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14 Secret Sauce Tricks for Saving Your Sanity

Welcome, fellow OCDivas! Welcome also to all you aspiring OCDivas out there. If you're new to this blog series, you can catch yourself up here–or you can just dive straight in with these awesome organization tips from my cleaning lady turned kindred spirit and OCDiva blog contributor, Crystal. It's time to explore…

14 Secret Sauce Tricks for Saving Your Sanity

Did you ever find out something from a friend that just made your life a little bit easier?  Did you ever wonder why nobody tells us these things? Like it’s some sort of big secret that can’t be divulged to the general public?  Well, I am going to divulge a few of those “secrets” for you right here, right now.  Some of these I have known for years, and some of them I wish somebody WOULD HAVE told me years ago.  Either way, I hope some of these come in handy for you in your day to day life.

Here we go.

Household Happiness

#1. Shower Saver. Do you hate the rusty ring left in your shower by the bottom of your metal shaving cream can?  Do you hate trying to clean it off even more?  If you are sick of trying to save your shower from rust stains, then there’s a simple solution.  Put it upside down on its lid.  That’s right, just store it upside down.  No more ring, and the shaving cream still comes out perfectly all the way down to the last drop!

#2. Stealthy Stainless Steel Cleaner. Stainless steel cleaner, when not used on stainless steel, leaves a nice little shine.  That’s right, there is a stealthy little maneuver that stainless steel cleaner performs, and that is to leave a little bit of a shine on something other than stainless steel!  I like to use it for my rough, black, plastic kitchen items, such as my garbage can.  It starts to look a little dingy after many cleanings, so I put some stainless steel cleaner on a rag and wipe it over the rough, black plastic lid and it looks like new again!  I even used it as tire shine on my car tires one day when I ran out of the real stuff, and I have to say, it was a good substitute in a pinch!

#3. Toilet Magic. There is now a stone out there that is sold so you can clean your BBQ grill.  If you take a look at the package, it says that it is also safe on porcelain.  This makes it the perfect tool to get really tough stains out of your toilet! (They also sell this in another form, but it’s slightly harder to track down than the more popular grill stone.)  Put on a glove and use that “grill stone” to get even the toughest of stains, especially hard water stains, out of your toilet.  It removes stains that even bleach won’t take out!  Seriously an awesome way to keep your potty looking pretty.

#4. Less Dusting. Bagless vacuums are all the rage right now, and if you have one, I’m sure it will pick up the dirt just fine.  However, it will also ensure that your home is quite a bit dustier.  Using a vacuum with a bag will seal in the dust and dirt so much better that you will be able to dust about half as often (give or take a little.)  So if you really, really hate to dust your home, a bag vacuum will allow you to do so less frequently.  Too bad there’s no way to eliminate dust all together, but I’m certainly happy to do it less often.

Kid Care

#5. Baby Onesie 101. Did you ever notice how all baby onesies have the same design at the top? Okay, maybe not all of them but most of them.   This is absolutely intentional.  It allows the onesie to be folded DOWN to come off over baby’s butt in the event of a blowout.  No need to try to fold the accident up and get it over baby’s head like most parents do.  Just fold down and off it comes!  (Seriously, why is nobody making this common knowledge?)  If your onesie doesn’t have this design, it probably has some annoying buttons on the back. This is for the same reason.  To allow enough room to remove the onesie over baby’s butt.  Something I wish I would have known with my first child, and something I am definitely taking advantage of with my second.

#6. Not-So-Permanent Marker. Do you now, or did you ever, have a little one who wrote on the walls?  Permanent marker and crayon seem to be two of the most popular, and most difficult to remove, stains created by little ones.  There is a simple solution.  Get a damp rag and just add toothpaste.  Yes, I said toothpaste.  Regular old toothpaste is great for getting permanent marker and crayon off of hard surfaces.

#7. Getting Rid of Goo. Did you ever wonder how it’s possible to get gum or other sticky-ickys out of carpet?  There is an old-school way that most of us have forgotten about.  There are special goo-gone products out there just for such purposes and they do a fantastic job!  So next time your little one spits gum out on the floor, drops their glow in the dark ooze onto a rug, or the dog drags is some tree sap on his paws, just head to your nearest hardware store for some goo-gone and watch the magic happen.

#8. DVD Quick Fix. Looking for a way to fix scratched DVD’s without buying a repair kit?  Car wax.  If you have some around the house, it will remove minor scratches from DVD’s the same way it removes minor scratches from paint on cars.  Just a quick little way to use what you already have.

