If you have ever polished off an entire bag of those little tiny crunchy cookies in peace, you do not have small children. Or made a quick detour through you-know-which-drive-thru-I’m-talking-about to indulge in your very own large size hot French fries, for sure you’re miles away from the nearest kid.

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Because I can promise you—and I know this from personal experience—kids can smell a treat from miles away and they want in on it. I don’t know where kids get this sixth sense. It must be inborn.

Lucky for you, children haven’t figured out the value of fun and useful time- and money-saving tips, so consider this your lucky day. You can have these treats all to yourself.

PAY WITH CASH AT AMAZON. I use cash to purchase Amazon gift card at my supermarket. Then I use it to do my online shopping. This way, my identity is safe, I am not shopping on credit and I can’t over shop because the gift card is limiting to the exact amount that remains on it after each purchase. This guarantees I’m creating no new debt. That means happy and safer shopping. Lysa D.

CUBBIES FOR ALL. Need to tidy up your mud room or entry closet? Get a fabric shoe bag with large openings to hang in the closet or over the closet door. But instead of putting shoes in there, use those little cubbies for mittens, hats, scarves, gloves and so forth. Give each person a cubby for his or her stuff. If things start to overflow, there are usually enough cubbies to give some people more than one.  Or, the rule can be that if your cubby overflows, it is time to retire something. This takes up minimal closet space, no shelf space, and the fabric breathes so damp items will dry if they aren’t crammed in too tightly. Julie R.

COOL PAINTING TRICK. Here’s a tip for home painters. When you have rolled your first coat, or are ready for a prolonged break, seal up the paint-soaked roller by rolling it across a square of aluminum foil and tucking in the edges.  You can then set it down anywhere that’s clean and it will be ready to go the next day–or even in a couple of days. The same holds true for paint brushes. Need a break? Just wrap the end of the brush in foil and fold the extended end over, squeezing it tightly to reduce air contact. If you are careful you can use the same piece of foil several times for a brush. Dave M.

FIVE BUCK LIFE EXTENDER. I was pleased to see your recent column on shoe repair. I am rather fussy about buying comfortable shoes. And they can be pricey. So, as soon as I buy shoes I take them to my cobbler to have neoprene taps applied at the outer corners of the heels. This is the place that would normally get worn down, and it extends the shoes’ useful life. When the taps wear out, I have them replaced again. My cobbler does this for $5. Incidentally, I was the third of four children, and in that day, kids wore leather shoes.  My mother regularly had metal caps applied to the toes of our shoes, the part that kids would wear out by scuffing their toes in the dirt when playing on the swing. I didn’t get new shoes very often; they were handed down through all of us children. Lois M.

DISAPPEARING ACT. You can also remove dust from artificial flowers by spraying them with Lysol-type disinfectant. Not sure where the dust goes, but it just disappears. Thanks for all you do for us. Dick I., PhD

FREEBIES GALORE. I just wanted to let you and your readers know that the magnetic containers you referred to in your column about the organized garage can actually be gotten for free. There is a great store called Harbor Freight Tools that regularly sends out discount coupons for 20 percent off along with free items just for coming in the store. The coupons are for such items as tarps, small flashlights, work gloves, magnetic dishes, goggles and on and on. A customer can get one free item per day per purchase. If a couple goes in together, they can get two  freebies as long as they buy two items. The catch is to ring the items separately. Anyone can sign up online to get on the mailing list. You will start getting the newspaper flyer in your mail. Happy organizing. Joann S.

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