5 freakishly creative home and garden hacks

Matthew Grocoff

June 26, 2015

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: Landscaping and PoolsGreen LivingInterior Home Improvement

For centuries, grandparents have handed down little tricks to help make their heirs' lives easier: little hacks for things that annoy you around the house. How do you keep potatoes fresh? How do you keep picture frames level? How do you clean greasy pans? How do you keep track of your kids favorite snuggly bunny?

Well . . . here's a few hacks I've learned along the way.

1. Keep potatoes fresh by storing them with an apple.

Who knew? If you keep an apple stored along with your potatoes in a cool, dark place, you'll extend the freshness of your potatoes.

America's Test Kitchen tested two 5-pound bags of potatoes. One with an apple added to the bag; the other without an apple. After five weeks "all but one of the potatoes stored without the apple had sprouted. By comparison, the potatoes stored with the apple remained firm and free of sprouts, though a great deal of condensation had built up in the bag. At the eight-week point the potatoes without the apple were largely soft, shriveled, and sad looking. The potatoes stored with the apple, on the other hand, were mostly firm (small soft spots had developed on two of them) and looked good."

2. Use a muffin pan to space veggie plants

how to plant veggies

For clean and even spacing of your veggie seedlings, simple press the bottom of cupcake pan into the loose, weed-free soil. Then place your seedlings in the dimpled soil. This makes speedy work of spring gardening.

3. Squeeze toothpaste behind picture frames to keep them level

One of my wife's biggest pet peeves is when picture frames get knocked off-kilter. A deliciously easy, fresh, and minty solution is to squeeze a dab of toothpaste on the back corners of the frame. This will keep the buggers from moving from side-to-side and getting all wonky.

4. Put baking soda in a Parmesan shaker to help clean pots & pans

how to clean dishes with baking soda

Simply the best method for cleaning pots and pans is to spray them with vinegar immediately after cooking. While the pan is hot and deglazed with the vinegar, sprinkle it with baking soda. The problem is that baking soda boxes are unruly. The solution is to put the baking soda in a Parmesan shaker.

Check out my article on World's Cheapest, Non-toxic and Effective Home Cleaning Tips

5. Velcro stuffed animals and store on a wall

how to keep stuffed animals organized

If you're like us, you've got buckets full of stuffed animals. A simple way to organize them is to store them on the wall. Simply sew a small piece of Velcro to the stuffed animal's back. Then hang a small piece or a long strip of matching Velcro to the wall. Then, viola - have your kid have fun by sticking them on the wall every morning before school. No more missing Mr. Bunny. No more hysterical breakdowns from your toddler.

Photos courtesy of Matt Grocoff and www.HappyHome.HOW

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