“Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part Eleven

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Here on my blog, I strive to share simple, everyday tips and tricks that can help make life a little bit easier. But sometimes, the tips that I want to share aren’t something I can write a whole blog post about. And since I simply cannot waste a good idea, I tuck them away to use at a later date. Today I’ll be sharing some of those tips and tricks with you in the eleventh edition of my ongoing series “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?”

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

1. Key Ring Helper

Having trouble keeping a key ring open long enough to slip a key onto it? Use a staple remover! Clamp the teeth of the staple remover between the rings near the opening. The teeth of the staple remover will keep the ring open, making it much easier to slip your new key onto the ring!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

2. Color Coded Eggs

If you store hard-boiled eggs in their shells, it can be hard to tell them apart from your raw eggs once you put them in the fridge. Here’s simple tip to help you mark your hard-boiled eggs! When you’re boiling the eggs, just add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the water. The dark-colored vinegar will tint the outside of the eggshells slightly. (But don’t worry, it won’t affect how they taste). Once you put your eggs back in the fridge, you’ll know that the slightly darker eggs are the hard-boiled ones!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

3. Light Candles With Spaghetti

Regular matches often burn up before you can manage to light the wick of a stubborn or deep candle. In these cases, a raw spaghetti noodle can help! Light one end of a piece of spaghetti, and it will burn long enough to light all your tallest or most stubborn candles.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

4. Save Water For Watering

Your house plants, potted plants, and garden need water, but they’re not picky about where it comes from. So save the water you use to boil or steam vegetables, pasta, eggs, and more, and use it to water your plants! (Allow the water to cool to room temperature first, so you don’t accidentally scald your plants.) Reusing your cooking water is a great way to save water overall!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

5. More Popped Popcorn

Tired of all the unpopped kernels at the bottom of your homemade popcorn? Try soaking the kernels in water for a few minutes before you make your popcorn! The water encourages faster popping, so you’ll end up with fewer unpopped kernels after cooking!

Related: 2 Ways To Make Amazing Homemade Popcorn In Your Microwave

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

6. Drip-Free Cones

The next time you’re making ice cream cones for yourself or your kids, stick a marshmallow in the bottom of the cone before adding any ice cream. The marshmallow will help stop any ice cream drips from leaking out the bottom of the cone! Plus it’s an extra treat you get to enjoy once you’re finished with the ice cream. :-)

7. Crystal Clear Mirrors

Use a brown paper bag or a piece of newspaper for cleaning windows and mirrors, rather than using paper towels. Paper bags and newspaper won’t leave behind any lint, and your mirrors and windows will be left clean and streak-free!

Related: 9 Unexpectedly Useful Things You Can Do With A Paper Bag

YouTube video
Save your paper towels for something else.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

8. Easier Taco Assembly

Use a fork to help keep your taco shell in place while you fill it! Just slide the edges of the taco shell between the prongs of a fork, and set the fork down on a flat surface. You’ll be able to scoop your taco fixings into it much more easily!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

9. Toasted Sandwich Tip

In my opinion, the best BLTs have bread that is nicely toasted on the outside but soft on the inside. An easy way to achieve this at home is to toast two pieces of bread in the same toaster slot! The outsides of the bread with get nicely toasted, while the inside stays soft and delicious.

YouTube video
Try this toaster hack for the best BLT!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

10. Quickly Cool Drinks

Need to cool a drink down quickly? Wrap a damp paper towel around the bottle or can, then place the drink in your freezer for a few minutes. Your drink will be cool and ready to sip in a hurry! (Just don’t forget it’s in there, or you run the risk of having to clean up a soda explosion!)

YouTube video
How to speed chill your beverages!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

11. Cleaner Bath Toys

Most bath toys have a hole in the bottom that allows water to get inside. If soapy water gets inside bath toys and stays there, it can get grimy in there over time! An easy way to avoid this is to use a dot of hot glue to seal up the hole. They’ll still float, but you won’t have any issues with mold and mildew growing inside them. (Just make sure your little ones won’t miss the squeaky effect first!)

Why Didn't I Think Of That Perpetual Tips Calendar

Love The Tips In This Post?

Then you’re really going to love my new perpetual daily tips calendar — “Why Didn’t I Think of That? 365 Tips & Tricks to Solve Life’s Little Problems. It’s a bit like my blog in miniature because it features “one good thing” every day!

The daily tips in this calendar cover just about every aspect of life at home, from cleaning and laundry to beauty and organization. I’ve poured all my first-hand experience and research into these pages, so you can trust that every tip has received my OGT Seal of Approval!

But you might be wondering, “Why would I buy a calendar in April?” And that’s a great question! One of my favorite things about this calendar is that it’s perpetual. At the end of every year, you can flip the pages back over and start again! So it’s a calendar you can start using any time of year.

OGT readers are loving it so far:

I’ve had this calendar for a few weeks now, and I’ve learned or been reminded of something valuable each day. My rule is not to take sneak peeks ahead! It’s well-constructed on heavy stock, designed beautifully, and sits unobtrusively on my desk next to my computer. What a clever idea—thank you so much for coming up with yet another brilliant idea, Jillee!

