AC, Solar
Clothes Dryer
Coffee & Grounds
Cool Home
Credit Cards
Dollar value
Fruit Flies
Glass, Easiest Way To
Clean Up Broken

Global Disaster
Hot Water
House Cleaning
House Temperature
Lennox Lawsuit
Mattress, Sheets, Pillow
Ref. links
Solar et al.
Tidy House tips
Where to Move



Top 10 Home Remedies covers household and health

Kinetico Video: How to Change the Reverse Osmosis Filter

Hot Water Lobster

S.A. SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT Recycling pgm. ph. 207-6428. To schedule compost deliver in bags, call Mr. leonard Silva at 207-6437.

4410 W. Piedras Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78228

Free mulch giveaway at Nelson Gardens Brush Recycling center.

Bundle and throw plastic bags in blue recycling cart.

Covers garbage, recycling, organics, brush collection, bulky item collection, household hazardous waste, et al.

2 locations:

Note: In order for residents to use an HHW center or participate in the mobile events, customers must bring a recent copy of their CPS bill and a picture ID as proof of residency.

Frio City Road Center 1531 Frio City Road, 78226. Tuesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The Bitters Bulky Waste & Recycling Center is open. 1800 Wurzbach Parkway 78216. The entrance to the center is located off the new Wurzbach Parkway. Customers need to access the facility from Jones Maltsberger and Wurzbach Parkway. Bitters opens only on the first Saturday of each month during the months of February - August. Saturdays, 8am to 3pm.

Culebra Bulky Waste Collection Center. 7030 Culebra Road, 78238. Normal hours of operation Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Rigsby Road Bulky Waste Collection Center 2755 Rigsby Road, 78222. Normal hours of operation Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

What to recycle:

In the Kitchen Aluminum & steel cans Cereal & cracker boxes (remove liner) Frozen dinner boxes Glass bottles & jars Meat trays Paper milk & juice cartons Paper towel cores Plastic bottles Styrofoam® egg cartons Yogurt & butter tubs
In the Office Ad circulars Catalogs Copy & printer paper Envelopes File folders Junk mail Magazines Newspaper Paperback books Phone books
In the Bathroom Plastic spray bottles (remove nozzle) Shampoo & lotion bottles Toilet paper tubes Toothpaste boxes (not the tubes)

Lennox AC Class Action Lawsuit a class action lawsuit against Lennox (our air conditioner mgr.) It seems they had defective coils, which we had a problem with. Do you have access to the records?... Was done by Tiger.

Odd Taste & Smell of Water

Kinetico tech. came [8/25/15] and tested everything. He said the problem was that we had galvanized pipes with a lot of crud in them. The soft water is gradually cleaning them out. That is the source of the taste, smell, and yellow look of the water. He said it will slowly get better. In the meantime, the reverse osmosis water does not test for any of the sediments, so drink that.

What the Latest Currency 'War' is All About By Pepe Escobar. It took the Bank of China to devaluate the yuan on two consecutive days — moving within the 2 percent band that it's allowed to — for the proverbial global financial banshees to go completely bonkers.

Forget the hysteria. The heart of the matter is that Beijing has stepped on the gas in a quite complex long game; to liberalize the yuan exchange rate; allow it to free float against the US dollar; and establish the yuan as a global reserve currency.

As Beijing interprets it, keeping a strong link to the US dollar has interfered with China's being competitive with its top trading partners — Japan and Europe.

So now it's time to rock the (wobbly) boat. Thus the "currency war" hysteria — because the practical result, in the medium term, will be a new boost to Chinese exports.

When the US embarks on perennial quantitative easing (QE), that's OK. When the EU does QE as well, that's OK. But when the Bank of China decides it's in the best interest of the nation to let the yuan go down a bit instead of infinitely up, that's Armageddon.

Peter Schiff Says Impending U.S. Dollar Collapse should be Getting Attention, not China’s Devaluation By Andrew Moran. Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital and bestselling author of “Crash Proof,” believes the impending collapse of the United States dollar should be getting the attention of investors and news outlets and not the devaluation of the Chinese yuan.

He noted that the yuan’s value has substantially increased over the past several years compared to the U.S. dollar.

“So this move was motivated not by the exchange rate between the yuan and the dollar, but between the yuan and all the other currencies because the dollars is in a bubble right now,” he said. “The dollar is very overvalued … and the dollar is a bubble. This dollar bubble is going to burst.”

He added that the U.S. economy is in a much worse situation right now than the Chinese. This is something, Schiff says, the Federal Reserve will have to admit. He also averred that the Fed won’t raise interest rates this year (SEE: Federal Reserve rate hike could cost indebted consumers $9 billion per year) and will have to do another round of quantitative easing.

“That’s going to sink the dollar and then the Chinese are going to have to revalue their currency much higher in the future against the dollar and it’s the dollar collapsing that’s going to hurt the US. Not this recent move by China,” Schiff posited.

The reasons why the U.S. dollar has been trading well since the financial crisis is because of hope, hype and speculation.

Flea-proof Your Pooch in 5 Minutes with Dawn Dishwashing liquid Deodorize your dog with Arm & Hammer® Baking Soda! This dry shampoo is a great way to clean your pet during the cold winter months.

