Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ingeniousness...Who Woulda Thunk It?!

Disclaimer: The following post includes unorthodox ways to use ordinary things. Please use the common sense God gave you (or borrow someone else's if yours isn't working properly) while experimenting with these ideas. Have fun but be careful and don't blame me if you do something boneheaded. Remember, I'm only the messenger.

Okay, so last week I read the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (Soon to be released as a movie, and I hope they don't mess it up). It was recommended by my neighbor and it was so awesome, I couldn't put it down. You must read this book. Anyway, there was a character in the story who was writing a household hints column for the newspaper. There were some cool (but strange) ideas in the book and it got me thinking...

My great grandmother used all kinds of ordinary things for purposes they weren't originally intended for. So did my mom. Come to think of it, so do I. I started wondering what kind of amazing unconventional wisdom might be floating around out there so I did some extensive research (okay, I played around on the internet while everyone else was asleep) and I was blown away. There are so many sites out there, some which I will share with you later, that have some great (and some ridiculous) household tips and ideas. Here are some from my own little bag of tricks:
  • Using white vinegar to immediately relieve the pain of minor burns or wasp stings. 
  • Use toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean fine jewelry. It's abrasive and rinses clear. Works!
  • Meat tenderizer to take the sting out of bug bites. (Got that one from Grandma).
  • Weiman stainless steel cleaner to polish granite counter tops and to clean the stove top surface.
  • A potato cut in half to get a broken light bulb out of the socket. (Also in the book The Help).
  • Duct tape to remove lint. (Everybody knows that one.)
  • An (unused) fingernail brush instead of expensive microdermabrasion kits. Use with your everyday cleanser as a cheap and excellent exfoliator! 
  • Baby oil as makeup remover and to lubricate squeaky hinges. (WD-40 stinks and I can never find it.)
Here are some tips shared by loyal LLK readers:
  • Hope uses Hydrogen Peroxide to treat blemishes. I've heard that works on cold sores, too.
  • Celia uses toothpaste on blemishes, too.
  • Keith uses a step stool as a laptop desk (cool!) Other hints from Keith: Coathanger and foil in lieu of a TV antenna, olive oil for hair conditioning, and a sliced potato as a deodorant. (huh?)
  • Speaking of the ever-versatile potato, Meg suggests using sliced potato to reduce bruising and swelling on boo boos and white vinegar to replace most common househould cleaners. (Smelly but effective).
  • Karen uses butter to remove tree sap or gum.
  • Barbara uses newspaper to clean glass or mirrors without streaking
  • Jill uses olive oil to reduce pain from ear infections (she says her pediatrician recommends this) and alcohol in the crook of the arms to reduce fever.
The list goes on and on. There's even a guy on one website I saw who turned tennis balls into ear protectors. Look:

So...he gets big points for ingenuity but we must unfortunately subtract a few style points, wouldn't you say?

Yes, we as a species can be pretty inventive and innovative. Sometimes with great results but sometimes it's just plain funny and in some unfortunate cases, disastrous. I'm sharing some of my 'resources' with you because I learned some pretty cool stuff while writing this post. You may have noticed that I left out the things that my husband might have contributed because although he has most definitely 'engineered' some pretty unconventional but useful things...frankly, I'm still not sure I'm completely on board with some of his 'unique' practices and ideas. Nothing personal and not to take away from his awesomeness or anything, you understand. Oh, wait...there is one awesome idea he came up with that we use all the time and it works great. He hooks up the air compressor to a big tote full of river water while we are fishing. Kind of an outdoor aquarium. The kids keep the fish we've caught in there so we can keep count of them (and so Mattie can torture them by 'petting' them). They are released unharmed and fully oxygenated at the end of the day. Good one, Dave. Who Woulda Thunkit?

Enjoy these links, I sure did. (this one makes me laugh until my stomach hurts).



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