Chances are good that there’s an old can of car wax hanging out in your garage or basement. Now would be the time to find it, dust it off and hope it’s not all dried out. Of course, car wax is good for waxing a car, but it’s handy in so many other ways around the house that really are quite amazing.

Vintage garage shelf with old cans of car wax, nails, screws and hand drill

Car wax, whether paste or liquid, is formulated to fill scratches and give a high shine to nonporous surfaces like glass or metal and leave them resistant to smudges and stains.

As for which car wax works best, I prefer Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax (about $5) because it cleans, polishes and leaves a beautiful finish—all in one step. Turtle Super Hard Shell Paste Wax (a little more at about $7) is a fine choice too, just know that you’ll need to clean the surface first, then apply the car wax.

DE-FOG MIRRORS. There’s nothing like a nice hot shower to steam up bathroom mirrors. Car wax is the secret to make them fog-free. Apply a small amount to the entire mirror, allow it to dry then buff it away with a soft dry cloth.

SHINY FAUCETS. No matter how water spotted and dull your tub, shower and sink faucets are, car wax will make them look like new—and help them stay that way. Rub a small bit of car wax into all of that metal and allow it to dry for a few minutes. Now just polish it away with a soft dry cloth. The wax will prevent new water spots and keep those fixtures sparkling*.

FIGHT MILDEW. After using your regular cleanser, apply a layer of car wax to the inside and outside of a shower door and buff off with a dry cloth to discourage mildew growth and hard water marks.

FINGERPRINT-FREE APPLIANCES. Tired of smudges and fingerprints all over your beautiful appliances? Apply a thin coat of car wax to stainless-steel fridges and stoves. Buff clean and that surface will resist fingerprints and smudges.

TOOL CARE. Say goodbye forever to rust on garden, garage and auto tools when you apply a coat of car wax to all of the metal parts. Make sure you rub a little wax into the hinges and moving parts to keep them from jamming and sticking.

OUTDOOR GRILL. Apply a good coat of car wax to the outside of the grill to make it shine, repel watermarks and to make it so much easier to clean in the future. Make sure the grill is not in the hot sun when you do this.

MAKE DRAWERS AND WINDOWS EASIER TO OPEN. Rub a dab of car wax onto the tracks of drawers and windows so they’ll slide more smoothly.

SHINY TABLETOPS. Apply car wax to your plastic, laminate and Formica table tops. Wipe it on, wipe it off to a beautiful shine! Read more

If there’s one food that signals the arrival of summer, it’s gotta’ be salad. Backyard gardens everywhere are bursting with beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and basil.

But the same warm sun that nudges produce to perfection can also zap all the energy from the average cook. That’s why we love big, lovely summer salads. We can step away from the hot stove to eat well any night of the week.

big main dish vegetable salad with grilled chicken

And now the problem: How? Where’s the recipe? Truth be told, there really aren’t a lot of specific recipes for entree worthy salads. What we need is a formula of easy-to-remember yet specific steps that will let us use what we have already to create hearty summer meals that even our pickiest eaters will enjoy.

Start with a big bowl

Depending on how many you’ll be serving this may need to be really big. Because salad ingredients are generally low-energy density and high water content, you’re going to lean on volume to fill and satisfy even the hungriest member of the family.  Read more

The only thing I love more than great tips from my readers are the words of love and thanks. Yeah, I’m a sucker for friendship and I value that more than you know.

laptop with mail arriving in form of letters in envelopes.

Just knowing that so many friends are reading these columns every day keeps me going. So whatever you do, keep those tips, great ideas and questions coming

NEUTRALIZE BUG BITES. I read your column every day with much interest. I really enjoy re-affirming the practical life lessons and habits that I have lived by for most of my adult life We are definitely on the same wavelength. I saw the article today with the many uses of Vinegar (acetic acid).

You may not know that a very important use for vinegar is for bites and stings of any kind. Spiders, ants, mosquitoes, all have a venom which can be neutralized very effectively if you can apply a cotton ball soaked with vinegar to the bite as soon after you notice it, as possible. Give the area a good firm rub with the cotton ball—even squeeze it into the bite so it penetrates.

The venom (PH basic) is chemical opposite to the vinegar (PH acid), so the itching and swelling can be reduced or eliminated if caught quickly. Love your blog and your work ethic, keep up the good work. Robert Read more

For many, Memorial Day has pretty much morphed from a day of remembrance to a much anticipated three-day weekend with exciting outdoor events that officially welcome the start of summer. But it’s more than that. In fact, it’s not really about a big blowout holiday weekend at all. It’s about remembering our history and those who’ve gone before.

U.S. history was not something stressed or even talked about in my family growing up. I possessed a general timeline of events but that was about it.

All of that changed for me when I married a man for whom our American history is more than a few facts memorized to get past a final exam.

My husband Harold lives and breathes our nation’s history. He planned our honeymoon around visits to Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields, culminating with an all-day visit to Gettysburg National Military Park.