This Homemade Drain Cleaner Will Banish Clogs For GoodIf your drain isn't flowing as easily as it should, then it's probably a bit clogged. Instead of paying big bucks for chemical-filled concoctions, try fixing the problem yourself with a homemade drain cleaner. It costs basically nothing to make and can be used weekly to help prevent buildup. Safe to use in the bathroom or kitchen, the drain buster will have your sink or tub flowing freely in no time. Have a really plugged pipe? We've even found the solution for seriously stopped drains.

What You'll Need:

Paper towel
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water

Yes, it's a bit gross, but start by removing the drain trap and giving it a good cleaning. Use a paper towel to wipe around the drain of your sink or tub, removing any bits of food or collections of hair.

Mix together the baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar in a small container. The salt and baking soda work together to help scour pipes and break up buildup, while the cream of tartar naturally cleans metals. Shake the mixture and sprinkle half down the clogged drain.

Pour in the boiling water and let the drain buster work its magic for about an hour. Then rinse with cool water. You should notice a difference in your drainage.

If the drain still is still clogged, get serious by pouring one cup baking soda down the drain followed with one cup vinegar. The two create a fizzing reaction, which will attack nasty obstructions. Allow the baking soda and vinegar to work overnight, and then pour two cups boiling water down the drain.Still not draining? Don old duds, fill the sink or tub halfway with warm water, and grab your plunger. Yes, it's also gross, but giving your sink or tub a plunging should clear that clogged drain.

Maintain your free-flowing pipes by using the homemade drain cleaner once a week.

est Ways to Unclog Your Drain

Bright Nest great tips on housecleaning, et al.

Slideshow: Beat Germs All Over Your House

Get rid of your credit card interest

Transfer Your Credit Card Debt Every 18 months

Cornmeal to get rid of ants

Prevent fires and dry more efficiently by deep-cleaning your dryer Dryer fires are more common than you think. Use these tips to improve your dry cycles and avoid any mishaps.

LINT TRAP: Wiping the lint from the filter is fine most of the time, but sometimes it needs a little more attention. Fabric softeners can leave a waxy buildup on your filter, preventing good air flow. Every few months, clean it with a little dish soap, warm water and an old toothbrush. Rinse it and dry it well before putting it back in your dryer.

Wait! Before you pop that filter back into place, take a good look at the vent your filter covers.

No doubt it is full of lint, gum wrappers, Legos and other things that shouldn't be in there.

Grab your vacuum and clean the vent out using a narrow hose attachment. Do this at least once a year to keep your dryer working well and to prevent fires.

Pull your dryer out from the wall just a smidge. Do you see a big silver tube coming from your dryer and going into the wall? That's your vent tube. It carries all of the moist air from your dryer to the outdoors.

Like your dryer vent, the vent tube needs to be cleaned once a year, as well.

Loosen the screw on the metal band around the tube or pinch the metal wire that connects the vent to the dryer. Pull the vent off and disconnect it from the wall. Since fabric softener can make the vent sticky, wash the vent in a sink of warm, sudsy water, rinse it and dry it well before putting it back on the dryer.

Every 18 months or so, your dryer's motor and other mechanics will need to be cleaned because lint gets on just about everything. This kind of cleaning should be done by a professional, unless you feel confident with your mechanical skills. If that's the case:

1. Disconnect your dryer from the electrical outlet. If you have a gas dryer, consult with a professional before attempting any disconnection of the gas line.

2. Take the back panel off of your dryer by removing the screws.

3. Vacuum any dust or lint that may have accumulated on the dryer parts or on the floor of the dryer. An upholstery attachment on the end of the vacuum hose is your best bet for getting the most lint out of nooks and crannies.

4. Put the back of the dryer back in place and replace the screws.

How to survive a global disaster: a handy guide

Civilization Collapse Is Coming how to prepare

Deep State’s Draconian Measures to Criminalize Citizens

Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society

Growing Your Own Food at Home is now illegal!

Road To World War III: Turkish Army Enters Syria After Second Day Of Shelling As Saudi Warplanes Arrive "The Syrian government says Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen it said entered Syria on Saturday accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents fighting Damascus," Reuters reports.

Video of Marjory Wildcraft - Grow Your Own Food discusses economic collapse


Think Whole Foods is a ripoff? It's worse than you thought

Food Waste numbers If the amount of food wasted globally were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished according to the UN.

Each year 1.3 billion tons of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted

Environmental impact: the carbon footprint of food produced but not eaten is estimated to be 3.3 gigatons of CO2 per year.

How to revive old food and make it delicious again The statistics are getting repetitive, but they bear repeating ad nauseum: 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten, equaling on average more than 20 pounds of food waste per person every month. Americans throw out the equivalent of $165 billion each year; the impact is staggering.

Much of it has to do with a wildly inefficient food system, but we consumers are to blame as well. The average American consumer wastes 10 times as much food as someone in Southeast Asia; we waste more than half [more] of what we did in the 1970s. We’re spoiled, we need to pay more attention. And one of the things we can do is not be so squeamish about imperfect food.

