Cleaning ceiling fans: Wipe your fan blades with a cloth dampened with white vinegar to cut through the grease and dirt (this really works).

I also had a reader tell me she used this same solution on the grid that covers her furnace outlet as it was really dusty after winter. She said she wiped it down and then took a little blade and ran the rag along all of the little openings. It cleaned it like new, and they didn’t have to take the grid out of the wall to clean it.

Wood cleaner and polish: Mix 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well. Spray onto a microfiber or flannel cloth and wipe away on your wooden furniture pieces. The vinegar or lemon juice cleans the wood and the oil will lubricate it.

(This is a good cleaner, especially for those with small children. There is absolutely nothing in this that will hurt a child and it works!)

Save a scouring pad: I like to use the soap filled scouring pads, but they rust almost immediately! Then I was told to put the scouring pad on a plastic mesh scrubber—it will dry instead of rust and can be used over and over again.

Safety pin holder: I make quilts and use a whipped topping bowl to contain my safety pins. I cut a cross about 2 inches long in the top of the lid. It makes it easy to put the pins in as I get an area quilted and they don’t spill as I move the quilt around. I also use it to stick the needles in when I have to do other things. When I am done with the quilt, the bowl stores my safety pins until the next time and the needles get put in the pin cushion.

Fishing hint: A reader writes he puts used coffee grounds in a small plastic container and when he gathers worms for fishing, they go in the coffee grounds as they stay cleaner than in plain dirt and they seem to like the coffee grounds. (Haven’t tried this one as I don’t fish.)

Clever picture frames: My grandkids brought me their latest school pictures from last fall and they had made the frames in a craft class. They used clear tape to put the pictures on some really heavy tag board and then glued colorful wooden pencils—some sharpened, some not—around the edges for the frame. They used the glue on hangers found at a dollar store and glued them to the back of the tag board. I thought it was a cute idea and too good not to share.

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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