· Bright Ideas · “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part Nine
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“Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part Nine

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, in the ninth edition of my ongoing series I like to call “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?”

Note: Many of the tips I share on the blog come straight from your comments and emails. If you have a great idea you’d like to share, leave it in the comments, and your idea could be featured in the next “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” post!

Be sure to scroll down to see some of these brilliant hacks in action on video!

Why didn't I think of that?

1. Garlic Peeling Hack

Using fresh garlic can make a meal, but it can also make your fingers smell like garlic for days! You can keep your fingers clean by peeling your garlic cloves inside a mason jar. Just drop your garlic cloves into a mason jar, screw the lid on, then shake the jar hard for about a minute. Remove the loose skins, and repeat if necessary until all the cloves are peeled!

Why didn't I think of that?

2. Makeshift Bundt Pan

If you need a bundt pan for a baking project but don’t own one (or can’t find it), there’s an easy way to “fake” one. Just grease up the exterior of a mason jar, and place it in the center of a springform pan. Pour your batter into the pan and the mason jar will create a hole in the center, just like a bundt pan!

YouTube video
You don’t need a bundt PAN to make a bundt CAKE!
Why didn't I think of that?

3. Save Your Sponges

Kitchen sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria, even when you clean them regularly. It’s recommended that you replace your kitchen sponge at least once a month, but don’t toss the old one out just yet. There’s still plenty more you can do with it! Use a sharp pair of scissors to snip off one corner of the sponge, to identify it as a “utility sponge.” Use it for those grimy, grubby cleaning jobs, like scrubbing garbage cans, toilets, or even the tires on your car. Eventually you’ll have to toss it out, but you can rest easy knowing that you really got your money’s worth!

Why didn't I think of that?

4. Storing Avocados

Keeping an unused half of an avocado fresh is a tricky business. One way to do it is to put your avocado half into a small, airtight container along with a small chunk of onion. The sulphur compounds released from the onion help to preserve the avocado, and you can keep it fresh for a few days this way. (I haven’t noticed any lingering onion scent or taste in the avocado itself, but if you’re really sensitive to onions, you may want to steer clear.)

Why didn't I think of that?

5. Tablecloth Trick

Putting a tablecloth on an outdoor table can be a pain, because you often need to anchor it down so it doesn’t blow around in the wind. Make it easy by using a twin-sized fitted sheet instead! It’s the perfect size for a fold-out table, and the elastic keeps it in place with zero added effort.

Why didn't I think of that?

6. Get More Juice

Looking to squeeze every last drop of juice out of your lemons? Grab a pair of tongs! First, squeeze all the juice out that you can with just your hands, then clamp the lemon half with your tongs. Give it a bit of elbow grease, and you’ll get those last few drops – no problem!

Why didn't I think of that?

7. Cupcake Covers

Use small plastic cups to protect your cupcakes! One small plastic cup turned upside-down will fit perfectly over a cupcake. Use them to protect your pretty cupcakes from bugs, wind, or greedy fingers searching for frosting. ;-)

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

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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

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Bright Ideas

  • Use a top sheet in many other ways just by tying the corners. Use your imagination! For example: it becomes a tablecloth that stays put, especially outdoors. Tie only the bottom two corners to create a top sheet that’s difficult to pull out. Or tie all four to create a bottom sheet. (Tip: adjust size of the sheet by tying corners further in or out.) Also, you can use this tip differently for a fun way to wear big scarves. Tie two corners on the same side together, repeat on opposite side, & you’ve created “arm holes.” Wear like a long vest or sleeveless coverup. Especially useful if a scarf has a centered design that is challenging to feature.

  • You can use a silicon hot pad to remove garlic peel too – wrap it around the garlic bulbs and roll back and forth until the peel comes off.

    And microwave your sponges. Wet them, wring them out and nuke until they’re good and hot. Then let cool. You can do this multiple times a day to kill bacteria.

  • Here’s another way to save a half of an avocado. Sprinkle water on the cut half , wrap TIGHTLY by twisting it inside of a sandwich bag or with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The water forms a barrier to keep our air.
    This method works for saving guacamole also. Smooth out the surface of the guacamole with the back of a spoon. Add a water layer over the guacamole, tap plastic wrap over the water to seal out the air and regrigerate.

  • I’m new to your blog, so this may have already been mentioned before. When baking a cake, rather than greasing and flouring your pan/pans, simply trace the outside of the pan on a plain piece of paper or paper bag and cut out. Insert on the bottom of your pan. When cake is done baking, hold upside down and peel paper right off. Works like a charm. I’ve never had any problems with this method. So much easier!!!

  • A good way to remove any type of odor from your hands is to wash your hands using toothpaste rather than soap. Toothpaste is designed to take odor away. You’ll be surprised how minty fresh your hands will smell. :)

    • To get the smell of garlic off of your finger by rubbing your fingers on your kitchen faucet I dnt know how or why it works but it’s never failed me ever.

      • I was about to make the same comment, Alisa! It also kills onion odors…I’m surprised every time at how well this works! :)

      • You can also accomplish the same thing by rubbing your hands around on a stainless steel spoon.

  • I love your reading your blog! It’s always jam packed full of useful info, tips & tricks that make my life a little easier and saves time. I’m a crafter and blogger too (www.mystampinspace.com) and I like that I can save some time in the kitchen and around the house – it gives me more time to create down in My Stampin Space! Thanks! :)

  • For Scentsy’s: Drop 2-3 cotton balls in the melted wax. In just a few seconds, it will absorb all of the wax! Pull it out and use one more to swipe any residue. No more grabbing a hot pan holder to pour that hot wax out!

