5 of my top 5s (otherwise known as weirdo life and home tips)

About a month or so ago, Arkansas Women Bloggers‘ monthly theme for submitted blogs was “Top 10 lists” and my best intentions were to submit all kinds of crazy top 10 lists like my weird homemaking tips, my weird life advice, weird observations, etc. You know, random stuff that is either useless or amazingly helpful. Or both.

Instead of trying to come up with the magic 10 for each of the topics I had considered, I’m just going to do a digest right here. I chose my top five favorite top 10 lists and will narrow it down to five items on each list. I would say this is mostly to save your reading but it’s really because I can’t think of 10 things for each list.

Here we go….

Top 5 uses for Borax

  1.  Laundry fabric softener-I can’t use traditional fabric softener, even the fragrance-free kind. It gets out static cling!
  2. Flea treatment for carpet that is pet friendly. Click on the word Borax in the headline for this section for more details, but basically you put it in your carpet, let it sit for a week or two. Then, vacuum it up. Vet recommended and it really did get rid of the fleas.
  3. Sugar ant killer-poke holes in a snus can (small round plastic container. A Bubble Tape container would also work). Put in a glob of peanut butter, combined with sugar, water and borax. The peanut butter and sugar attracts the ants, the water helps stuff mix and the borax kills the sugar ants. This is another pest control thing that is safe to have around your pets. (By the way, you know they are sugar ants if they smell like rotten coconut when you squash them. They are generally found in the bathroom or near a water source). I’ve also heard it kills cockroaches but thank goodness we haven’t had that problem.
  4. Laundry cleaner-I promise this is different from the fabric softener one! Not only does borax help get rid of static cling, but it is like OxyClean for your laundry. Put it in with your laundry detergent.
  5. Oh look, one of the uses actually on the box. Yes, it is a good household cleaner too!


Top 5 pet care tips

  1. Don’t suddenly change your pet’s food. Gradually blend the old food with the new food with the ratio going from mostly old food to mostly new food. If you suddenly change your pet’s diet (this is true for dogs and cats and I’m sure other creatures), it will upset their tummy. Gassy, poopy, barfy animals are not very cuddly. 
  2. Feed your pets premium pet food with the right percentages of carbs and protein. Yes, the premium stuff costs more. But I firmly believe you will save money in the end because A) the better food is more satisfying so they eat smaller portions of it, and B) pets, like people, who eat healthy diets tend to be healthier. Vet bills are expensive, ya’ll. I have four pets. I know.
  3. Cats and dogs can have Benadryl for allergies or to calm their nerves. Our vet always told us 1 mg for every pound. So, our 35 pound dogs get about 35 mg of Benadryl. (One note: not all animals react the same way to Benadryl. One of our dogs has a panic attack-like reaction to it. Weird, I know).
  4. Two cats is better than one. This isn’t true for all cats, as some really do like to be the only one in the household. But if you find your cat is becoming destructive (especially with paper products), that usually means it’s just bored. When we got Missy a playmate, she quit disassembling entire paper towel rolls all over the apartment.
  5. Exercise really can solve a lot of behavior issues. True, animals need to be trained (or taught boundaries, depending on your belief system and species of animal). But exercise of the mind and body keeps them from being bored and hyper. Non-bored, less-hyper animals make for better behaved animals.