If apples, bananas, potatoes, avocados, artichokes, and others become brown
Skin on produce protects the inside, but when the flesh of some items is exposed to air, it oxidizes and turns brown. It may not be pretty, but there is no harm in eating it and taste will not be affected. Douse the exposed surface immediately in lemon juice to slow down browning if the look of it turns you off.

If fruits or vegetables are bruised
Something gets bumped or jostled, it gets bruised – cell structure is damaged and softening and browning set in. Light bruising does not make food inedible; just remove the bruised section as the texture may be affected and more importantly, they may create an entry point for microbes.

If lettuce has brown or pink spots
It may be unsettling to see lettuce with brown ends, brown stains, or a pink center – but this doesn’t mean the greens are diseased. Leaves can become brown from growing conditions or exposure to oxygen. And pink lettuce? This can occur when the middle rib is exposed to higher temperatures. It’s all perfectly safe to eat. You may not want to showcase it in a centerpiece salad, but tossed in chopped salads and tucked into sandwiches will hide a multitude of sins. Some heartier lettuces are great sautéed, too – romaine hearts can even be put straight on the grill for a charred Caesar salad that goes far in camouflaging imperfections.

Driving / Cars

One Thing You Hate About Driving is About to Change no more parking

Where To Move

The 23 cities with the best quality of life in the world -- and not a single one in the USA. If you want to live in a healthy, prosperous and safe city, you should probably look outside the United States, according to the Mercer 2016 Quality of Living City Rankings.

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Sydney, Australia
11. Amsterdam, Netherlands
12. Wellington, New Zealand
13. Berlin, Germany
14. Bern, Switzerland
16 (joint). Toronto, Canada
16 (joint). Melbourne, Australia
17. Ottawa, Canada
18. Hamburg, Germany
20 (joint). Luxembourg
20 (joint). Stockholm, Sweden
22 (joint). Brussels, Belgium
22 (joint). Perth, Australia
23. Montreal, Canada
See Details of the list and photos


Why Did No One Tell [Texas] Drivers with No Tickets in 3 Years About This New Rule?

Are you aware that you could receive a large discount just for not having a ticket or accident in the past 3 years? In addition, if you are currently insured and live in a qualified ZIP code you can get an extremely high discount. Probably not…as car insurance companies want you to be left in the dark.

For a long time, there was no easy way to compare all of these huge car insurance companies. You’d have to check one site and then jump to another and put in all of your information all over again. Drivers would be stuck doing all the work to save money. Now, fortunately, all that has changed. Thanks to Provide Savings™, it is now so much easier to find the information you need. Just like Expedia or Orbitz saves you money on travel and flights, Provide Savings™ saves you money on car insurance.

Solar; Energy

Texas Homeowners Use New Solar Program to Go Solar at No Cost. Here’s How… Installing solar panels can cost the average Texas homeowner $25,000, making it too expensive for most people to go solar. The good news is that a new state-funded initiative wants to change that. This new program aims to help middle class homeowners make the switch to solar at no upfront cost through rebates and incentives.

Thanks To Google, Now There’s an Awesome Tool That Can Help You Switch to Solar Panels Project Sunroof, an online tool that helps people assess the costs and benefits of installing rooftop solar panels. Using their extensive mapping data, paired with weather pattern information, and potential shadow obstruction, Project Sunroof tells customers how much money they could save by switching to solar. It’s as easy as entering your address and average monthly electric. The program will then give your estimated costs and savings if you switch to solar. It’ll also direct you to the nearest solar provider so you can get started!

Project Sunroof

House Temperature

Part of email from Organic Bytes:

Many also keep their homes too warm at night, especially their bedrooms. Time Magazine cites a study in the journal Diabetes, which "suggests that simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep." This has to do with your so-called brown fat, which helps keep your body warm by burning stored fat. Brown fat also plays a role in regulating blood sugar.

According to the article:

"Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: A neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they were able to lose belly fat.)"

Moreover, keeping the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees Fahrenheit will help optimize your sleep. Research shows the optimal temperature for sleep is actually as low as 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will interfere with your sleep.


How to Clean Grease From Kitchen Cabinet DoorsGrease stains have a tendency to go unnoticed, allowing them to build up to seemingly impossible proportions. This grime can damage the wood of your cabinets if allowed to remain for a long period of time. However, as unpleasant as these stains may seem, they are easily remedied. Try the most gentle method first and if necessary, move to more aggressive solutions until you find the best formula for your situation.

Mix 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap with 2 cups of warm water and scrub the cabinet with a clean cloth, following the grain of the wood. Rinse the area clean with a sponge, and dry it with a clean towel.

Sprinkle baking soda onto a clean damp cloth and scrub the cabinet. Rinse with a clean sponge, and dry the area with a clean dry towel.

Add 1 cup white vinegar to the Dawn dish soap and water mixture. The solution is now 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons dish soap and 1 cup white vinegar.

If you need to be still more aggressive, add half a cup of borax to the dish soap, vinegar and water mix. Repeat the scrubbing action with a soft cloth and wipe with a dry cloth.


Black Pepper Will Change How You Do Laundry Forever Add a teaspoon to the wash cycle (along with your regular detergent) the next time you’re doing a load of colors. Set the water temperature to cold.

