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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentMarch 29, 2013 

NEWS2USE-FOOD1-BH

Extend the life of your bananas by wrapping the bunches’ stems in plastic wrap.

CAROLINE CHEN — MCT

Best home tips

Real Simple magazine’s Website offers a bevy of practical home tips. Here are a few that caught our eyes as we looked to tame clutter and messes in our home.

Clothespin as cord holder: Use a clothespin to tame that tangle of unsightly wires near your entertainment center or in your home office. Just gather any extra length and clip it to shorten the length. You can also use the pin to keep a retractable cord from rewinding too soon by clipping the cord near the opening. This will prevent the cord from being sucked back in too quickly.

Socks as floor protector: When you rearrange furniture, protect your wood floors by slipping socks onto the legs of chairs and tables.

Newspaper as odor absorber: Lessen odors in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer with a lining of newspaper.

Chopsticks as lint remover: Use leftover chopsticks to pull the lint buildup from a clothes dryer’s trap.

Lint roller as handbag cleaner: Quickly neaten the interior of your purse by running a lint roller over the lining.

Hairspray as lipstick stain remover: Smudge lipstick on your favorite blouse. Head to your bathroom counter for help. If the fabric is machine washable, saturate the spot with hair spray, let it sit for 10 minutes, then dab with a damp cloth or sponge to remove. Launder as usual to wash out any residual stain and spray.

Coaster as drip catcher: Stop the sticky stuff from bottles and jars from coating your cupboards. Place honey, jam, olive oil and other bottles of sticky stuff on coasters before putting them on your shelves.

Find more tips at http://tinyurl.com/4bkz7xk.

Designer’s best

The Better Homes and Gardens site says you can effectively house and disguise dining room extras by attaching a sumptuous fabric around a table top. Use the skirted-table trick in bedrooms and house shoes or handbags below, or in a living room to hide media components. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/addcgv8.

Readers’ best

Raleigh reader Bill Loftin wrote in with a trick to remove the film that glass cleaner leaves behind after cleaning the interior of your windshield.

Wet the glass, then wet a cloth, Loftin says. Put a few drops of liquid detergent on the cloth and scrub the glass until it starts forming suds. Rinse the glass with plain water. If you wish to do a test, clean the glass as you see fit and then try a small area with the detergent.

Seeking your best tips

We are seeking your best suggestions for cleaning, organizing and gardening. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a Target gift card. Send your tips to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best tips” in the subject line.

Best for socks

The Harvard Homemaker blog offers up a smart way to help you match socks when doing laundry. Mark the cuff or toe of each pair with different colors of nail polish. This will especially help distinguish between black and blue or striped or solid pairs. You can even use the same color with different designs – a dot on one versus a squiggle or a line on another. Find more tips at http://tinyurl.com/b77qnwh.

Best for cake cutting

The next time you host a shower or party, impress your guests by cutting perfectly sized, uniform portions of cake. The Woman’s Day blog tells how:

Cut a circle in the center by placing a small bowl on the cake’s center and tracing around it. Then cut the outer ring into slices. You’ll have nice square pieces that fit on a plate, instead of long wedges that drop off the edge. You can cut the small round middle into pieces too!

You can find an illustration of this and other tips at http://tinyurl.com/atmzkgk.

Best for bananas

Extend the life of your bananas by wrapping the bunch’s stems in plastic wrap. According to buzzfeed, they’ll keep three to five days longer than usual, which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas. Find more produce tips at http://tinyurl.com/958q8o5.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Dallas dream home: After years of running a successful air conditioning business in Dallas, James and Sherry can finally afford their dream home. They’re hoping to find a spacious 5-bedroom home with a grand staircase, game room and kitchen on their $750,000 budget. Can they make their dream a reality? Find out when “House Hunters” airs at 7 p.m. Sunday.

On DIY

Bachelor’s bar: Josh turns a dated, converted sunroom into a sleek mancave by updating an ugly brick fireplace and making over a dilapidated wet bar. Stained carpet gets a fresh look with vinyl leather flooring and painted blue glass frames a mirrored TV. The installation of a custom game table makes the room the ultimate bachelor pad. “House Crashers” airs at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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