The drudgery of cleaning small-necked decanters and antique apothecary bottles can be avoided. One easy solution: Fill the bottles with water, drop in a tablet or two of a denture cleaner such as Efferdent, let stand overnight, then scrub with a narrow nylon brush.
Candlelight may be romantic, but there's nothing lovely about prying or scraping melted votives out of their holders. Not only is it ineffective; you also risk scratching or breaking the delicate glass. Instead, try this trick: Place the glass candleholders in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, the wax will shrink just enough to pop right out.
When it comes to mildew, prevention gives you the upper hand. So be sure to keep surfaces clean, improve air circulation, and reduce dampness (for example, don't bunch wet towels). In poorly ventilated basements, install open shelving, use a dehumidifier and fan, and store items in airtight plastic containers with desiccants (such as silica gel). In musty closets, leave an incandescent lightbulb on to dry the air, or hang packets of desiccants.