How it works: The abrasiveness of the pepper exfoliates the soap residue that causes clothing to fade. Then it just washes away with the rinse cycle.

How to Make Washing Soda Washing soda is a chemical compound that can be used to remove stubborn stains from laundry. It's commonly used in homemade laundry detergents and dish detergents, and is known for its stain-lifting abilities. Washing soda can be bought at most big box stores in the United States, but isn't widely available around the rest of the world. The good news is that you can make your own washing soda using one ingredient, and it is extremely inexpensive.

Things You'll Need

Baking soda
Baking dish

Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Add Baking Soda to a Baking Dish
Pour your desired amount of baking soda into a baking dish. Make as much or as little as you want.

Step 3: Bake
Cook the baking soda in the oven for one hour, making sure to stir around several times while cooking.

Step 4: Remove from Oven and Store
At this point, the baking soda has broken down and the water has been cooked out. You now have washing soda. Carefully remove from oven and allow to cool. Once the washing soda has cooled, store it in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

11 Ways to Wash Clothes in Vinegar Put versatile vinegar to work in the laundry room to brighten colors, kill odors and eliminate tough stains. A staple in any homemade cleaning arsenal, distilled white vinegar is a multitasking must-have for your laundry routine. The inexpensive ingredient is an effective natural cleaner and is safe to use on everything from towels and sheets to delicates and baby's clothing.

For a laundry boost, add 1/2 cup of vinegar to clothes before washing. It can help your detergent work more effectively as well as protect colors from fading and dissolve the dulling residue that soap and detergents can leave behind on clothes. The result is brighter colors.

Replace expensive commercial fabric softeners with white distilled vinegar. Vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener that softens clothes without leaving any residue. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle.

Dryer sheets will be a thing of the past! Add 1/2 cup of vinegar in the final rinse cycle of each wash load to prevent static cling.

Eliminate Soap Residue: The acetic acid in white vinegar breaks down any soap residue that may have built up on clothing, towels, blankets and sheets. This residue can irritate sensitive skin, especially in babies and young children. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to eliminate soap buildup.

Add 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse cycle when washing towels, sheets and blankets. This will remove all soapy buildup that has accumulated over time and leave your towels softer and fluffier than they have been in a long time.

Minimize Lint and Pet Hair: Not only will vinegar reduce static cling, but it will also help minimize lint and pet hair build up. Adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle will help keep lint and pet hair from clinging to fabrics.

Whiten Whites: Keep white clothes white and remove yellow or dingy stains with vinegar. To prevent stains, add 1 1/2 cups of vinegar to the last rinse cycle in a load of white clothing.

To remove stains, bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 cup of vinegar. Remove pot from heat and add your whites. Soak overnight, then wash as usual.

Stain Treatment: Don't cry over spilled coffee. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar in the laundry room to pretreat coffee, wine, soda, chocolate and jelly stains. Apply vinegar to stains on washable 100% cotton, polyester and permanent press cotton fabrics until saturated. Let the fabric absorb the vinegar for 10 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft brush and launder according to care tag instructions. For accidental deodorant stains, saturate one corner of a washcloth with vinegar and gently wipe away stains.

Eliminate odors: Vinegar is great for eliminating funky odors and even works on smoke or mildew smells. Add 1 cup white vinegar to the last rinse cycle to deodorize an entire load.

Forgot to take clothes out of the washer and now they smell sour? No problem! Run the load again with hot water and add 2 cups of vinegar. Then wash again with detergent to get rid of the musty odor.

Prevent Fading: Brightly colored clothing tends to run in the wash (hello, pink socks!). You can prevent fading and extend the life of colored clothes by making them colorfast before washing. Soak new colored clothing in solution of one part vinegar and one part water for 20 minutes to prevent them from bleeding in the wash. Test on an inconspicuous spot before immersing fabric and then launder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wash Delicates: Use vinegar instead of detergent to hand-wash delicates and swim suits. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to a sink full of lukewarm water and soak delicates for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Clean Your Washing Machine: Soap residue and mineral deposits can build up in your washer’s barrel, dispensers and hoses. Remove soap scum and freshen your washing machine by adding 1 cup of vinegar to an empty washing machine and running it through a normal wash cycle without clothes once a month.

Pour the vinegar into any automatic detergent or fabric softener dispensers to remove any soapy residue that has accumulated in there as well.

Laundry articles Ehow


THE EASIEST WAY TO CLEAN UP BROKEN GLASS What you need: A slice of bread (or bagel, your call) What you do: First, carefully pick up large glass pieces by hand. Then for the smaller, hard-to-get ones, place the soft part of the bread on top of the shards and gently press down.

How does it work? The porous surface acts like a sponge for any and all splinters and fragments. It's the best thing since...well, you know.

Pure Green 100% natural latex mattress topper review it's not always necessary to replace the entire mattress in order to refresh our beds. Sometimes, a mattress topper is all that's required to bring a whole new level of comfort and support to our nightly slumber, and if you'd like a more eco-friendly option than the uber-popular 'memory foam' toppers, one great choice is a 100% natural latex topper.