All About Animals

#9. Mouse (not) Trapped.  If you have never had a problem with mice, then that is wonderful news!  However, if you HAVE ever had to get rid of the furry little critters, it can be a pain.  There are three quick and easy things you can do to combat them at home without setting a bunch of traps and without calling in the professionals.  Mice hate three things that are easy to get your hands on.  You can block where they are coming in or open areas around pipes (like under the sinks) with brillo pads because they hate that steely stuff.  You can also use dryer sheets to block their areas because they hate these as well.  The last thing is peppermint spray.  Just a few drops of peppermint oil in a bottle full of water and you can spray it all over your garage, around the perimeter of your home, or anywhere else and they will not want to be near it.  It smells pretty good to so you don’t have to worry about a foul odor or chemical smell either!

#10. Dog De-skunking. For many dog owners, the horror of their dog getting skunked is all too real.  It’s a horrible smell and, it can require some work to get rid of.   The good news is that it won’t require TOO much work if you give the dog a nice bath with baking soda, dish soap, peroxide, and a little bit of water mixed together.  This will do the trick.  Especially if you do it right and make a paste out of it, rub it all over your dog and let it sit a couple minutes, then rinse it off.  All household items and no need to buy a special, expensive anti-skunk wash.

#11. De-skunking Your Dog’s Mouth. The other problem with you dog getting skunked is if your dog happens to get skunked in the mouth, as many of them seem to do.  Every time the dog drinks water, the smell returns.  Horrid, putrid, disgusting skunk smell coming out of your precious pooch’s mouth.  There is a solution for this too.  There is a product for dogs that goes into their water without changing the taste and it gets rid of the skunk smell within days!  Just head to your local pet store for some Tropiclean and soon after your pup’s breath will be stinky no more!

Plant Perfection

#12. Get Your Grow On. Do you have a natural green thumb?  If not, you are not alone.  There are those of us who can grow most anything, and those of us who should only own plants made out of plastic and vinyl.  For most of us though, it’s somewhere in the middle.  Have you ever thrown out a plant that was dying?  Or maybe you tried to save it after it started dying but you just weren’t able to do so.  There is a simple trick that will help to save many of your dying plants before they actually become dead.  All you need to do is trim off the parts that are ALREADY dead, and the plant will start to regenerate.  Even a plant that is more than half dead can be saved by trimming off the dead leaves and limbs to make room for new ones to grow.  So simple, isn’t it?

#13. Ornery Orchids.  Have you ever wondered how people keep their beautiful orchids alive?  They can be quite tricky.  Now it is true that they have come out with the new ice cube method that helps keep them alive longer for many people.  Put 3 ice cubes in once a week, and that’s it.  These can definitely be easier to keep alive longer, but what if you want to keep your orchid alive and it’s NOT one of these new ice cube set-ups?  What if you want it to bloom twice a year and grow in size?  Then you have come to the right place.  There is a fairly simple way to keep your orchids alive, have them bloom twice a year, and even have them grow larger and larger.  You need to use room temperature water and really soak the orchid once a week.  The trick is to make sure you do not get water in the leaves and make sure it drains ALL THE WAY OUT!  Orchids drown very easily and they DO NOT like water sitting in their leaves.  The other thing you need to do is clip the stem above the bottom notch once all the blooms fall off each time.  This will allow the orchid to regrow and rebloom, and they typically bloom twice a year when cared for the right way.  Last, orchids love sun but not direct sunlight.  If you have a window that gets many hours of sun, but not directly shining in the window, your orchid will be happy as can be!  Usually a north or south facing window will be the best place for your orchid to call home.

#14. Pretty Poinsettia. Another plant that people seem to have trouble with the good old Poinsettia, which is very popular around Christmas time.  Everyone seems to give and get these as presents around the holidays, and by January everyone is throwing them out!  These plants do not just die after the holidays.  People thinks they are goners once the flowers start falling off, but this is not true.  If you continue to water the plant regularly and trim off the dead leaves, it will continue to live.  Once all the flowers have fallen off, the trick with these particular plants is to put them in a dark closet for 6 months.  After that, they will bloom again!  A little known secret that many people are apparently not in on.  If you are reading this, you are now in on the secret!

I hope you find at least some of these tips useful.  I know I have, and I am happy to put this information out there for anyone else who may be able to use it.

Crystal's Headshot

Crystal is a mother, wife, animal lover, and detailed cleaner. She loves gardening, wine, silly picture socks, and dressing in themed costumes for Halloween with the whole family. Connect with her on the Top of the Fridge Cleaning Facebook page!

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