Great gift-related ideas

  1. When you have a large family gathering, instead of drawing names (or worse, feeling like you have to get something for everyone) do a Dirty Santa style gift exchange. Set a dollar limit and have fun! Our family started doing this a couple of years ago and it really does take the stress out of gift buying and it’s a lot of fun! (Note: A Dirty Santa gift exchange is very different from a White Elephant gift exchange. White Elephants are great for office parties, less great for family holiday gatherings). 
  2. Need an inexpensive but still meaningful gift for a bridal shower, baby shower or graduation reception? Make a basket of smaller items that the person will definitely use but may not want to put on their registry (because they are so small). For example, buy a new trash can and fill it with cleaning supplies, office supplies, or small personal care items.
  3. Don’t buy something as a gift that should be a personal choice. This includes scents, decorating items, etc. Buy items that could complement a personal choice item, like instead of buying scented candles buy a candle wick trimmer. Another option is to buy a gift certificate for the person’s favorite store so they can pick out their own. A gift card may seem impersonal, but it’s better to get a gift card than to get stuck with something you think is stinky or ugly.
  4. Instead of donating money to an organization in someone else’s name, offer to volunteer your time or skills alongside the person to their favorite organization. Of course this only works if you have time and skills for something the organization needs, but it is a way to help out the recipient’s favorite charity while doing something that actually helps the recipient because they are getting to spend time with you. I’m going to assume that if you’re giving the a gift, you are close enough that they would want to spend (or not mind spending) time with you.
  5. Create your own wish list on Pinterest. This obviously will only work for friends and relatives who are ON Pinterest, but it could really be useful for indicating exactly what you want with a photo and a link to where it can be purchased.

Cleaning tips from a lazy cleaner

  1. Use hydrogen peroxide to get blood out of fabric. Pour the peroxide on the stain and wait for it to stop bubbling. Gently wipe away the bubbles and reapply hydrogen peroxide. Repeat the process until the bubbling does not happen again. Then use regular stain remover and wash the garment or fabric as instructed.
  2. Clean your George Foreman (or similar) grill by placing folded, soaked paper towels on the grill and shutting the lid. Do this when the grill is still hot right after use (unplug it first). By the time you’re done eating, it should be cooled down enough and you can wipe away the excess meat drainage with the paper towel. The steam from the wet paper towel makes the icky stuff come off as cleanly as possible and then you can clean the grill as usual.
  3. Don’t use the stuff that is supposed to help make pet hair easier to vacuum out of the carpet. The powder will just stick to the carpet and get embedded  causing serious clogs for your vacuum cleaner. Besides, it doesn’t those products don’t work as well as they promise. If you want hair out of your carpet, vacuum more often.
  4. Apparently SOS pads work for getting cooked on food stains off of stainless steel cookware. Not that my stainless steel cookware gets food stains on it. Ahem.
  5. OK, so this one is for your hair not your house but it’s still true. Yes, vinegar will help strip the impurities from your hair. But washing your hair in a water/APPLE vinegar blend will not only strip the impurities, it will give your brown hair a reddish blonde “I screwed up my dye job” kind of a look. Not that I did this in seventh grade or anything.

Organization tips, keep sane tips or just life tips

  1. If your family’s schedule allows it, go grocery shopping late at night when the store clerks are stocking. Yes, I’m serious. Everyone hates to go at that time because the aisles are filled with stockers putting stuff on the shelves. This is the perfect time to be there! A) there’s not as many people there wandering mindlessly through the aisles looking for stuff, B) the people who ARE in your way actually knows where stuff is, and C) the stockers usually want the shoppers out of their way so they usually reach stuff for you. This method works really well for disabled folks like me, grumpy when shopping, very short and not a good cart driver. By the way, I’ve also found I have better luck at the store not being out of certain items when they are being freshly stocked.
  2. Hire a garage sale coordinator to plan and run your garage sale. Usually by this time I’m asked, “what is a garage sale coordinator?” Um, it’s a person who coordinates a garage sale. Kinda like a wedding coordinator coordinates weddings. It makes the whole ordeal more organized, more profitable and less stress on you. This is really a good idea for multi-family garage sales or benefit sales. Even if it’s for charity, a well-organized sale will bring in more money, making it worth the small expense.
  3. Don’t live your life according to clichés. Sure, like stereotypes, clichés are founded in some level of truth. But that’s all. Founded, not grounded.
  4. Use coffee grounds (or kitchen soap from GoatieGirls.com) to get the smell of onions and peppers out of your hands after cooking.
  5. If at all possible, rewrite your grocery list before going to the grocery store so that the items are listed in order of where they are in the store. This will help you shop quicker and less likely to forget an item.

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