Egg carton organizer: Why buy plastic gadgets to organize your drawers—just use egg cartons! Rip off the lid and put your stuff in the little cups. Works good and is same as free. When it gets crappy looking, toss it and fix a new egg carton.

Fresh is best: If you store your lettuce and celery in a brown paper bag instead of the plastic, it will stay fresh longer. Leaving the outside leaves and stalks on the vegetables also helps them stay fresh longer.

New use for cat litter: If you have trouble with gophers and moles in your garden, dump some used cat litter down in the holes. They don’t like it and vacate in a hurry.

From Paula—I did try it and it does work! I had a gopher in my yard for the first time ever and dumped some down the hole. He moved over about 50 yards and dug another. I did the same thing again and it’s gone. Probably outside of the yard, but no more holes in the yard.

Scissors sharpening: A reader wrote in that she does a lot of sewing on canvas, denim, etc., and her scissors were continually at the hardware store getting them re-sharpened. Then a friend told her to just cut up some old aluminum foil that she had used to cover a dish in the refrigerator or even the oven (wipe it down good first) and then cut through it several times. Then, another friend told her to cut through some sandpaper several times, using the coarse grit to start with and going down to finer. She said she hasn’t had her scissors professionally sharped up since then.

Identify garden tools: A reader writes, I have a terrible time trying to keep track of my garden tools. I’ve lost/misplaced more than I care to count over the years. Then a friend showed me a simple trick to keep track. He paints the handles of his tools with neon orange, hot pink, bright blue, etc. He says the handles can be spotted in the grass before you hit them with the lawn mower.

Free yard bench: I was given an old door by a neighbor who is remodeling his house. Since there was nothing to sit on outdoors and I can’t swing the money to buy anything new, I painted the door with some leftover paint (had to mix a couple of cans to get enough) and then picked up some cement blocks down by the shed from an old building foundation and hauled them to the house. I set the blocks around in a square and set the door on top of them. It’s sort of a bench/play spot for my children. They can sit, lie or stand on the door, play a game with friends. There is room for six on the door (it’s a heavy bugger and won’t break) and they can’t pick it up and move it around the yard.

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543; or email them to If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a FREE copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention High Plains Journal when you write.

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