  • if you want to keep a avocado fresh and not turn brown keep the pit in the side you need to store, if you want to keep your guacamole fresh put the pit in it. it works every time!

      • If you plan to use them in quacomole or as a spread, you can also peel, and skin the ripe avacado, and place it in a frezer bag and just freeze it, once you thaw it, just mash and proceed, fresh tasting, smooth avacado.

        It is much easier to juice a lemon or other citrus fruit, if you drop it in boiling water for a couple minutes, just a couple, an then pull it out, and rollit between your hand (once it is cool enough to touch) and the counter, the fruit will release it’s juice readily.

  • Just want to give a warning about using a jar to make a bundt cake center hole. Be sure to use a canning jar as directed as any thinner type glass jar might break in the oven if it cannot take a high temperature. Regular jars are not made for oven temps. Canning jars are made to heat, so they are safe.
    Loved these hints and learned a few things from them! Thanks much!

  • Great ideas. The little cups are how my works bakery packages cupcakes individually. They use containers similar to this. (Of course they wouldn’t sell them like the picture) , but’ they do have lids that can fit over the top of the cup opening.

  • No questions, Jillee, just a compliment. I absolutely adore you and your ideas. I anxiously await my newsletters from you in my email. Thank you so much and keep it up.

  • To get garlic or onion smells off your hands, just rub your hands all over something that’s stainless steel! I think they sell things that look like a stainless steel block of soap, but I always just use a stainless steel kitchen tool or bowl!

    • One of Jillie’s tips for removing water rings on furniture is to slather mayonnaise on it and let it sit for 48 hours. Search “mayonnaise” on this site for a list if things to do with it and you will find this tip.

    • Break a walnut in half and rub it on the spot. The same thing happened to a friend a couple of weeks ago. I told her about this and she called and said it worked well!

    • If it’s just the usual problem of moisture getting under the finish and making a white ring, then taking a hair dryer to it will take the white mark away. You just hold the hairdryer close to the ring, and heat it until you see the mark disappear…. usually just a minute or two depending on the size. You will be able to see it working. However, if it’s that it took the finish off the table, the only thing you can do is to sand it down and refinish with the same color stain. You can never get the exact same shade, tho’ close, so be aware that you may have to refinish the whole top of the table if you’re a perfectionist like me. Check out the family handyman site for instructions on how best to do that. Let’s hope it’s just moisture, which most white marks are…..

  • Easiest and quickest garlic (chefs) peeling trick for me: just crush the clove ONCE with a heavy knife, skin falls off immediately. I suppose one can also do it with a jar or a small wack with a pan ;-))

    • I use a rock about the size of my fist to crush garlic. My husband went to the beach and picked out a lovely one for me. Safer than a knife that could slip!

      Also, just wanted to say that in my house a clipped sponge wouldn’t be a strong enough identifier for the male member of the household so I just break out the Sharpie. As soon as a sponge becomes something for the floor or toilet, I write that on it! Same with old dish towels that become rags. It’s helpful when he’s doing the laundry too so I don’t end up with rags back in the dish cloth drawer!

  • When I peel garlic I put the cloves in an empty paper towel tube or an empty toilet paper tube an roll it back and forth on the counter. The garlic just rolls right out, no pun intended :). Also, when I squeeze citrus fruits, I let them get to room temperature, cut them in half and then give them a good squeeze. Then I turn them inside out and give them another good squeeze. This serves two purposes. One is you get more juice and the other is it makes it easier to collect the seeds for planting. Happy squeezing….

  • I keep my sponges sanitized by soaking nightly in water and lemon essential oil. I also sanitize my cutting boards by using lemon essential oil on it.

  • The lemon juice… works for limes and any other citrus also!!! BUT if you roll your citrus on the counter with slight pressure, pot it in the microwave for 10-25 seconds( less for small, more for huge) then slice and press you will get even more juice, sometimes twice as much…..
    Mason jar…. PLEASE make sure you use a jar that is OVEN SAFE, if it is not then can SOMETIMES shatter into your food and oven….

  • I do not use a whole bag of tortillas at once. Instead I slip a small paper plate between each two tortillas and then freeze the whole bag. That way I can remove two of them easily without tearing them.

  • Awesome tips. Thank you.. Here’s a tip that I have been using for quite a while now. After using your exfoliating bath/gloves and it’s time to start using a new pair wash them by hand or throw in the laundry. Now you have a scratching pad to clean the bathtub and sink with. Soap scum comes off so easy. Or buy a new pair to clean potatoes , carrots etc with. I’ve heard that they work great when u peel fresh corn on the Cob, but I haven’t tried it yet. They also work great to use when washing dishes especially glasses that requires a scratch pad because someone ate something out of a glass and didn’t eat it all and forgot to soak the glass. Don’t have to worry bout cleaning it now or if their isn’t enough room for a scratch pad and your hand.

  • The “garlic in a jar” trick never seemed to work well for me, but I read an easier way: put garlic cloves in boiling water for just a few seconds, and the skin peels right off! I was canning pickled garlic for my Christmas basket gifts, and needed a LOT of it. This worked quickly and easily!

  • More great tips thank you! Your best was mixing peroxide and baking soda for stain removal on my white Corian sink. Worked like a dream and I have been trying to get rid of those stains for years! Was thinking of getting a new sink. Thanks a million

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