I was gobsmacked by what I didn’t know. Such an emotionally packed tour I’d never experienced. I learned more that day than I’d learned about our nation’s history in my 16 years of formal education.

That so many gave their lives to preserve this republic filled me with a deep sense of gratitude I’d not known. To be there—to see this battlefield and to visualize what happened was nearly too much to take in.

That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.

– President Abraham Lincoln

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing with friends and family and celebrating the arrival of summer. But I want to challenge you and your family to find a way today that you can pay homage to those who have given their lives for the sake of our country and our freedoms. I have a few suggestions. Read more

My adult children are big on borrowing stuff from their parents. And from time to time they may fail (you know who you are, son) to mention having borrowed something like a Milwaukee Sawzall Reciprocating Saw in its big, bright red case, prompting that son’s father to assume said tool had been stolen after searching the garage high and low for it on a day he had an urgent need for it—further prompting said father to reluctantly make a trip to Home Depot to buy a replacement.

 

This little blast from my past illustrates in an odd way, how not everyone needs to own the same things. My husband uses his Sawzall so frequently, he’s replacing the blade with abandon. But Jeremy? Hardly ever—like maybe once a decade. Harold needs to own this tool. Jeremy is better off borrowing (all is forgiven, by the way).

A story in TIME, Finally, an App That Lets You Borrow a Corgi, made me smile. Seems you can now borrow a dog (and in this case “borrow” means renting by the hour) if you can’t afford one, don’t have room for one, lack the commitment to own one or want to take a particular breed for a test drive as part of the decision-making process.

Many public libraries are becoming a fantastic source for borrowing unusual items you may need only once a year, or even less frequently. Why buy when you can borrow for free? Read more

A couple of weeks ago with all the confidence in the world that winter had passed, I got everything ready for our first outdoor barbecue of the season. The weather was perfect, ditto for the menu.

bbq with sausages and red meat on the grill - male hands holding a plate and taking the meat off the grill before it is too late

 

I pulled the cover off the grill and got a shock—and not of the electrical kind. Actually, I was more embarrassed than anything. The grill was a mess—inside and out. Yuck!

My only explanation is that the cold days of fall prompted me to just throw the cover on while my inner procrastinator assured me that I’d clean it later.

Granted, our new grill is now three years old, but still. A dirty mess? You should have seen me fly into action. I grabbed a spray bottle of homemade degreaser (no time for more heavy duty options) and went to work. In no time at all, it was clean enough and we were back in business.

Assuming I’m not the only one who fails to do a deep clean on the outdoor grill after every use, today I have lots of really great grilling tips and tricks for cleaning and for great grilling, too.

Let’s hear it for summer—let the grilling begin!

Related: Outdoor Grilling that Won’t Bust the Budget Read more

Some of my most valuable life lessons I’ve learned from cars. From the outrageous monthly payments to ghastly repair bills and ridiculous insurance premiums, I know the dilemma of “Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em!”

young man having car trouble

While it didn’t cross my mind while going through so many car miseries that one day my experiences might help others, perhaps that day has come. Let’s just say that what I know about this subject, I’ve learned the hard way.

Dear Mary: I’m in desperate need of some advice. After losing literally everything in a divorce situation, I bought a car about a year ago that I could pay for with cash—a 2002 Camry with more than 200,000 miles.

In the past year, I’ve spent more on repairs than I paid for the car. Every few weeks I seem to have to pay $200-$400 for repairs and that trend continues. I just found out that I need new inner tie rods and struts for the front of the car to keep it drivable and safe. Looming on the horizon is the need to replace the clutch (it’s a manual transmission) and no doubt other things, too.

Related: How to Get Your Perspective Back on Track

At what point do you say enough is enough? I’ve been telling myself that there are only so many things that could go wrong on a car but I’m barely making it financially and if something more expensive happens that I can’t pay for with cash (I don’t even have a credit card) I’m in big trouble. I’m concerned it’ll leave me with no transportation to get to work and even worse, unable to see my kids. Thanks for what you do. Tim Read more

I used to love a good shopping mall. But those days are long gone and I don’t miss them one bit since I’ve discovered the joys and convenience of online shopping. In fact, I’ll do just about anything to avoid having to go inside a mall. Or even a grocery store.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the basic steps of an incredibly easy way to save money shopping online, using a recent purchase I made as an example.

Female hands typing on white computer keyboard

From time to time, I will stop by Chicos.com to check out “New Arrivals.” I’ve been looking for a jacket that would be appropriate for speaking engagements and I must be very picky because for weeks I haven’t seen even one that might be a good candidate.

On this particular day, something catches my eye—a jacket that just might be perfect, except for the $99 price. It’s available in my size and color preference so I put it into my shopping cart. And I leave the site.

(I’ve learned that unless I need an item immediately, putting a few days between the time I put something in the shopping cart, and when I actually check out may turn up any number of incentives to encourage me across the finish line.)

About a week later I return. Bingo! The jacket is still in my shopping cart but with a new reduced price of $41.99. But I don’t buy it. Not yet. Read more