Send PennyWise a Hint or Idea

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543; or email them to pennywise@goldenwest.net. 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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Storing wool rugs—Summer is here and those of you that have wool rugs are looking for a safe way to store them. This hint was sent in by a subscriber who says she’s used this idea for years and it works for them. Read more

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New baby gift wrap: When you welcome a new “little” into the family, here’s an idea for wrapping the gift. Instead of fancy paper which gets ripped and tossed away, use a small baby blanket or even a burp towel to wrap the gift in. Use a few big pins to hold a couple of rattles on—right where the blanket comes together. Read more

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Sick crud cleaner: This is the time of year when kids and adults pass flu, cold and crud germs around like candy. Sometimes, upset stomachs are the result and then vomiting will happen. The stench can be awful—even for those with a strong stomach (which I don’t possess). Read more

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Plant watering idea: My grandma taught me to put half of a wet sponge in the bottom of the flower pots when I repot for winter. The sponge absorbs the extra water and the plant can drink it instead of it running out of the pot and you don’t need to water quite so often. Read more

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Emergency fire extinguisher—A reader wrote: We do a lot of outdoor cooking with our charcoal barbecue grill and I have a metal bucket to put the coals in once we are done cooking, but to be on the safe side we have homemade fire extinguishers handy. We take 1/2 cup of plain baking soda and mix it with 1 gallon of warm water and set it close by. I’ve been told that this particular mixture is equal to 80 gallons of plain water in a fire situation (don’t know if it’s true or not). Read more

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Bugs in the cupboards—If you find some of those little worms or flies/bugs crawling around inside a box of cereal or a bag of flour—you have weevils. These items will need to be tossed, and then clean and scrub out the cupboard they are stored in. Freeze any flour-type item for at least 24 hours before putting them in the cleaned cupboard and I take some dried bay leaves and put them on the bottoms of the cupboard shelves, lay on a sheet of paper and then store my dry goods. The bugs don… Read more

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Fire ant killer—Mix 2 ounces orange oil, 2 ounces blue dish soap and 1 gallon of water together and pour down the fire ant hills. This combination will kill the ants and not hurt the ground. Read more

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Cheap dirt mover—I have trouble carrying a lot of dirt in a bucket or even carrying a load of weeds from the corner to where I can dispose of them. But I have discovered a much easier way to move “stuff.” I took an old ripped shower curtain out to the flower bed and put all the old dried stems, etc., from last year’s growth on it and dragged it to the compost heap. It was a lot easier than carrying that heavy bucket. Then, I used the same shower curtain to move some of the compost to the… Read more

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Towel gift wrap—A subscriber writes: For a wedding gift wrapping try using towels. Bath towels and washrags will cover a good sized gift and dish towels are also a wonderful wrapping idea. I wrap my gift in a couple of dish towels and then use an oven mitt and some measuring spoons as the ribbon and tag holder. I watch for those “once a year” sales and pick up the towels for up to 70 percent off. Read more

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Painting hint: I am a terrible slob when I get to painting and end up with enough paint on my hands to cover part of the wall. Until a friend showed up one day when I was painting the kitchen and she noticed my hands and arms. She said to put hand lotion all over my hands and arms before I start to paint. The paint won’t soak into my skin and it is a lot easier to just rinse off. Read more

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Use it all: A reader wrote—I’m saving the spilled grain that lands in the yard as the guys fill the drills for seeding the summer crops. I’m going to save it for this winter to fill bird feeders instead of buying bird seed at the stores. I am using old 1-gallon milk jugs and only putting in grain that has spilled from the shovels filling the drills. I am also saving all of my bacon grease in plastic containers and freezing it (marking it well). I intend to use the bacon fat instead of su… Read more

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Shop helpers: Save those big gallon plus plastic laundry detergent jugs. Wash them well and then dry. Set in the farm/ranch shop, they are ideal to haul oil to farm machinery. Saves time by not having to return to the shop to refill. Read more

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Slip saver: Keep a plastic milk jug of kitty litter by the front and back doors. It’s a given when it snows or you have a freezing rain that someone could fall and get badly hurt. The kitty litter is just clay and won’t eat up the sidewalk or kill the grass like salt does. Read more

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Home made cleaners: We were warned by a friend who has a motor home that the chemicals in the septic system of an RV cannot be mixed with any kind of bleach because it forms chlorine gas, also known as mustard gas, and it can kill if breathed in. They had a sewer leak that got into some carpet and were trying to clean and disinfect the flooring. There are other kinds of cleaners that will not react in this manner. Read more

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Save aluminum foil: A reader shared this idea. They have a community gathering and of course there is always some kind of a treat to serve and they come in covered with foil, which gets discarded at the end of the event. A lady who was visiting that evening said that one could revive the foil by putting the crumpled up stuff in a warm oven (after it’s shut off) and then rolling over it with a rolling pin. It will lie flat and can be reused more than once because it’s almost like a new pi… Read more

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Labor saver/time saver: My ceiling is quite tall and I have to use a big ladder to reach the ceiling and the tops of the walls over the windows. I was constantly having to crawl down and get my cleaning rags off of the floor because they wouldn’t stay put when I was moving the ladder from spot to spot. Read more

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Cleaning planters prevents mold and mildew: I often buy big clay flower pots at yard sales for way less than new price, but if there are any mold spores in the clay, it’s trouble when you repot your favorite plants. Read more

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Recycle those holey bath towels: A reader writes, “I take my old holey bath towels and cut out two mitten shapes (overly large) and zig-zag around the edges of them. I use these when I wash my car windows (lots of bug juice on them). The roughness of the terry cloth takes off all the ‘parts’ and leaves my windows nice and clean.” Read more

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Sand remover: If you are lucky enough to make a trip to a beach this summer and don’t want sand all over the inside of your shoes or your car, try sprinkling some plain talcum powder on your feet and then rub with an old towel just before putting on your shoes. No more sand in shoes and on the seats. Read more

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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. Read more

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