Clearing Clutter

Slideshow: Bust Your Clutter

Entry Hall Dump

It's clutter ground zero: raincoats, purses, backpacks, and gym bags.

What It May Mean: Your family is distracted and eager to move on to the next activity when they get home. So they simply drop things as they walk in the door.

Think of the foyer as a launching pad, not a dumping ground. Leave only things that are ready to go out the door.

Overstuffed Pantry

You can cram a lot of stuff in there -- cookie sprinkles, low-fat snack bars, industrial-sized bottles of ketchup -- even though it's probably hard to find what you need. You may even forget what's in there.

What It May Mean: You're an impulse buyer -- you like to try new things or you can't resist a bargain. Or you buy foods you want to or think you should eat, but you never eat them.

Prune the Pantry

  • Check dates and get rid of foods that have expired.
  • Think like a grocer: Group foods by type and label the shelves. Put things that you would use together, like baking supplies, in a box or basket that you can find easily.
  • Check the pantry when you make a shopping list. Don't buy spaghetti sauce until you've used the jars you already have, even if it's on sale. Stick to your list when you shop.

e-Mail Mountain

Snail mail clutter, like email inbox clutter, is often about putting off decisions, organizers say. You need to decide what to do with each piece, which takes time.

You can sort and shred, but it's easier to cut down on mail... Snap a cell phone photo of junk mail you want to stop. There are free apps that can cancel it for you.

What about those piles of catalogs, with pages you've marked for things you'd like to buy? Take a photo of the page instead.

Less Is More on the Frig Door

First, take down everything. Put mementos in a bag for two weeks. If you find you can live without them, discard.

Move reminders like dry cleaning tags to your car or wallet. Once a week, like when you get gas, go through them and toss out the ones you don't need.

Rotate magnets, photos, and artwork so you see them with a fresh eye.

Bathroom Counter Chaos

How many bottles of conditioner or lipsticks in the same shade can a person use at once? Limit it to one of each item per person.

Give each person a shower tote or basket for his stuff. Keep them in cubbies or cabinets.

Arrange things that must be within easy reach on a tray to make bathroom cleaning easier.

Make a rule: No one opens a new shampoo or other product until she finishes the one she already has.

The Junk-Heaped Garage [Shop]

Find a good home for items you won't use again. If you're not sure about something, put it in a box, tape it up, and date it. If you don't need to use it in 18 months, get rid of it.

Use shelves to hold bulk supplies.

Borrow or rent costly gear for a new hobby until you know you'll stick with it. Before you buy more seasonal decorations, check to see if you have room to store them.

Beloved Junk Drawer

Everyone's got one. Some people have one in each room. Many people love their junk drawer. It's home to all kinds of random things: batteries, birthday candles, stray buttons and tacks, change from various countries, stamps, tools, take-out menus, receipts, SIM cards, stamps, flash drives, and rubber bands.

There's no need to get rid of your junk drawer. But clear it out when it gets too crazy to be useful:

  • Take everything out and pile similar items together. Get rid of things like expired coupons and spare keys that you can’t identify.
  • Buy a plastic tray with dividers, or repurpose baby wipes or cigar boxes, mint tins, and mesh bags. Group similar items together. This can be a fun job for children on a rainy day.

Coffee [Grounds]

What to do with Leftover Coffee Grounds Your coffee grounds are great for all sorts of things, from cooking and cleaning to gardening.

Clean Your Grill, Pots and Pans

Abrasive coffee grounds are great for scrubbing greasy grills, pots and pans. Put grounds on a rag and gleefully scrub away, knowing you're using a natural product to eliminate hard-to-clean grime.

Add Grounds to Your Compost Pile

If you keep a compost pile, add the grounds to help improve the soil you use for your plants. Serious Eats says, "Worms love the stuff: They'll munch your day-old coffee happily, turning it into black gold by digesting it and producing nutrient-rich castings."

Use Them as Fertilizer for Your Plants

Speaking of which, as an organic fertilizer, coffee grounds improve "drainage, water retention and aeration in soil." Mixing grounds directly into soil helps plants get essential elements like phosphorus and potassium without the use of chemical fertilizers. Be sure to rinse the naturally acidic grounds first, however, or add them to compost before using them in soil.

Rid Your Hands of Garlic and Onion Smells

Oniony and garlicky odors like to linger on the hands. If you find yourself struggling to completely rid yourself of the gnarly stench, try rubbing your hands with coffee grounds when you're finished handling these pesky alliums.

Keep a Bowl in Your Fridge to Eliminate Odors

Just as coffee can remove the stubborn smells from your hands, so too can it rid your refrigerator of lasting odors. Dry out leftover grounds, stick them in a bowl in your fridge and say so long to whatever food smells are creeping around in there.

Hide Scratches on Your Furniture

Coffee's naturally dark color makes it perfect for hiding scratches on wood tables, chairs or other furniture. Let the grounds sit for up to 10 minutes to stain unwanted marks, then wipe away with a rag for a more polished appearance with almost no effort.

