Recycle used coffee and filters: A reader writes, “I save and dry my coffee grounds and put them in the compost heap to help lighten up the soil, and I recycle the coffee filter by rinsing it off and letting it dry. Then we use it to cover the holes in the bottom of those plastic and clay pots we all put our flowers/plants into. The filter keeps the soil from sifting out of the bottom.”

Collar cleaner: A reader wrote that her grandmother scolded her for buying expensive crud removers for shirt collars. The elderly woman just went and got some plain white chalk from the toy box and proceeded to put a heavy layer of chalk over the ring around the collar and the cuffs. She let it sit overnight and washed the garments. The chalk is dry and will absorb the body oils and dirt from the cloth and then the washer can do its job.

Toy time for tots: When you have to take a small child on an auto trip of any length, tie some of their favorite toys to the car seat so they can’t fall on the floor. The toddler can pull the toy back up again to play with it or a sibling can pull it up and hand it to the little one without having to get out of the car seat.

Grout remover hint: If one of your spring projects is to replace the grout around the tiles in your bathroom, try using a beer opener to remove the old grout. The gentleman says to use the pointy end to scratch the old grout from between the tiles, being careful not to damage them. Then you can just add the new grout. He also recommends you use a spray bottle of liquid silicone sealer on the new grout once it has dried. It makes the grout more resistant to water.

Bean poles: My grandfather used to use those bamboo fishing poles for his climbing beans. Then he decided to use the big sunflower plants instead. We kids really enjoyed the flowers as well as the beans!

Baking hint: When making apple pies, if you put half of the apples in and then the sugar and spices and then the last half of the apples, it won’t run over when baked. If something does run over in the oven, just toss in a good handful of baking soda—it will loosen the gunk and can be wiped out when the oven is cool again.

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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