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

Top Drawer

CorrespondentFebruary 21, 2014 

Use a tissue from one box, dispose of it in the other, then toss it all away.

JULI LEONARD — jleonard@newsobserver.com

Best for organizing

the fridge

OK, the blogger over at Vintage News Junkie either has too much time on her hands or is an absolute neat freak, but we have to admit that we were impressed with her tips for cleaning and organizing the fridge. In a recent post, she described how she went all out cleaning her refrigerator from top to bottom. We’re not necessarily going to do that, but we did find a few tips that would be easy to incorporate into our fridge’s daily use. For example, she suggests putting fruits and other healthy foods in bowls. “Open bowls. No lids. That way when you are looking for a snack and open the fridge, it will be easy to reach right in and grab a few grapes or perhaps some blueberries! I washed and dried all of the fruit before putting them in the bowls.”

She also suggests placing colorful foods – which often tend to be the most flavorful and delicious – at the front of each shelf. “The brighter your food, the healthier it likely is! So stock your fridge like you are going to take pictures of it. When you open the door, the bright-colored food will be enticing!”

Makes sense and would be pretty, too. See her complete list of refrigerator organizing tips at http://tinyurl.com/jwu872a.

Best clothing tips

We love, love, LOVE a post on Pinterest called “31 Clothing Tips Every Girl Should Know.” You’ll find tips on unshrinking shrunken clothes, making sure your pants stay zipped, keeping bra straps from showing through your clothes, smoothing a sweater under a shirt, tying a pretty scarf and tucking non-skinny jeans neatly into our boots. (Pssst, it involves rolling and tucking the jeans and then covering them with a sock! Genius!) You can find these tips and more at http://tinyurl.com/l8hb32e.

Best for tissues

As we hack and sneeze our way through cold and flu season, we often turn to one of our favorite tips from the Meck Mom blog for containing germ-ridden tissues.

1 Take two tissue boxes. Neatly open the side of one box, pull out the entire fold of tissues and place them in a plastic zipper bag for use later.

2 Refold the flaps of the empty box and place the two upright boxes together with the recently opened side sandwiched against the closed side of the other. Place two rubber bands around the boxes to hold them together.

3 Use a tissue from one box, dispose of it in the other, then toss it all away.

See it at http://nando.com/eu.

Best new uses for dryer sheets

The next time you do a load of laundry, hold on to that used dryer sheet. The Krazy Coupon Lady blog says you can use it to clean everything from rings around the toilet bowl to your faucets and tub.

“The fibers in dryer sheets and the weave create a grime-grabbing scrubbing tool that won’t scratch sinks and tubs,” she writes. “Fabric softener in the sheet makes dirt and scum slip right off.”

She also claims that new or used dryer sheets can:

• Get sticky dust right off furniture, blinds and baseboards.

• Clean up cooktops and greasy cupboards quickly.

• Get paint off paintbrushes. Just soak them in warm water with a dryer sheet.

• Clean dead, icky bugs from the car.

• Wipe pet hair off clothes and furniture.

• Keep sewing thread from tangling. Just run the dryer sheet over thread before stitching.

See more at http://tinyurl.com/mneyc8s.

Best way to avoid cooking splatters

Real Simple suggests a way to minimize splatters when cooking hot foods. “When frying, top the pan with an upside-down metal colander to protect yourself from burns while still allowing heat to escape.”

Reader’s best recipe

John Alexander of Raleigh shares his recipe for a spinach-artichoke dip.

You will need:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 box frozen, chopped spinach (microwaved, according to package directions)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbling on the edges. Serve with garlic Melba toast crackers.

Seeking your best tips

We are seeking your simple recipes and useful tips for cleaning, organizing and gardening. 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 recipe” or “best tips” in the subject line.

Best of the tube

On DIY

What’s old is new: The entire Black Dog Salvage crew pitches in to help save parts of a house in Roanoke, Va. Targeted items include floors, trim, front porch columns and a large, built-in cabinet. While salvaging, hosts Mike and Robert also search for buried treasure on the property. Back at the shop, Ted builds a fire pit and fountain from old syrup kettles. “Salvage Dawgs” airs at 5:30 p.m.Wednesday.

Send news and photos to The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; email topdrawer@newsobserver.com.

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