Practical Tips for Everyday Living

practical tips buttonI’m starting a new feature here at Keeping the Castle, called “Practical Tips for Everyday Living“. I’ve been collecting these short tips for a while, and think this might be a good resource for many. They cover anything and everything about the house and garden.

If you look over on the sidebar, you’ll see a new link to a page where I’ll be posting the tips as I gather them.

For today’s installment, I have the following 5 tips to share with you:

Tip #1: General organization
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is every organizer’s mantra. I’ve learned to follow this rule as best as I can. Even if it’s just a shoebox to throw clutter into, as long as the clutter always goes into it, it keeps me fairly organized.

The inside of the shoebox doesn’t need to be neat. As long as I keep a lid on it, it will LOOK neat.

Tip #2: Bon Ami
This is the best thing I’ve found for cleaning crud off the stove top, without scratching the surface. I put a little water on the dirty stove top, sprinkle some Bon Ami and use a kitchen towel (not a scrubber or steel wool! this will scratch it!) to rub the Bon Ami into the crud. Wipe off all residue. Leaves the stove top shining!

Tip #3: Easy flower beds
A couple of years ago, we made new flower beds in our yard. Our soil is of the compact clay kind and it’s very hard to dig into it. I found this tip.

We outlined where we wanted the flower beds to be and then covered the existing grass with several layers of newspaper. We hosed that down with water and then covered everything with 2-3 inches of compost. After a couple of months, the newspaper and grass underneath had decomposed nicely into a soft fertile soil (thanks to the earthworms!). We were able to plant some annuals on the compost almost right after we made the bed, while waiting for nature to do its work. No digging on our part!

Tip #4: Wear gloves

I always wear gloves when I’m washing the dishes. It saves my hands from drying out and saves time. I don’t have to spend time washing and drying my hands after doing the dishes. When you have an active toddler who suddenly needs your attention, you wouldn’t want to have to stop for anything in order to attend to him. Just strip the gloves off and you’re ready to go.

Tip #5: Better chicken soup

To give more flavor and body to homemade chicken soup, use a can of chicken gravy instead of, or in addition to, chicken stock or water. Thanks to LD for this tip!

*** If you have any tips you’d like to share, send me an email (maricar-at-b5media-dot-com) or post it here in the comments section, and I’ll add it to the collection.

Happy housekeeping!

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