Cambrian: Opinion

Helpful hints to ease life's passage

You know Heloise? She’s the home ec queen in the daily papers who people send all their helpful household hints or questions to. So, I’m certainly no Heloise, but I’ve got ideas that I know make my life simpler or I’d like to try, to make my life simpler (lifelong quest there).

With school back in session, you can expect to be asked to buy something to help raise much-needed funds for education. OK, please come and see me to buy See’s candy, okay? Girl Scout cookies? See me! Otherwise, I’m set. That said, I still want to contribute to some child’s account so I’m just going to give them the cash for the school. They still get what they need and I get what I want (nothing in particular).

The weather’s been so weird, the local flora and fauna are out of whack. Not much you can do but when ants come, here’s how I discourage them. Mix equal parts sugar and Borax or washing soda in a small jar lid or such container. Add just enough drops of water to make a light paste. Put where the ants are. You may expect an increase at first but quickly they’ll take it back to their nests for the last time (better luck in the next life, boys).

In the technical department: Don’t eat over your computer keyboard! The few times I’ve cleaned around these for others, I tap the keyboards gently upside down to dislodge crumbs and other flotsam so as not to gum up the keys. A small vacuum attachment is good, too, if you’re that energetic (but I’m usually not). Avoid the problem in the first place (just sayin’).

CD’s — if you’re not into the iPod thing — using a soft, cloth, wipe from the CENTER of the disc OUTWARD, not in circles like we did on vinyl records. Obviously works on DVD’s, too. (Yes, I still have vinyl records.)

Cleaning: I don’t care what anyone else says — vinegar and baking soda will get you far. I heard that in 2005, over 200,00 reported poison exposures were from cleaning products. The EPA designates the following as household hazardous waste: oven cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, tub, shower and tile cleaners and bleach. The fumes from all cleaners increases risk of respiratory damage (and who-knows-what-else).

Guess what? Hot water will disinfect things just fine. Lavendar oil, oregano oil and thyme oil are all disinfectants. Add a drop or two to a bottle of vinegar and water and voila! These and the vinegar itself kill plenty of germs. Come on over to my house and try it out for yourself any time! (Call first, thanks.)

I read an interesting idea the other day. I’m sure if I can let go of my “stuff” quite yet (I really don’t have that much, considering I’ve been in the same house for 23 years) but it’s tempting.

This fellow who lives in a “micro apartment” in New York City, the new rage, does the following to prevent and reduce clutter — he takes a picture of the item (an old T-shirt, knick-knack, souvenir) and puts them in a folder. Huh. I’m a tactile person so, like I said, I’ll think on that one. (But, just thought I’d share.)