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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentFebruary 14, 2014 

MBR

Take care of window leaks with a line of caulk along your window’s seal.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — MCT

Best for hardwoods

Are your hardwood floors showing their age? The Debbie Doos blog claims you can clean them thoroughly and organically with a solution of simple home ingredients, a mop and an old T-shirt.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

1 gallon hot water

Mop

Directions:

“Make sure the mop is rung out well,” Debbie’s tips emphasize. “You should NOT splatter water on the floor, that indeed can cause damage to your hardwood floors, the water can seep through and cause buckling.” You can let it dry naturally, she says, or wipe it dry with an old T-shirt.

Seeking your best tips

We are seeking a fresh batch of simple recipes and useful tips for cleaning, organizing and gardening around your home. If we use your tip, you’ll be entered in our quarterly drawing for a gift certificate of thanks. 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 drafts

If you felt chills sneaking inside during the recent cold snap, it may be time to check your windows for leaks. The Bright Nest blog notes that “drafts can consume up to 30 percent of your home’s energy usage.”

Take their advice and “check your windows by running your hand along their perimeters. If you feel cold air seeping in, it means that heat is leaking out! If locking your windows doesn’t stop the draft (locking them will pull your windows snug into their frames), seal these leaks with a line of caulk along your window’s seal.”

Close up those leaks before another winter blast blows through your home. You can see this and other tips at http://nando.com/ev.

Best way to stay organized

The Home Your Way blog has listed 10 things you can do to have an organized day. We’ve excerpted a few of them below:

1 You may not be menu planning for the whole week yet, but you can plan what you’ll eat that night in the morning. Check your freezer, pull some meat out, look up a recipe and you’re set.

2 Never leave a room empty-handed. To stay on top of clutter, take something with you every time you leave a room – dirty dishes, laundry, toys, mail, you name it. If it belongs in a room you’ll be going to or passing, bring it with you!

3 Assign each of your children one task off your list to complete. It’s often faster to do it ourselves but the training has to start somewhere.

4 Every home needs somewhere to collect the things we no longer need. Grab yourself a big box, mark it with the words “Donation Station” and let everyone know what it’s for. Add five things to that donation station every day. Set a timer and see who can be the first to collect their five things. Before you know it, that donation station will be full!

5 Create an “I’m Outta Here” shelf by your front door. It’s somewhere I can collect things that need to be returned to a friend, mailed, returned, etc.

You can see the entire list at http://nando.com/ew.

Reader’s best

Sue Burke of Raleigh wrote in to share a tip for preserving the coating on nonstick pans. “My husband, Dennis Burke, puts coffee filters between our new nonstick pots and pans, to keep them from getting scratched.”

Best dessert

Carol Braswell of Rocky Mount shares her recipe for Three Thing Pie.

You will need:

6 (1.2-ounce) Hershey Bars with Almonds

1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

1 chocolate crumb crust OR graham cracker crust

Melt Hershey Bars in microwave. Fold into the Cool Whip. Pour into pie crust. Chill at least 6 hours before serving.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Big dreams, budget buster: Newlyweds Caroline and Patrick are preparing to buy their first home. Caroline is prepared to pay for what she wants, but Patrick is all about numbers and budgets. When property expert Egypt Sherrod finally finds them a property that meets their wish list, they’ll have to act fast. When they’re ready to make an offer, Egypt warns Patrick that playing hardball could backfire. “Property Virgins” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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