My sister Lois lives in Chicago and always seems to have the perfect remedy for those little household emergencies.  While I was speaking with her the other day I casually asked how she would remove an indentation from a carpet that’s had a sofa sitting on it for 5 years.  “Simple” she said, (I knew she would say that) “…just iron it out with a steam iron.”  Sure enough, no more indentation.  In fact her solution worked so well that I became quiet adventuresome about rearranging the entire living room.

So here are a few more household tips handed down from my sister, mother and other sagacious sources:

How does a 95 pound woman who lives alone rearrange her furniture without throwing her back out?  By using milk cartons of course.  Just place a crushed milk carton under the legs of the piece of furniture to be moved (even big beds) and the carton will create a sled effect.

Pizza cutters aren’t just for cutting pizza you know.  They’re also great for trimming bread crusts, cutting up French toast, pancakes and spaghetti for children.  They can also loosen sticky or painted shut sash windows and for those who sew (I prefer knitting myself) because they can be used for tracing a sewing pattern as the seamstress cuts the fabric.

Hair dryers also have numerous uses.  They can be used to dry salad greens (cool setting), removing old shelf paper from kitchen shelves and defrosting frozen pipes to clearing up diaper rash (no lie,) just use cool air to dry baby’s bottom between changes.

With gardening season upon us, we can have a much easier time cleaning up our garden tools by spraying them with cooking spray or vegetable oil before using them.  Vegetable oil can also be used on the inside of freezers; i.e. by spraying the inside of a freezer with a non-stick vegetable coating it will make it easier to remove any ice build up the next time you defrost.  Can’t find that can of WD-40?  No problem, just use Endust furniture cleaner, it has the same effect.

What do you do when you drop and lose a contact lens on a carpet?  Place a piece of nylon stocking or pantyhose over the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner and carefully vacuum the area.  The contact lens will be pulled into the stocking.

Next time you’re cleaning the microwave or the range, try using four tablespoons of baking soda mixed with a quart of warm water—it’s much safer than abrasives.

So you just had that special occasion and while cleaning up you notice candle wax on wood furniture.  To clean, first harden the wax with an ice cube then scrape away the wax with a knife.  Or suppose one of your guests left a cigarette burning and you have a burn mark on the piece of furniture.  First, gently scrape away the black stain with a small knife.  Then pain the cavity with clean nail polish.  Allow hardening, then repeat…apply as many coats as it takes to restore a level surface.

And what about those rings left by drinking glasses on wood furniture?  Try rubbing with plain white toothpaste (no gels please) and then polish with floor wax—it’s thicker and easier to work with than furniture was.  If the rings aren’t too old, you can rub with cigarette ash—ask a friend to save you some.

With the use of prescription drugs at an all-time high, hardly any of us don’t have a pill or two to take in the morning.  To make swallowing easier, take a small drink before putting the pill in your mouth.  Advance lubrication makes pill swallowing easier.  (For a really advanced technique in pill swallowing, place the capsule or pill as far back on your tongue as possible.)

A lady friend of mine has a jewelry box filled with various chains that were always tangled.  To keep chains from tangling in a jewelry box, try cutting a straw to half the length of the chain, then slip one end of the chain through the half-straw and fasten the catch.

And my personal favorite bromide is how to extricate skin caught in a zipper.  Remember the scene from “Something about Mary?”  Well, no need to call the fire department, just attack the problem with a small wire cutters (No jokes please.)  At the front of the glide is a bridge that holds its top to its bottom.  By snipping the bridge in two, the zipper falls apart, freeing the skin.  If you try to unzip, you may pinch the skin badly.

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