Replace Your Vents

We've been talking lately about air filters and air ducts...
the whole 'clean air' thing.

But, what about the air vents themselves?

Look at your vents.  Yep, look at them.  You probably never do.

Are they old and painted over?

Here's a GREAT way to update a room:


See the picture?

Just buying new vents really improves the look of a room.

Just get white or colored ones to match your paint or

Go with stainless steel or 'brushed steel' to
give a more modern look!

You can find vents at any hardware store,
and for the brushed steel ones in the picture,
I went to a local 'commercial supplier' store
(where contractors go).
Each of these vents was $10, 
which at first you think is a bit expensive for an air vent,
For $10 + $10 = $20,
The Look of the Room 
A Whole Lot Better,
And 'Finished'!

** I first went to an upscale design store for stainless steel vents and quickly learned that the LEAST expensive steel vents they had were... $90 a piece,
needless to say,
I then started shopping around and found out that you should find a store that caters 
to contractors... Like I said above, I got the vents pictured for $10 a piece,
and frankly, I think they look better than the ones I saw in the 

Go forth-
And Change Those Vents!

You'll be surprised how much they improve the look of a room!

Clean Your Air Ducts

Like I said before, It's that Time of Year!

Have you gotten your Air Ducts Cleaned?

It's a good idea.  Indoor Air Pollution can affect your Health!

Having dust, mold, pollen, insect remains... and just more
DUST in your air vent/duct system,
can contribute to sinusitis, allergies and asthma...

So Here's the Good News-

There are good air duct cleaning services EVERYWHERE.  Just look online or in a phone book... or better yet- Ask Your Neighbors- Like I mentioned in my 'Tip On Gutter Replacement' Post- word of mouth is always the way to go :)  It's pretty reasonable too.  And, a lot of times, you can SEE the results, literally.
Some portable systems that companies use allow you to see what they've sucked out of your vents and ducts.
I got our ducts cleaned 2 years ago and the GUNK that came out was... well... disgusting.

Think about all the dust that can collect inside your home's air duct system- 24/7...
Yeah, when you start thinking about it that way, you want to get on the phone immediately and set up an appointment to get your air ducts cleaned.


According to the Air Duct Cleaning Professional that came and cleaned our ducts-
you don't need to do this every year,

Every 3 to 5 Years is a Good Rule to Follow!

Happy Breathing!

Replace Your Furnace Filters!

Purolator Products 20x25x1 Furnace Air Filter 12 Pack

It's Spring!  Time to check your furnace air filter!
If you don't do this on a regular basis,

I check my furnace filters once a month, and replace them either once a month,
or every 2 months, depending on how 'dirty' they are.

This is a simple, easy (and inexpensive) way to get 'cleaner' air circulating around your home!

To be totally honest, I usually just pick up a few furnace air filters at-a-time at my local grocery store...
for a couple of dollars a-piece;
with that said, a professional (who cleaned my home's Air Duct System) told me, in his opinion (and he wasn't selling me air filters), that you should spend a few more dollars on an air filter.  He told me you can get a great one at a hardware store for under $10.  I generally do this going into the winter months when the filters get more wear-and-tear...

You may want to experiment between the very inexpensive ones and the slightly-higher-priced ones,
and see which works best for your home...
because all homes are different: the AGE and Construction of your home will affect how much 'dirt'
you see in your filters.

Go take a look at them now!

ESPECIALLY if you have allergies!

Tip on Gutter Replacement

Everybody, just about Everywhere, is done with snow right now...
And it's Officially Spring!

After the massive blizzards, just last month, it's time to talk about Gutter Replacement and Gutter Fixing...

We lost our back gutter to Snow and Ice Dams, and our front gutter was very damaged, due to the same stuff.

We are lucky to have a Great Roofer, who, we came to find out, is also great at installing and replacing gutters...

So Here's Today's Tip:

1.  Ask Your Neighbors for a good 'gutter company', Ask Your Friends...
Word of Mouth is usually the best way to find a good contractor, etc.

2.  Gutters don't always have to be replaced!  Our 'Gutter Guy'
replaced the back gutter, because it had fallen off our house, 
but simply fixed/reformed the front gutter-
and it looks brand new!

So, In Summary:

Get A Trusted Contractor,
and don't assume your gutters need to be replaced,
bring up to your contractor the possibility
of remolding your existing gutter!

Good Luck and Happy Spring...


A Great Measuring Spoon

KitchenArt Pro Adjust-A-Tablespoon, Champagne Satin FinishHello HouseHold Tippers!

Today, a quick little tip about measuring spoons-

Get an adjustable one!  I have this exact one, and it adjusts from
1 tablespoon to 1/2 teaspoon.  You just move the black, movable bar-
and presto!
Why have all those measuring spoons in your drawer?!
My mother-in-law got me this as a 'stocking stuffer' and I love it!

Happy Measuring!

Great 'Recycling Paper' Tip

I did a post on my mom blog, BananaBlueberry
almost a year ago about recycling printer paper...
and I'm adding it to today!

