Top Drawer Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

Top Drawer

CorrespondentMarch 1, 2013 

Best tricks with dryer sheets

All hail the power of dryer sheets. So says the Krazy Coupon Lady blog. Its writers say dryer sheets hold the key to many cleaning dilemmas. Don a pair of gloves, take a new or used (which actually works best, they say) dryer sheet and wipe away any rings around the toilet bowl. “No additional cleaner nor tons of elbow grease is necessary, even for the messiest situations!” They also use the sheets to clean the bathtub and to shine faucet fixtures. The blog says you can also use them to:

• Wipe sticky dust off furniture, blinds and baseboards.

• Clean up cooktops and greasy cupboards quickly.

• Clean paint-filled brushes. Soak them in warm water with a dryer sheet and watch the paint come right off.

• Remove dead bugs from the car.

• Remove pet hair from clothes and furniture.

• Keep thread from tangling as you sew. Simply run the sheet over thread before stitching.

Learn more at

Best for purses

Erica of the Tart House blog says she found a great way to organize purses in her closet. She takes shower curtain rings and loops one end over the clothes rod. Then she hangs the purse on the bottom of the hook. You can see the result at

Best for kids’ accessories

The High Heeled Hostess blog offers up a pictorial of ways to incorporate clay flower pots in various decorating projects. A project in which she custom-made pots to hold her daughter’s accessories really caught our attention. She didn’t provide instructions, but the result looks easy enough to achieve, even for a novice.

Paint the base of the three varying sized pots with several coats of black chalkboard or other paint and then paint the upper rims of each pot with a base coat of pink, purple or green. Overlay the base coat on the rim with darker pink, purple and green polka dots. (Let each coat of paint dry for several hours in between.) Decoratively pen “Lip gloss,” “Hair bows,” “Beads” or another accessory term on the black base of the pots in paint or chalk in the color of your choosing.

The result would make a pretty addition to any young girl or tween’s room.

You can see examples of the flower pot projects at You’ll need to scroll about three-quarters down the page to find them under a March 24, 2011 entry.

Best site for painting tips

Are you contemplating a painting project? Before you start, you may want to check out a few tips from the Family Handyman site.

Drop by to find tips for keeping tape at bay, avoiding overspray, softening adhesive tape, covering appliances and wiping excess paint from brushes.


Designer’s best

The design gurus at Better Homes and Gardens say mirrors are a great way to make a small space appear larger. “They reflect light and make a space feel bigger. Hang a large mirror in your (home’s) dining space, living room, or bedroom across from a window, so it is in a prime position to receive natural light and reflect it back into the room.”

Seeking your best tips

For every cleaning, gardening and organizing dilemma, there are multiple solutions. There’s no way to cover them all. But with our readers’ help, we’re chipping away at clutter, weeds and household mayhem across the Triangle. Send your tips to You’ll be entered in a quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best of the tube


Rent to repay debt: Marli and Toby borrowed a down payment from Marli’s parents to buy a rental property, and they’re counting on rental income to help pay back the debt. Scott helps them decide between single-family homes with income potential, and an existing duplex, then gets the chosen site ready to rent. “Income Property” airs at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Luxe log homes: With basketball courts, bowling alleys, giant chandeliers, ancient fossilized floors and fantastic fireplaces, these log cabins have more than you ever dreamed possible. Sneak a peek at luxuries such as cheetah skin elevators, indoor trees and spinning beds. You’ve got to see these homes to believe them! “Best Ever Log Homes” airs at 8 p.m. Friday.


Mirror, mirror: Everything in this home has been remodeled to reflect the homeowners’ tastes – except the master bath. Giant walls of mirror cover almost every surface, and these homeowners are ready for a change. Matt ditches the mirrors and the weird round tub for a steam shower with mood lighting, softly glowing sinks, separate vanities and the perfect mirror. “Bath Crashers” airs at 6 p.m. Monday.

Lackluster laundry: Alex’s plans to finish a laundry room for his wife, Muriam, have been stuck in the spin cycle since he began tearing the room apart three years ago. With a baby due in a few short weeks, Bryan feels the pressure to help Alex finish the laundry room. “Disaster DIY” airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

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