Carol O.

I love my new perpetual calendar! Every day, I look forward to turning the page to read a new daily tip. Thanks for providing a new idea each day of the year. I’m looking forward to using it year after year.


I just love this perpetual calendar. It’s so colorful and handy. I look forward to Jillee’s emails every day because she always has such helpful tips for things I never would have thought of. Now I can look at these different tips daily, and the calendar will never expire. Thank you for another great idea!



The “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” Series

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • When running hot water to wash dishes or something else, save the cool water that comes first. I use that to water my house plants or for watering the dog.

  • Please do not use cooking water to water your plants! Rice and pasta water contains carbs that can go bad rather quickly, providing a wonderful place for mold and bad smells.

    Egg water can be ok but can, over time, add too much calcium to the plant’s soil. Some plants can tolerate calcium better than other plants.

    Vegetable water may or may not be ok to use. First – use no salt in the water.
    Potato water – don’t do it, it does the same as pasta and rice water.
    Broccoli or cabbage water – should be ok but could make your house smell like those vegetables for that much longer.
    Carrot water – should be fine.
    Beet water – just don’t do it. It will stain everything.

  • I have a curtain tip that many people know, but maybe a few people may not know. If you are putting up curtains that have a pocket at the top of the panel and you slide one panel on backwards, don’t take it off to turn it around. You only need to flip the panel over the rod to turn it right side out.

  • My dehumidifier is not hooked up to a hose purposefully. We take out the tray and use it to water the tomatoes or another ingenious idea my husband came up with is to add it to the washer…it is just water from the air.

  • I really like these ideas. I keep my popcorn in the freezer and use it frozen, pops really well. I also use skewers to light candles. Also if I put a can of soda in the freezer I set my timer on the stove so I don’t forget. I forgot one and once was enough to clean up that mess. Also like the taco one if they are just for me.

  • to save water I put a bucket in the shower. If I turn the water on before I get in to warm it up the bucket collects water and then what I collect gets used on outside or inside plants.

    • I usually shower but when I want a plain soak (which I find wasteful, but sometimes needed) I always hook up my hose and empty the bath water on the lawn. A little soap never hurt it and I never use anything else in the water. One end goes in the tub and then I pump in water from the outside spigot until I have a nice stream then stop it from the outside and quick release the hose. If you keep it close to the ground it won’t break the connection.

      • You must know my husband! He does this for empting fish tanks, hot tubs….. Having a crumby septic system we also have used this idea for the big bath tub and washing machine. Ours was out of neccessity though!

  • My absolute favorite part of your newsletter! I love the one about the staple remover and the key ring, as I’m always having to take a key off the ring for one vehicle or the other, and the popcorn idea – excellent! Thank you so much for the time you put into helping us make our lives better.

    • Kathy, I have a serious question. Over the past three years I’ve tried various recipes that include salt as a weedkiller to get rid of these weeds in my yard. Last year I tried pure salt. The only thing any of the recipes (or pure salt) worked for was the frail-looking weeds in my driveway cracks and my sidewalk. Do you know if there are some weeds that salt just will not kill? Or am I the one unlucky person in the world for whom salt is useless except as a seasoning?

      • terdralynn: Go to ChemistryCache.Com (Alexis Rochester, BS Chemistry)
        for her DIY FAST ACTING WEED KILLER formula -just white vinegar, salt, Dawn and Arthritis Rub (Containing Capsicum)
        Wonderful stuff…works exactly as she promises!!! Starts working immediately. Use it all the time and never been disappointed.

      • Thanks, Eileen! I’ve made the recipe before without the arthritis rub. I’m definitely going to try this!

      • Thanks for that info. I looked at Dollar General here, and they had none, so I’ll go to Dollar Tree tomorrow and look.

      • To kill the weeds that grow where I don’t want them I use a vinegar and water solution. I’ll mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water in a spray bottle. On a sunny day this will kill weeds in a day.

  • When I was growing up my Mom used to mark an “HB” for hard-boiled on eggs so everyone in the family could tell them apart from fresh eggs. I like your idea about the vinegar but I don’t think my Dad or my brothers would notice the colour difference. I think they would just reach in, grab an egg or two and then get really frustrated when it turns out to be hard-boiled. Unless the image does not show the colour difference very well, this could be a very real possibility in my family. That’s why my Mom used to write on both sides of a hard-boiled egg. Even my brothers never made a mistake

  • Hey Jill – Outside roses love starchy pasta water! They must love potato water too, because they are their most beautiful selves since I started this plan! (We also capture the running water while we wait for it to “get hot” in our kitchen and use it too!).

    • Diane, I’ve been aggravated for years about the wasted water that comes before the hot (in my kitchen it’s at least a minute). I don’t have any plants this year but what grows naturally. Next year, I’ll remember your idea so I can stop wasting water. Thanks!

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