Firstly, about a decade ago, when I started freelancing, I realized that I could re-use paper… umm, yeah!

So all my paper that had something on just 1 side
I put in this light blue box.  I kept using it and using it, recycling and recycling.  I put it in my printer whenever I was printing stuff out just for myself- rough drafts, articles to read, lists, etc.
Do You Know How Long It Took to Go Through That Paper Recycling Box-
And Have it Empty?
IT TOOK 10 YEARS!… What a difference Recycling Makes! 
And now for the 'updated' recycling printer paper tip:
* Many Sheets of Paper get sent home in my son's backpack- about bake sales, or projects, or the school play, etc.
They all just have print on 1 side!  So I put them in my printer, even if they are colored,
if I'm printing something out- just for me- it makes no difference...
It's even a little fun to read an article or instructions on a blue or yellow piece of paper!
This saves trees AND money :)

Happy HouseHolds!

Another Use for Toothbrushes-Clean Kitchen Floor Tiles

Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner with Bleach, 32 oz (Pack of 12)Since we've been talking about toothbrushes
as cleaning supplies lately,
I want to pass on another great tip!

Plain old dirt and stuff collects between kitchen tiles on the floor.
You probably don't even notice it until it gets pretty bad.
I notice it from time to time,
due to the fact I have 2 guys walking and running
around my house.

Here's the great 'quick tip'-

1st: spray your kitchen tiles with Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner Spray with Bleach.  
My mother-in-law recommended this, and it works great.

2nd: Use your old toothbrush that I told you to save and use as a cleaning tool
to scrub between the tiles.


It sounds like a lot of work, but it's not.
It goes very quickly!

And if you do it from time to time,
it'll never take that long :)


That was easy!

Cleaning 'Cleaning Supplies'

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE ANTISEPTIC SOLUTION 16 OZWe're ending our week here at HouseHold Tips Blog,
with another great use for Hydrogen Peroxide.

Clean your Cleaning Supplies with it!

Go Ahead and Get Your Cleaning Bowl Out,

Mix Hydrogen Peroxide and dishwashing liquid,

Put all your cleaning brushes, scrubbers, in it.

Let them soak for a few minutes.

Now rinse well!

You're done.

Now all your cleaning supplies are ready!

The Best Way To Get Red Wine Stains Out Of Clothes


I shared this a long time ago on my Mom Blog, BananaBlueberry and I would be remiss if I did not share it here, to fellow HouseHold Tippers!

Here is the recipe to Get Red Wine Stains Out Of Clothes.  Period.
IT STARTS with one of my favorite cleaning tools ever: Hydrogen Peroxide!
Get out Your Cleaning Bowl,

and mix a little
dishwashing liquid,

  a lot more Hydrogen Peroxide Solution.
Put the stained article of clothing to soak in the bowl…   You’re Done.
You can get Hydrogen Peroxide, the first aid antiseptic, at any grocery store or drugstore.
This TOTALLY works, every time.  It even works on an ‘old’ stain.  It gets just about any kind of stain out.

Yep.  It's not magic.  It just works!

Use a Toothbrush and Toothpaste to Clean Diamonds!

Crest Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste, Fresh Mint 2-Count Packages (Pack of 3)Hello HouseHold Tippers!
Yesterday I promised you 'a secret tip' about
Like my post yesterday said,
recycle your old toothbrushes into cleaning supplies!
put a little toothpaste on your 'cleaning toothbrush',
and gently scrub- your diamond engagement ring or diamond wedding ring,
or diamond earrings!

Now rinse!

That's right!  Just a little toothpaste makes diamonds sparkle even more!

So if you're going out and notice your wedding ring is looking lackluster,
can't find the jewelry cleaner,
or don't have time,
just a tiny dab of toothpaste 
will bring out the shine and sparkle of your diamond!

I got this tip from a college friend when I got engaged and actually owned my first diamond!

And I've been doing it ever since!

Happy Diamonds, Darling!

Recycle Your Toothbrushes into Cleaning Supplies!

Preserve Toothbrushes, Ultra Soft Bristles, 6-Count PackageHello HouseHold Tippers!  We are talking about cleaning this week-
so let's get right down to it!
Here's a Great Quick HouseHold Tip-
When you change your toothbrush (every 4 to 6 months),
Don't throw your old one away,

Use it as what it is: a very small CLEANSING BRUSH!

Toothbrushes are great for scrubbing a set-in stain,
as well as a great cleaning tool for hard-to-reach corners.
And they are perfect for cleaning everyday build-up between kitchen tiles!
(more on that in a few days).

So, use what you already have on hand: your toothbrush!
This is a good reminder to CHANGE your toothbrush too!

And 1 more thing:  Have your cleaning toothbrushes WHERE YOU WILL USE THEM.
Keep 1 upstairs in your linen closet,
and 1 under your sink in the kitchen;

If you keep them in convenient places- YOU WILL USE THEM!

Happy Households!

Come back tomorrow for a 'secret cleaning tip' about toothbrushes!

Great Tip About Boxes for Moving and Storage

Hello Readers!