Mattress, Sheets, Pillow

How Casper Became a $100 Million Company in Less Than Two Years everyone needs a mattress, meaning the $14 billion industry was ripe for reinventing. Enter Casper, the online bed-in-a-box maker that launched in April 2014. The concept was simple: Produce the best mattress possible at an affordable price, sell a single model, and deliver it quickly, for free, with a 100-day trial period. It worked: Casper had sales of $1 million in its first month.

In the beginning, it was "Let's disrupt the mattress industry. It's broken." That quickly morphed into "Let's invent an industry around sleep." My father is a sleep doctor, and I went to a year of medical school. The mattress industry is a racket. You walk into a store expecting a confusing experience, but you don't expect the 35 models offered to be basically the same product with different labels. It's worse than buying a used car--at least there you have data points like horsepower, air conditioning, and a Carfax report. But who knows how many springs are good for you?

After eight months of testing hundreds of mattress types, we learned that people need similar things, like back support, so we decided to make one mattress. Memory foam is super supportive, but it gets hot and it's not very bouncy, so we added a layer of open-cell latex foam, which keeps you cool and adds just the right bounce. We're the first company to put memory foam and latex together and have a patent pending.

I lived in a fourth-floor walkup and realized there was no way to get a queen-size bed up our stairs easily. We said, "What if we could compress a mattress to fit into a box the size of a dorm refrigerator?" This way, we can deliver it via UPS so it costs us a 10th of the price to ship. Plus, people can test the mattress in their homes. You have 100 days to try our mattress. If you don't like it, we'll come get it for free. Now, a few companies do this, but not long ago most stores required a several-hundred-dollar restocking fee.

Our return rate is low, and we try to donate those mattresses to a local charity, which is more cost-effective than taking them back halfway across the country to refurbish and resell.

People usually buy a mattress about every eight to 10 years. Most companies don't care who you are--they've made their sale. For us, that's the start of a long-term relationship. Half of our customers talk to someone in-house. The questions are technical, as in "Do I need a box spring?" (No.) "Does it work on this type of bed frame?" (Yes.) We use every conversation to learn something about the customer. We know how long you've had your bed, and if you have kids or a pet. We keep track of all that, and then send people anniversary gifts, or dog beds. It's not about just selling you a bed. It's "How do I make this person our biggest advocate?"

There are many more ways to create an ideal sleep environment. The day after we launched, we started working on pillows and sheets. We questioned how both are produced and then made prototypes. We tried 100 different densities of materials for pillows, including buckwheat, and had cus­tomers try many of them. It took 16 months to come up with one pillow that works for everyone.

We did a similar process with our sheets and found most people want them to breathe well and last a long time. We've been taught to believe that 1,000-thread-count hotel collection sheets are what everyone wants. It turns out, the more threads, the more filler fiber, which means the sheets are going to sleep really hot. Our perfect balance is 90 threads one way, 110 the other.

Casper Mattress Queen is $850. Pillow is $75.


6 Surprising Foods You Don't Need to Refrigerate Jams and Jellies Don't Need to Go in the Fridge

Butter Does Not Go in the Fridge--Butter is mostly fat, with a very small amount of protein, not enough to support the growth of bacteria. Salted butter, by the way, has an even longer shelf life... Butter can go rancid if exposed to oxygen, light and heat, just like we talked about with peanut butter.

How to Ditch Your Air Conditioner Without Melting Draw the curtains.. can reduce heat gains by 33 percent.

Close the blinds.. can reduce heat gains by 45 percent.

Pantry, Kitchen

Why Open Shelving Makes for a Better Pantry Use these seven ideas to create the most organized pantry with open shelving.

Pantry Organizers You Need.

Organize Your Pantry by Zones Zoning your pantry helps you see what food you have, what you need to restock, and where the groceries belong.

How to Organize a Kitchen

Fruit Flies

6 DIY Ways to Fight Fruit Fly Invasions They’re not just icky—in fact, fruit flies can be a serious health hazard. Research has shown that the insects can transmit pathogens like E. coli to fresh foods. In other words, even one fruit fly in the kitchen can put you at risk for foodborne illnesses.

Even worse, a fruit fly problem can escalate quickly. Females can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, which hatch within three days. Pretty soon, those two little flies have spawned into an entire army.


First, figure out what’s attracting the flies. They can congregate on overripe or damaged fruit left out on countertops, around dirty garbage bins, in a garbage disposal that hasn’t been run in a while, and even on damp sponges. Put fresh produce away in the fridge—bananas or other fruit that shouldn’t be refrigerated can be stored in a container with a lid. Thoroughly clean any part of the kitchen where you see flies congregating.


Flies don’t like all fresh foods—in fact, a few herbs will actually repel them. Lavender stalks (or even a few drops of lavender essential oil) in a small dish on the counter will ward them off. Rue will work as well, although it can be a little trickier to find.


It’s time to get crafty. Grab a mason jar, tall glass, or slim-necked bottle and fill it with fruit fly bait. They seek out sugar, so try:

  • Chopped overripe fruit
  • Juice or soda
  • Leftover wine
  • Apple cider vinegar

Roll a piece of paper into a cone with a very small opening at the point and tape it together. This is the funnel, which goes in the top of the trap. The flies will zoom inside toward that intoxicating sweet smell, but won’t be able to escape.

