Our time-saving tips and tricks will make almost any chore go by faster.
Skip the daylong closet cleanout! Hang a sturdy, extra-large tote bag in a central location or by the back door and let it serve as a collection bin for clothes, housewares, toys, and other items that you decide to give away. When the bag is full, simply grab the handles and take the contents to a local charity.
A pair of canvas bags -- one for laundry, the other for dry cleaning -- eliminates sorting later and makes for easy transport. Clear luggage tags on each indicate the appropriate cleaning method. You can also insert your contact information to streamline drop-offs at the cleaner.
Dropping temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst. If you label the main shutoff valves ahead of time, you'll know exactly which ones to turn off to avert flooding. Print the name of the water source on a peel-off label (or use a personal label maker). Affix the labels to copper plant tags, and wrap them around the appropriate pipes.
Rather than waste time digging around for misplaced receipts and warranty information, stick warranty expiration dates right on appliance boxes so you'll always know when it's safe to throw those cartons away. To store the receipt and warranty slips, place them in a cellophane bag. Write or type the expiration date on a self-adhesive label, and affix it to the bag. Attach the bag to the box with double-sided tape.
Save time and prevent confusion the next time you make the seasonal switch from storm windows to screens. Use a label maker to identify which room and specific frame a screen or storm window fits, or write the information on a strip of painters' tape with a permanent marker. Stick the labels to a top corner of each screen or window.
For quicker cleaning, fill a bucket with basics that need to be toted from room to room: all-purpose and glass-cleaning sprays, a sponge, a toothbrush, a squeegee, a scrub brush, hopsacking, and terry-cloth towels in washcloth and hand-towel sizes. Between tasks, hang rubber gloves over the rim to dry.
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