Quick Tips (16) – How to Safely Dispose of Plastic Bags

This tip is for homes with small children (or grandchildren). Although it doesn’t technically fall under the rubric of timesaving advice, I think it’s such a great home safety tip.

Whenever you have a plastic bag that needs to be disposed of, immediately tie it into knots so that no harm can come to small children before or after the bag reaches the trash can.




How to Organize Product Manuals, Warranties, and Receipts

Have you ever wasted an afternoon looking for a product manual or a receipt to prove your warranty is still in effect? Here is an easy way to get all those booklets and receipts organized and easily accessible.

Purchase a large three-ring binder notebook and a box of clear sheet protectors. Every time you purchase a new product for your home, immediately staple the receipt to the inside cover. Then place the booklet in a sheet protector and file it in the notebook. It’s helpful to alphabetize your manuals, but not absolutely necessary. Also, note the date you mailed in the warranty or registered the product online.

Any other important information, such as service records, can be filed with the product’s manual. Now you will have all pertinent information at your fingertips, which will save you lots of time in the future.




Time versus Task

I’m preaching to myself here. I look around at all the things that need to be done and wonder where I will ever find the time to do them. My problem is this: I’m thinking in the macro. In my mind, I figure this task will take at least 2 hours to complete and that task will take 4 hours, and I simply don’t have such large chunks of time available to me. Therefore. . .

That “therefore” can go two ways. Either “therefore, it will just have to go undone” or “therefore, I will have to tackle it a little at a time and eventually get it all done.” The latter is certainly the best choice and will be full of surprises when you actually develop that mindset.

Take laundry for example. Do you have a weekly laundry day? If you allow the laundry to pile up all week, what does the task look like at the end of the week? How do you feel when you look at that huge pile knowing what your day ahead is going to be like?

I adopted the philosophy when my children were small that one load at a time is easy, two is doable, but three or more is overwhelming, so one it is! As soon as there was enough clothing for one load, I quickly started the washer and went about my day. At my convenience I put the clean load in the dryer. I purchased baskets for each member of the family and put their clothing into the baskets right out of the dryer. By doing laundry “on the fly” so to speak, it was as if I never really did laundry.

Applying the micro approach to other time intensive tasks works just as well. Who says you have to complete every job to perfection in one fell swoop? So take a look around you and choose one large task upon which to focus. Set a time limit, say 10-15 minutes, and go at it. As soon as the time is up, stop and return to your normal routine. Do this every day and at the end of the week look at what you have accomplished.

Macro time is hard to find, but micro time is available to all of us. Begin small and start enjoying the rewards of accomplishment.



How to kill those pesky household germs the easy way

While sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office, I happened upon an article concerning germ levels in the average home. To my surprise, the article claimed that the bathroom shower hosted the most germs. Another area in the bathroom would have come to mind well before the shower, but according to these experts the shower proved the worst culprit.

I’m not sure where this “recipe” originated. A nurse may have given it to me years ago or maybe I found it in a book. Wherever it came from, it’s been a staple in my home for some time. First of all, both ingredients claim to kill a whopping number of germs. Second, it’s simple to make and can be used all over your home. I keep a spray bottle handy at all times.

I will give you the ingredients by percentage rather than a specific amount. I use an inexpensive spray bottle and eyeball the measurements since precision is not important. As with any household cleaner, wear gloves and use common sense precautionary measures found on the label of disinfectants.


20% Lemon Breeze Lysol Disinfectant
80% Isopropyl Alcohol

Just pour the ingredients into your spray bottle and shake.

Here are just a few ways that I use this mixture around my home:

  • As a shower spray – the entire shower gets sprayed after every use (also great for fighting hard water deposits, meaning you don’t have to clean your shower as often)
  • As a surface spray for countertops, sinks, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, toilet seats, door handles, trash cans (rinse countertops where food preparation takes place with water after applying)
  • As a floor cleaner for ceramic tile or vinyl flooring (spray lightly and damp mop)



Quick Tips (3) – How to nuke that sponge grunge


In the December issue of Journal of Environmental Health a study involving sponge germs revealed that a quick spin in the microwave left kitchen and bathroom sponges virtually germ-free.

Researchers concocted an awful mix of things we won’t mention here and then soaked their sponges in it. After 2 minutes at full power, 99 percent of germs were terminated. Four minutes were required for B. cereus spores, known to be tough little critters to kill.

Although most of us would never subject our sponges to the kinds of things the laboratory sponges fell victim to, our sponges do encounter pathogens all the same (eggs, meat, etc).

The method is simple and quick: wet your sponge and place it in the microwave at full power for 2-4 minutes. Do this every other day.