I'm excited to share an EXCELLENT tip with all of you today- that I got from a HouseHoldTipsBlog reader and friend.

Are you moving?  Or, do you need good, sturdy boxes for storage?

Use... Banana Boxes!!

This great tip is from Matt O. and he explains better than I ever could-

'-A friend who worked at a boarding school and another who also moved quite a bit turned me on to the virtues of banana boxes for storage:

-  two-part boxes, so there's no folding or taping required

-  standard size boxes which are small enough to be manageable, even when packed with heavy items like books

-  strong enough to be packed to the ceiling without bursting

-  cut-out handles, make it easy to retrieve a single box from a stack

-  they are free (just have to check supermarkets on a regular basis)

They survive multiple moves better than many boxes I've purchased.'

Wow!  When you put it that way-
Why haven't I been using Banana Boxes my whole life?

That's a great tip!  
Thanks again to Matt O. for sharing it with us!

Window Well Covers Help Snow Removal

Maccourt Products W4018-DIB Do it Best Window Well CoverAnother page taken from,

'What I Learned from the DC Snowpocalypse of 2010' is...

Get Window Well Covers!

Window Well Covers are permanent or temporary covers for your window wells... hence, the name.

I'm getting window well covers (temporary ones, I'll explain in a minute) for the 2 front window wells of our house, because I spent a lot of time over the past month digging and digging and digging snow out of them.

You need to get snow out of window wells because

  • when the snow melts, it can cause leaks... and leaks are never good.  
  • the snow can freeze and damage the screen or the window (we have to replace a screen).
PLUS, You're also saving yourself a-whole-lotta work by simply getting a sturdy, plastic, window well cover to protect your basement window- because you won't have to shovel out the snow!

If you live in a very cold place where snowfalls-of-a-foot are commonplace, you probably already have window well covers... and they are permanent.  Good for you, you need them!

For The Rest Of Us-

Here's the simplest, easiest route to take-

Get temporary, sturdy plastic window well covers that can be snapped on and snapped off, or just placed over your window well...

  • You can place the covers over the window wells at the sign of the first snow, and just leave them there for the winter
  • Make sure to get a rounded/dome one, not flat (we all know what happens to flat roofs when a lot of snow falls- it's the same with window wells covers)
  • you can find these 'temporary window well covers' EVERYWHERE, I googled them and every major home/garden store sells them
  • And they are very reasonable- they can range from just under $20 to $30 or $40.  That is a small price to pay to guarantee empty, snow-free window wells.
That last statement was an understatement.  I am almost having the feeling of, 

'I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner,
this is an easy solution,
you don't have to worry about water damage to your basement,
basement windows...'

Sorry, gotta run, I'm going out to get those window well covers now!

* I'm getting temporary ones because I don't want them permanently on the front of the house
and the basement gets a lot of light from the windows.

Computer Lap Desks Are a Good Idea

e-pad Travel Laptop DeskWe were at Office Depot the other day for home office floor lamps (by the way- they don't carry them) and I saw a display for Computer Lap Desks.  Each one was $19.99.  I sit in the evenings on the couch a lot with my laptop, so I decided to buy one and see if I liked it.

And I do.  It is wonderful if you find yourself sitting, banging away on your laptop, on the couch.  The one pictured is the e-pad Travel Laptop Desk By Brookstone, for $29.95 (there was no picture of mine available on the Office Depot site).

In fairness to my readers: my husband did NOT prefer to use the Lap Desk,
He does, however, have a much bigger laptop than I do.

In Googling 'Computer Lap Desks' I realized that most of the soft bottom, hard top ones,
like I bought, 
are designed for small laptops (I own an Apple MacBook)
and the smaller 'netbooks'.

My husband has the 'big-corporate-like' laptop,
so the above may explain why he just preferred 
to have his laptop on his lap.

So, if you're like me,
and own a smaller (newer) laptop,
and want a more comfortable way to do things on your laptop,
while sitting on the couch,
you may want to look into one.

Like I mentioned above-
mine was $19.99,
and for that price-
you can't go wrong.

Let me know if you have a computer lap desk that you like... or dislike!

Thanks, and

Happy HouseHolds!

How To Store Soft, Gooey Cookies... And KEEP them Soft

Omaha Steaks 30 Milk Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
How do you KEEP cookies soft and tasting great?  Well, I’m here to share the wisdom and the bloglove…

I shared this on my mom blog- BananaBlueberry a while back,
and it deserves another 'share the wisdom' post!
I originally learned how to store cookies correctly from THE COMMENTS I received from a DC Metro Moms post I did way back in December of 2007 on gooey cookies…
In whatever container you store your cookies in- 
Put a Piece of Bread in the Bottom.  

The bread becomes stale and hard, and the cookies stay soft!! 
And it’s so fantastic that I learned this amazing tip from comments to a post!  
So thank you to another Nicole in California, KenandBelly over in the UK, and Andrea’s Recipes in the DC area for great comments!  Thank you again for your helpful hints!
Just put a piece of bread in your storage container to keep cookies soft-

PooF!  That was easy!

Goodbye to subpar cookies- Let the baking begin!