Once you’ve caught several flies, you’ll need to kill them before you dispose of the trap. Make a solution of warm water and dish soap, then, working quickly, remove the funnel and pour it in. Dump out the contents and thoroughly clean the container you used.


You can make another variation of the same trap with a small bowl and plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with any of the bait options above, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Poke miniscule holes in the plastic with a toothpick or the tines of a fork—you want the flies to be able to enter but not get out.

When you’re ready to dispose of the trap, remove the plastic wrap and pour in the same dish soap solution. You may want to do this outside so the flies don’t escape into your kitchen.


Don’t want to wait around for a trap to work? Fill a spray bottle with 70 percent rubbing alcohol and then spritz directly on flies—it’ll knock them right out of the air. Spray once more, to make sure they’re dead, then sweep them into the trash.


When you have a full-blown invasion on your hands, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Aunt Fannie’s is known for their food-based cleaning and pest solutions, and for good reason. Their fruit fly traps use a blend of natural ingredients and a specialty industrial-strength vinegar that flies find intoxicating. Just pick up a trap, open the lid, and wait—it’s that easy.

Once the flies touch the liquid inside the open jar, it disables them and actually starts to break down their exoskeleton. (Brutal, but effective.) Next, they’ll start to sink, effectively drowning any flies that are still alive. Even better, the trap is totally self-contained, so there’s no need for clean-up afterward!

6 tips to freeze food like a pro


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Tidy House Tips

8 clever tactics for keeping your house tidy Learning a few new habits can make it a lot easier to stay on top of the daily mess at home. Cleaning the house is one thing, but staying on top of daily clutter and messiness is another task altogether.

1. Have an upstairs/downstairs bin. “Families may wish to employ a bin or basket system, where everyone in the house gets assigned a basket, and their items get placed in the basket.”

2. Hands Full--Use your hands to their full capacity. When you leave a room, fill your arms/hands with items that need to be moved elsewhere, saving you the trip later. Drop it off in the correct place.

3. Donation Bin--Always have an empty box or sturdy shopping bag on hand for unwanted goods. That way, any time you come across something you no longer like or use, you can put it directly into the donation bin, rather than allowing it to return into household circulation.

4. Be a ‘ruthless reader.’ If you subscribe to magazines or newspapers, toss them in the recycling bin as soon as you’re done with them... Resist the urge to stockpile issues, and if there’s something of real interest, take a picture of it on your phone.

5. Use snippets of time to tidy. Never underestimate the power of a few short minutes to get ahead with a task. Whether it’s waiting a minute for the microwave to reheat your coffee or oatmeal, a commercial break on TV, take advantage of these moments to do a quick tidy, wipe-down, or load some plates into the dishwasher. It all adds up.

6. Try the 40/20 rule. Work for 40 minutes, do housework for 20. Repeat all day long. You can do a lot of chores in only 20 minutes, and it also gives you a mental break from working.

7. Switch out dirty towels and cloths immediately. Don’t let smelly washcloths, dish towels, or hand towels linger.

8. Keep a laundry basket in the bedroom.

Solar Air Conditioning

Solar powered air conditioning is finally here, and it's totally boring Instead of fancy new technology, it's all about combining improved efficiency with low cost solar panels.

Keeping the Home Cool

10 overlooked low-tech ways of keeping your home cool Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter) Design / Sustainable Product Design July 7, 2009

Summer is here and the air is full of the the sound of whining air conditioners, all seriously sucking kilowatts. Yet much of that air conditioning load could be reduced or the air conditioning season shortened if we did simple things, many of them common before air conditioning was common in North America. Here are some low-tech tips for keeping cool.

The best ideas are those that keep the heat out of your home in the first place, rather than paying to pump it out after it gets in.

1. Use awnings

According to the Washington Post, The Department of Energy estimates that awnings can reduce solar heat gain—the amount temperature rises because of sunshine—by as much as 65 percent on windows with southern exposures and 77 percent on those with western exposures. Your furniture will last longer, too.

2. Plant a tree

I don't own an air conditioner. The house immediately to the south does it for us, completely shading the south side of our house. What it misses, a huge ancient maple in its front yard gets, so in winter I get a lot of sun in my window, and in summer I am always in shade. A tree is as sophisticated as any electronic device around

3. Plant vines

Frank Lloyd Wright once said "a doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines." It turns out he could have been a mechanical engineer, for it is surprising how effective vines are at keeping a house cool.

Vines such as ivy, Russian vine and Virginia creeper grow quickly and have an immediate effect; according to Many complain that vines can ruin buildings, dig out mortar or cause wood to deteriorate, but it depends on the vines and the building.

Climbers can dramatically reduce the maximum temperatures of a building by shading walls from the sun, the daily temperature fluctuation being reduced by as much as 50%.Together with the insulation effect, temperature fluctuations at the wall surface can be reduced from between –10°/14°F to 60°C/140°F to between 5°C/41°F and 30°/86°F. Vines also cool your home through envirotranspiration

4. Tune your windows

The windows on your home are not just holes in the wall that you open or close, they are actually part of a sophisticated ventilation machine. It is another "Oldway"—People used to take it for granted that you tune them for the best ventilation, but in this thermostat age we seem to have forgotten how.

