My neighbor Carole sent me an email last month with ways to make my groceries last as long as possible. I’m not sure if she knew, but these are some of my favorites types of emails to get. Earlier this year, my mom sent one with a list of “life hacks.”

The thing I like most about lists like these is they make sense. They give me that “aha” moment again and again. They are always completely random, yet I always find at least a few things I can use. I’ve been keeping mental and written lists of my favorites for years. Here are some suggestions:


• Hold a nail in place with a clothespin to avoid hammering your fingers.

• Cut out the foot section of a pair of nylons and fill with dried flower heads. Tie the end and use as a floral sachet in drawers or in your car.


• Iron button-up shirts inside-out to get around buttons easily.

• Place your iPhone in a glass to amplify the speaker sound.

• Dry out wet shoes by stuffing them with newspaper. The paper will help them dry faster and also absorb any unwanted odor.

The same holds true for refrigerator drawers. Line them with newspaper to keep them dry and odor-free.

• Create portable first aid, battery and sewing kits using plastic shoe bins.


• Cut plenty of grape tomatoes at once using two plastic-container takeout lids.

Place the tomatoes in between the lids, with the rimmed sides touching. Press down on the top lid, and cut with a serrated knife in between.

• Keep the cut side of cheese from drying out by applying a bit of butter to it.

• Microwave a bowl of water for three minutes, then use the hot water to clean the inside of the microwave. Use caution, the water will be very hot.

• Remove stains from your wooden cutting board by squeezing half of a lemon over the top. Let the juice sit for half an hour, then rinse.