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Orange You Glad      

I once accidentally bought thin metal spoons from the dollar store, and now I’m always reaching for them
Orange You Glad

We eat lots of oranges in the winter, and since I don’t like peeling them, I usually cut them. While that makes them easy to eat, it can take an extra minute or two. I discovered that if you cut into the orange with a metal spoon about halfway up the orange, then slide the spoon around the orange, you can effectively peel it without getting pith under your nails.

One more tip about metal spoons: I once accidentally bought thin metal spoons from the dollar store, and now I’m always reaching for them. They are especially useful when I need a cross between a spoon and a knife, for example, when I’m scooping out an avocado or need to cut soft vegetables neatly. This orange hack is another time I use those cheap spoons; they’re rounded like a spoon but thin like a knife, so it works really well for peeling an orange!


Fan Plans

Are your ceiling fans in sync with the seasons? Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to alternate the fan direction from clockwise to counterclockwise.

In the winter, you want the fan turning clockwise so the air is pulled upwards. This results in more even air distribution and the warm air is equally dispersed.

In the summer, fans should turn counter clockwise so there’s a downdraft that will cause the room to feel cooler.


What’s She Saying?

If you’re on the phone a lot, or if you’re adverse to voice notes, this app is for you. Voicepop transliterates voice notes into text without you having to listen to them. It’s not 100 percent accurate (especially with all the non-English words in our vocabulary), but you get the gist of the message, which is usually very helpful.


Measure for Measure

I’ve taken so many measurements with a tape measure, awkwardly trying to bend the tape and get the plastic dispenser out of the way. If only I’d learned this sooner! Every measuring tape has a measurement printed on the back. That’s the length of the tape measure itself. Just add that measurement to the final measurement, and you’re all set.


The Mayo Must

Disposable spoons don’t seem to take peanut butter jars and mayo containers into consideration. Enter the extra-long disposable “Ice Cream” spoon — it allows you to scoop out mayo without ever getting your hands dirty.

$14 for 100 spoons on Amazon


Fold Up

You want to save those grocery bags, but they take up so much space! I learned this bag-folding trick from Mrs. Suri Schwimmer, who is a Balabusta Boss (in the coming months, we’ll be lucky enough to have Suri Schwimmer join us in this column to offer household hacks and lots of secret cleaning tips).

Here’s how this one works: Flatten the plastic grocery bags as much as possible, paying attention to flattening the seams. Next, fold the bags length wise, about six to seven folds. Then, starting at the bottom, fold the corner up as a triangle shape, all the way up till you hit the top of the bag. When almost done, tuck the last bit under the fold so it stays tightly tucked in. Enjoy the satisfaction of looking at a drawer filled with these neat triangles!


Holes at Home

A trip to the shoemaker to get holes added to a leather watch band is one of those errands that kept getting bumped down the to-do list. I realized there has to be a way to do it at home. I ordered a leather band hole puncher on Amazon for $8.50. And for the cost of two or three holes at the shoemaker, I can do it myself any time any of us needs a band adjustment!

There’s also a tool for link bands that one can purchase on Amazon, and similar tools available from AliExpress.


Pick Our Brains

Q: Which cleaning hack saves you the most time?


Esty Heller responds:

A:  I have beautiful white calacatta high gloss tiles. They are babies, each and every 36”x36” one of them. You need to wash them, preferably first with a delicate cleaning agent, then with plain water, and then you need to wipe them dry. Individually, or else they dry too soon and leave streaks. And I’m allergic to streaks.

After experimenting with Mop & Glo, ammonia, and don’t laugh, Pantene conditioner (thanks, Chanie S., nothing makes a floor shine as well), I’d had it. I needed a quick method to clean it.

One night, out of lack of time/laziness, I made a shmatteh wet and squeezed the water out. I vigorously ran this damp shmatteh over the floor. It doesn’t give me that gleaming floor, but it’s decent enough and saves me a lot of time and energy.


Not Too Permanent

Here’s how to get permanent marker out of everything:

Fabric: use rubbing alcohol or anything alcohol based

Leather: use white vinegar

Carpet: use hairspray (oil-free)

Plastic: use oil

Skin: use makeup remover wipes

Wood furniture: use toothpaste, or toothpaste mixed with baking soda


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 781)

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