• Need a twist tie in an emergency? Check your coffee bag. Many bean bags sold these days — from the grocery store and specialty roasters alike — come in a bag with a twist tie built in, so you can fold the bag down and retain freshness. If you really need one, you can pull the twist tie off and seal your grounds in a tin or a zipper-top baggie.
• Get to know your frozen veggies. There’s been a lot of emphasis in the past about fresh vegetables. While they’re great, it’s not always possible to get to the grocer’s or farmer’s market regularly. Frozen veggies often have the most vitamins because most are flash frozen right after harvest. You can find many varieties, and they’re easy to use in most recipes.
• New use for a favorite mug: “My friend gave me a coffee mug that’s adorable, but it’s not very nice in the microwave — it just gets too hot! I drink hot tea, and my mug is constantly in and out of the microwave. So, I use my gift mug to hold tea bags! It sits on my counter and holds enough packaged bags for a full week. And I can look at it and think of my friend.” — T.W. in South Carolina
• “To get the rubber tops of my son’s sneakers clean, and keep them that way, I use the melamine cleaning sponges, like the Magic Eraser. Just get it damp, rub off (most) grass stains and keep it handy.” — P.E. in Kentucky
• Gotta paint a door? Put a lag bolt into the top and bottom of the door, on the narrow. This way, the lag bolt rests on your sawhorses, and you can flip the door over to paint each side. No longer do you have to paint one side, let it dry ALL THE WAY and then flip it over, risking paint getting pulled off the edges.
• For long-lasting condiments, here’s a great practice: Write the date you open it on the jar or bottle. If there’s not a good place, try using a piece of tape. This way you can better track how long that ranch dressing has been lurking in your fridge, rather than relying on the date it’s good until.
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