Going on Vacation? Make Your Own Plant Nanny Plus More Great Reader Tips

Every day I get loads of mail including wonderful notes, letters, and email messages from my awesome readers.

Tucked into many of those messages are tips, hints, tricks and great ideas for the ways you save time and money every day. I’m pretty sure I have the best job on earth!

PLANT NANNY. When I go on vacation, I fill bottles with water and push them upside down into my plants—houseplants and outdoor plants as well. The water keeps the plants moist for days! Sophia

I’ve been using Sophia’s tip for several months now, only I’m not on vacation! I fill bottles every couple of days in addition to regular watering. As you can see from the photo above (this is a $12 Walmart plant bowl that was tiny and pretty sick looking when I got it in May), constant watering must be the trick! Especially in the super hot Colorado sun.  -mh

LONG-LASTING CELERY. I don’t use celery a lot except during the holidays. So when I purchase a stalk of celery come November, I use what I need and wrap the rest TIGHTLY in aluminum foil making sure the celery is completely covered then I store it in my refrigerator’s crisper drawer. I then pull it out at Christmas and do the same with leftovers. If completely covered and wrapped tightly, the celery stays fresh and bright like the day I bought it—well into March or April! Terrie

MICROFIBER WONDER. I highly recommend microfiber cloths. I soak one in water, then wring it out so it is nearly dry and use it to clean my glass coffee table, end tables, glass in my dining room table, windows, mirrors, car windows and especially my granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Just wipe! No need use any kind of cleaner or to rinse. To me, microfiber cloths are irreplaceable. Kaye

MORE DRAWER SPACE. After well over 50 years of marriage, and constantly struggling to fit folded clean dish towels and napkins into one of three drawers in my kitchen, a light went on in my brain. I discovered that by folding the towels and the napkins in half the long way and then rolling them up,  I could easily fit many more of each in this one drawer. Phyllis

CHERRY PITTER. You don’t need a special tool to pit cherries if you have a small kitchen funnel. Just turn your funnel upside-down, then press the cherry against the narrow opening to pop the pit out. Easy! Jenn

FISH FOOD FOR ANTS. Several years ago we had a problem with large black ants in my sons’ bedroom. My son also had a fish tank. One day he accidentally spilled a bunch of ordinary goldfish food behind the tank where I couldn’t see it. I noticed a very large number of ants in his room, but the next day they were all dead.  Hundreds of them! Later, the problem returned, and we put out more fish food.  Again they all quickly died. Some of the food must have gotten to the nest because we haven’t seen any ants in that room since. Fish food is meant to go in the water, where it will expand, so my theory is that it expanded in their stomachs and killed them. Julie

OVEN RACK CLEANER. I clean our oven racks with automatic dishwasher detergent. I put the stopper in the bathtub and enough hot water to cover the racks plus 1/4 cup of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent, like Cascade. After an overnight soak, the rack easily came clean with a Scotchbrite sponge.  No scrubbing required!  George

SPARKLING CLEAN WINDOWS. I have discovered a great window washing solution! Pour two gallons of water in a pail with a few drops of blue Dawn, one tablespoon Lemme Shine Dish Detergent Booster and 2 teaspoons Lemme Shine Rinse AidMix well. I washed the windows using this solution and microfiber cloths and hard water spots on the outside of my windows that have been there for years are gone! Judy

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  • Debbie

    Wow, thanks for these, some of them are great! The one about the celery…I throw celery away all the time, so I really appreciate this one.

    And the ants…they come in my kitchen every year! I haven’t yet hit upon anything that they will consistently take that kills them quickly. The last thing I tried was the powdery cat food in the bottom of the bag, mixed with boric acid. They came to it for a little while (less than a day) but then stopped, so I don’t know if it killed them or what. I’m definitely going to try the fish food.

    • lynda

      Do you suppose the cat would try to eat it? I guess in a larger animal the expansion would not hurt.

      • Debbie

        It’s in my house on the kitchen countertop. She is an outside cat. No worries! 🙂

  • lynda

    Is there some kind of stopper for a walk in shower? I don’t have any tubs but there is about a 2″ lip so maybe I could soak in shower.

    • PatriotPeg

      perhaps a flat stopper.

  • PatriotPeg

    i like the celery tip. prox 4 mos ago i was at costco and purchased 6 heads of romaine. i took them from their package and individually wrapped each head. i put them in a debbie meyers green bag. we only have one head left and it is going to be part of a shrimp salad for tonight’s dinner. debbie meyers green bags r available on amazon.

  • PatriotPeg

    thanx for the ant tip. i just bought a gal. of chemicals, but it is unopened. i’m taking it back and buying fish food. wonder if it works for roaches. i live in florida, they call roaches palmetto bugs, and they fly yuk. i will try the fish food first. don’t care for chemicals.