPEN BLISTER PACKS. Use a manual can opener to open blister packs that take the strength of a muscle man to break into. The can opener will make a neat and safe cut to open the package so you can retrieve its contents and not slice your fingers in the process.

REMOVE HEADLIGHT HAZE. Have your car's headlight covers become hazy? You could spend a lot of money on a commercial product to remove that haze, or you could grab some toothpaste and a soft cloth. Apply the toothpaste, and vigorously rub it over the entire hazy cover. Wipe off the toothpaste with a clean rag. Look at that! Completely restored to clear and bright. Toothpaste is an abrasive. You are essentially sanding away the haziness. If you have a lens protectant, you will be sanding this away as well, so you may want to replace it after doing this.

QUICK THAW. Don't use a match to heat a key to melt a frozen lock; that can damage the lock. A spritz or two of WD-40 will thaw and quickly loosen a frozen lock.

GOT WOOD BLINDS? Keep wood blinds looking like new with regular dusting using a dust wand or vacuum. But you also need to clean them from time to time. Here's how: Dampen a pair of socks with a small amount of water or furniture polish. Do not soak the socks with liquid, as too much can damage the blinds. (If you have unfinished wood blinds, do not use any water or polish; simply dust them clean.) Close the blinds, and place the socks on your hands like mittens. Wipe both sides of the blinds between your hands. Work on one small area at a time, turning the socks to a clean side as they get dirty.

KEY RING OPENER. Use a staple remover to save your fingernails when trying to add to your key ring.

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HIDE A SCRATCH. Rub a walnut (the meaty part, not the shell) over unsightly dings and scratches on chairs, tables and other items made of wood. The natural oil in the nut will darken the scratch and make it visually disappear!

WRAPPING-PAPER ROLL CLOSER. Cut open an empty toilet paper roll (one cut from top to bottom), and use it as a cuff to keep a roll of wrapping paper from unrolling.

CEILING FAN EASY CLEAN. You might not be able to see them, but lots of dust bunnies have congregated on the topsides of your ceiling fan blades. They are laden with thick dust. Even though there are all sorts of commercial tools you can buy to clean them, try this: Slide a pillowcase over each blade while wiping it clean. The dust goes in the pillowcase. Then repeat, using the same case until all blades are clean. When you're done, take the pillowcase outdoors and shake it to set those dust bunnies free!


Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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