Just before Dan and I married in 1973, my college roommates gave me a copy of the book, Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints (Pocket Books, 1972). This paperback reference manual is filled with ideas for making one’s home function more smoothly.
Many of Heloise’s suggestions begin with the words how to: how to remove stains from clothes, how to organize your kitchen cabinets, how to make windows sparkle.
When I was a young bride, I consulted this book fairly often. Now I hold on to it only for sentimental reasons. The cover is faded and creased, and every time I open the book, pages fall out.
I read some of those dried and discolored pages today and found a few suggestions that made me laugh out loud. I will share them with you.
WAX YOUR PETTICOATS (page 91)
I have found the answer to the nylon and cotton petticoats that go limp after washing. Since they have to be ironed anyway, I place waxed paper over the petticoat and press. The wax from the paper transfers to the garment and it looks new again. This is especially good in damp weather when everything goes limp.
TRIM YOUR LIPSTICK, GIRLS (pages 119-120)
If you use a razor blade to slice off the end of your lipstick tube diagonally, it will give you a very sharp outline when applied. It seems to fill out those minute wrinkles and cracks around your lips. Put the discarded lipstick ends in a small jar and use them with your lipstick brush.
QUICK TRICKS (page 124)
When hanging nylons or leotards outdoors to dry, slip a teaspoon into each toe. This prevents the hose from wrapping around the clothesline and getting snagged.
I am no Heloise, but in my 44 years of homemaking, I have discovered some excellent tips that I will now share with you.
Buy and keep in your kitchen a box of disposable, vinyl gloves. I use these gloves whenever I handle raw meat. I am especially glad to have them at Thanksgiving when I am forced to get up close and personal with a tom turkey. I also wear them when I cut up pickles and other smelly foods in order to keep their odors off my hands.
I wear them when I mix meatloaf with my hands and whenever I handle food coloring, such as at Easter when I dye eggs with my grandkids. As an additional bonus, these gloves can be turned into balloons for the grandkids to decorate.
FROZEN CHOPPED ONIONS
Buy and keep in your freezer several bags of frozen chopped or diced onions. I hate chopping onions and have often rejected recipes that directed me to do that. Now I simply take a bag out of the freezer, use as many of the onions as I need, and return the bag to the freezer.
My husband has been heard to say on multiple occasions, “There’s not a thing in this house to eat for lunch but thank goodness we have five bags of onions in the freezer!”
Prepare and stash in several rooms of your house small, decorative boxes containing household items that you reach for daily. These include paper clips, scissors, Scotch tape, sticky notes, a nail file and clippers, a small stapler, a reliable ink pen, a sharp pencil with a good eraser, and a highlighter. Throw in a few Hershey Kisses if you are so inclined.
Now I have those things at hand wherever I am in the house. Before I did this, I often had to get up out of a chair or out of bed to retrieve an item kept in only one room of the house. I have these boxes in my living room near my recliner, in my kitchen, and on two bedside tables.
Of course we all want to wear clean clothes and have a tidy house, but those things are not of highest importance. What is much more important is maintaining loving relationships with the people who share your house with you.
Dan and me, housemates since 1973