For instance, everyone knows that heat rises, so if you have high windows and open them when it hot inside, the hot air will vent out. But it can be a lot more sophisticated than that.

When air passes over your home, it works the same way as it does over an airplane wing: the Bernoulli effect causes the air on top and on the downwind side of the house to be at a lower pressure than on the upwind side. So if you have double hung windows, you can open the bottom section of the upwind side of the house and the upper section of the downwind side, and the low pressure will suck the air through your house. Make the outlet openings larger than the inlet opening, it increases the draft. That is why I love double hung windows; they offer the most flexibility and options.

Others say that casement windows are best because they can open up to 100%; double hungs can never be open more than 50%. However I have seen studies (which I cannot find) that show that double hung windows actually work better because of the many options in setting them.

5. Get a ceiling fan

work on the same principle, that moving air evaporates moisture from your skin and keeps you cooler.

they can save you some cash since they operate at a fraction of central and window air-conditioning units (and they can work great in tandem with your A/C if global warming has you sweating it out). As Energy Star reminds us, ceiling fans help keep you cool, rather than cooling the entire room. So there is no point in leaving them on if you leave the room

6. Paint your roof

In much the same way that more ice/snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat the way the oceans do (think: feedback loop that results from melting polar ice caps), cities are now giving white roofs a second look as a way to cool cities and fight climate change. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Climate Change Research Conference, held this week, advised that if buildings and road surfaces in 100 of the largest cities in the US were covered with lighter and heat-reflective surfaces the savings could be massive.

White Roofs to Sweep the World, Fight Climate Change It's long been known that white roofs reflect more heat back into space, reducing the amount of electricity used for A/C and thus drastically cutting down on energy consumption. Some estimates say they save billions of dollars annually. And they've just gotten their most public, most official shout out yet--Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu has recommended that the world should try to have "white roofs everywhere to help fight climate change"--remarks that were carried in hundreds of news wires around the world.According to Bloomberg,

Painting flat roofs of homes and commercial buildings white would reflect more of the sun's heat back to space and reduce electricity used for air conditioning by as much as 15 percent, Chu told reporters today in London, citing research by Arthur Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission.

It's such a simple concept that some states, like California, have already mandated commercial buildings be constructed with white roofs. But paler colors shouldn't be restricted to flat roofed commercial buildings, either:

For sloping roofs that are more visible than flat ones, Chu said paints known as "cool colors" are being developed. Those hues look like colors in the visible spectrum while reflecting a bigger portion of infra-red light, he said. Roads can also be made paler, he said.

How To Help Prevent Global Warming With Your Roof roughly 3 per cent of the Earth's land surface is covered with buildings.

Cool Roofs The EPA says over 90% of the roofs in the United States are dark colored. A dark roof absorbs heat, leading to more need for cooling or air conditioning. The alternative is a "cool roof" — a roof that does two important things: it reflects solar energy, and it also radiates heat away after it is absorbed.

Of course, one other alternative is to use a "green roof", which is even better than a cool roof.

7. Install operable shutters or external blinds

The best way to deal with unwanted solar gain is to keep it out in the first place. One can do that with properly designed overhangs or bris soleil, which keep out the sun in summer but are designed to let it in during winter. However this is not very flexible. Another option is the exterior blind, quite common in Europe or Australia but expensive and hard to find in North America, where upfront cost always loses out to operating cost.

Shutters really are the most amazing overlooked technology. They provide ventilation, security, shading and storm protection in one simple device.

8. Get an attic fan

A lot of people run expensive air conditioning when it is actually pretty cool out- after the sun has been baking a California house all day it can be cool in the evening but the house is still holding a couple of hundred thousand BTUs of heat. In more temperate parts of the country, just moving the air and having good ventilation could eliminate the need for AC much of the time.

9. Don't cook hot food inside

There is a reason our ancestors built summer kitchens; those stoves put out a lot of heat and you didn't want them in your house in summer. Outside summer kitchens are all the rage in the luxury house/ mcmansion set as well. It really makes no sense to run a stove inside, just to then spend money to run air conditioning to remove the heat again. So get a gas barbecue and grill your vegetables, take advantage of farmers markets to get fresh stuff, and eat lots of salad.

10. Be smart where you put your money and energy

John's graph from the Florida Solar Energy Center says it all. When the weatherization contractors come to get you to insulate your house, (the most expensive thing you can do to save energy) you can show them that this makes no sense, only 7% of the cooling load is coming through the walls. A couple of hours with a caulking gun to reduce infiltration would do more.

When they tell you that you need to install expensive new low-e tinted windows, remember that an awning or a shutter is more sophisticated and flexible; you have the choice whether to let the sun in or not.

Tape up your ducts, turn off your computers and save your money. The simple, low-tech tried and true methods cost less, save more energy and work forever.

More Architectural Tricks To Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning


Cupolas are as functional as they are decorative. As warm air rises cupolas allow hot air to escape at the high points in the house while bringing up cooler air from below. They also create a steady air-flow even when there is no breeze outside. In some homes, cupolas provide soft, indirect sunlight that illuminates the home without bringing in the heat.

Pinterest page on cupolas

Send comments to, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus