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

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

Why didn't I think of that?

Here on my blog, I strive to share simple, everyday tips and tricks that can help make your 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 seventeenth edition of my ongoing series “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?”

Missed the last installment, or want to revisit some of your old favorite tips? You’ll find a link to the complete archive of the “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” series at the end of this post!

Why didn't I think of that?

1. Grease Cleanup

Grease is one of the leading causes of clogged pipes in kitchen sinks. Instead of dumping your bacon grease down the drain, here’s a simple tip for discarding it!

Line a bowl with tin foil and pour the grease inside. Once the grease solidifies, just crumble up the foil and throw it away!

Why didn't I think of that?

2. Lunch Reminder

Keep forgetting to take your lunch bag to work with you? After you put your lunch in the fridge, tie the strap of your work bag to your lunch bag, then shut the fridge.

When you’re ready to leave the next morning, you won’t forget either bag!

Why didn't I think of that?

3. Floss First

Instead of brushing your teeth and then flossing, try flossing first! All the loosened plaque and other gunk will get brushed away afterwards and leave your teeth feeling squeaky clean!

Why didn't I think of that?

4. Reading Material

Have a clear shower door and want to make better use of your time in the morning? Give yourself something to read while you shower!

Take an article you’ve been meaning to read and tape it to the outside of the shower door with the text facing in. The next morning, you’ll have something to read while you get ready for the day!

Why didn't I think of that?

5. Rust Prevention

You know those moisture-absorbing silica gel packets that come in the box along with certain products? Place a few of them in your toolbox to help prevent your tools from rusting!

Why didn't I think of that?

6. Can Opening Hack

Eliminate the struggle of opening canned drinks by pressing down on the tab where it’s attached to the can. This will lift the opposite edge of the tab and make it much easier to get your finger underneath it!

Why didn't I think of that?

7. Better Pillbox

Is your standard pillbox too small for your liking? Try keeping your pills in a small tackle box instead! I found mine at the dollar store, and find the bigger size much more useful than the pillboxes you can find in drugstores!

Why didn't I think of that?

8. Freezer Test

If you suspect that your freezer isn’t always working correctly, there’s a simple test that can help you know for sure. Fill a bottle halfway full of water, freeze it upside-down, then flip it back over so the ice is at the top of the bottle.

Let the bottle sit in the freezer for about a day, then check on it. If the ice has moved to the bottom of the bottle, you’ll know that the ice melted at some point and that it’s time to replace your freezer (and all the food inside it!)

Why didn't I think of that?

9. Hotel Curtain Clip

Can’t stand the gap of light peeking through the curtains in your hotel room? Grab a pants hanger from the closet and use the clips to clip the curtain shut. Problem solved!

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

  • Using an empty large yogurt container or cottage cheese container to put COLD grease in and then close and throw away – helps with clean up. It also saves water as you do not need to wash the yogurt or cottage cheese container. Please use a small piece of paper towel to wipe off dishes and put the greasy paper towel in same empty yogurt or cottage cheese container and close with lid. This keeps the grease from getting in the sewer system and your drain pipes. We cannot put glass in the trash here.

  • For grease, I use a old jar (that I rinsed out and dried) and keep it near where I cook. It has the lid on so you can keep putting grease in till it’s full. Then put the lid on tight and throw it away. That way I am not using any foil or anything .
    I like the coke tab and freezer testing!

  • I hadn’t considered the pants hangers in a hotel! Thanks! I’ve always packed the binder clips with the “legs” on them when traveling, as they are useful in so many ways. Also used the clawed hair clips for closing blinds, both home and hotel.

  • GLAD press and seal wrap is the best! I use it in so many ways, and it is much easier to handle and use this wrap compared to other wraps…yet it clings so well!
    I put a piece on the inside of the lid in my kitchen waste can. When it gets icky just change it out.
    You can put a piece of this wrap on your child’s shirt to protect it while eating or crafting.
    I also wrap my meats in the press and seal in portions I need, then put them into a ziplock bag…wonderful to prevent freezer burn.
    I add a piece to my scoopable ice cream once it has been opened- pushing it down in there so it rests on the ice cream. I never have ice crystals forming anymore.
    I have used press and seal on my refrigerator shelves for easy clean-up. This stuff even sticks to watermelon.
    You can use it to protect injuries; so that you can shower without getting it wet. Even casts remain dry. I use it to protect my husband’s IV when he showers.
    I put it on my feet and hands after lotioning them, for a wonderful spa treatment. Really the uses are endless.

    • Great question, Lori. When you store it in the freezer, it makes it easier to work with and it doesn’t stick to itself or things you don’t want it to stick to.

  • Your grease disposal tip adds waste to the landfill. We keep an old soup can in the freezer, pour cooking grease into it and keep in the freezer until full. When ready to empty it, run hot tap water on the outside of the can to loosen the contents and dump directly into the trash. We refuse the can over and over.

  • How funny, I just started using Tip 7 a few weeks ago! I made small labels using my label maker and stuck them on the inside (and outside) cover to identify my pills. There are a few medications where the pills look similar so now there’s no confusion. If you make the labels small enough, there’s room to identify AM, PM, or BOTH.

  • An FYI…It is illegal to carry prescription medications in unmarked containers..they must be with the prescription label the pharmacy provides. While I have never heard of anyone having trouble, I know that my family in a certain state has warned me that this law is enforced there and you could be arrested for “hand” carrying certain medications….yikes!

    • There is a way around that. Have your pharmacy print out a list of your medications and carry it with you when you travel. Usually, the ‘script label has a short description of the medication, i.e. oval, pink tablet or green and white capsule.

  • When you are at work and haven’t finished your lunch or have leftovers and don’t want to forget to bring it home, I put a post it on the handle of my backpack as a reminder to bring my lunch home with me (for dinner!)

  • A small plastic sorting box can be handy in your purse or car. Use for Bandaids, toothpicks, aspirin, gum, mints, lip balm, etc. Then you don’t have to hunt for those small items. I used to lose my car keys sometimes. Now I have a keychain with a carabiner-type clip. I put a keychain ring onto the zipper handle of my purse, and always clip it there. The keychain is tucked into my purse, but always right at hand. If it should come unclipped (and it has), it is IN the purse, not swinging loose to fall on the ground. I also have a wrist strap attached to it. Then if I approach my car carrying things, I can’t drop my keys.

  • Why waste the bacon grease at all!? It’s delicious and practical to save it. Apparently it can even be stored at room temp in any type of container (in past times some kept it in a container right on the stove!) but for safety put it in a glass dish with a lid. Keep it in the fridge and add to it whenever you have more. It can be used to brown meat, anytime you use a cast iron pan for instance for cornbread or even instead of the fat in biscuits or dumplings.

    • Also, unless the foil is too crusty and nasty for recycling, just do what we do. We open our cans with a side cutting can opener, thus the lid can be set right back onto the can, so we simply dispose of grease into a can, put the top back on it, and store it in the refrigerator until it’s full and can be disposed of in the trash. Much less wasteful than trashing foil every time.

    • I save small tomato sauce cans and jelly jars. Whenever I have leftover grease from a roast or other greasy meal I use these cans or jars. I just pour the cooled off grease in the can put it in the freezer then out to the trash the next day. I do save bacon grease though. I use it in my pinto beans or a small amount to fry eggs when I am not having bacon with it.

  • Hi! Another great idea for checking your freezer, is to freeze water in a small ramekin, then put that in the freezer and lay a quarter on top… if the quarter at any time becomes embedded in the ice, you know you have a freezer issue. This is especially useful if you go on vacation. Then you can see if you lost power at any time while gone.

    • Living in Florida, we use that method when evacuating due to storms. I normally stop stocking our freezer at the start of hurricane season and use up what we’ve got.

    • Or empty a try of ice cubes into a zip bag. If you ever find them not so cubed or worse, refrozen into one lump, time to call the freezer guy.

  • While I love all these ideas, I can’t help but be concerned over whether or not the suggested pill organizers are made of food grade plastic. … just a thought.

    • Food grade plastic is critical when moist foods (or ingestibles, such as pills) are going to be stored where plastic residuals could seep into the food or liquid, or for heating in the microwave or even freezing. For pills, I’d suggest washing and rinsing a plastic tackle box but I don’t believe there should be any additional concerns since there should be no moisture in the content of pills, since ven gels are dry on the outside surface. Also there are lots of inexpensive and large pill dispenser containers available now, so you can always play it safe by buying a dispenser specifically made for pills, and even dollar stores carry them.

      • Better and cheaper than a tacklebox is to buy the divided boxes made for crafters. I have many of them for my beads and jewelry findings and one would be perfect for pills. They come in lots of sizes. Look in a craft store or even Wal-Mart.

  • For those who, like me, were curious about the cling wrap in the freezer, I searched Jillee’s blog and found this:

    6. Simplify Plastic Wrap

    Plastic wrap can be infuriating when it won’t stop sticking to itself! Use your freezer to help simplify the process. Just stick the plastic wrap in your freezer for a few minutes, which will reduce the clinging action enough that it’s easier to handle. (Don’t keep it in the freezer too long though, or it will lose its hold.)

    Thank you, Jillee!!!!

  • Oh boy, we have green boxes here, I put the solid fat in the green box with other kitchen compostibles and wipe off the foil. The foil can be reused or put in the blue box to be recycled.

    • I’m not sure what a green box is, but I know that in a home compost you don’t put any fat or grease in it. ( mostly because it attracts undesirable critters)

  • This is for those that have a hard time opening a container of milk. IF you see a series of holes along the edge of the milk container cap, there is an easy way to open it. Stick the tine of a fork in one of the holes and break it off. Now the lid is loose.

  • If you have a bunch of pills and supplements, it is easy to forget one, or take two instead of one or ask the question, did I take them this morning.? Arrange them in a white deviled egg tray. Label each cavity used with a permanent marker. Load up the night before.

    Huge pill containers as shown in this article can be found at the tackle store, Amazon, etc. The dividers are even movable

      • Lots of plastic wrap/cling film is very clingy. By the time some folks pull out a foot or so and tear off, it sticks to itself while they put the box down. I’ve seen it on Food.tv plenty of times!

  • We’ve always used an empty nut can for pouring the grease into. We just throw it out when it’s full. I think my mom does put in the freezer sometimes to solidify.
    I’ve always flossed my teeth before brushing. The pill storage box shown is how my folks keep their pills sorted. They use ones with the days and am/pm dividers.

  • My mom taught me to always have an empty tin/aluminium can on hand. When you need to drain grease put it in there. I always keep one under the sink ready for browning meat. I would think even less chance of mess than with aluminium foil.

  • About testing the freezer – quicker way is to freeze a cup of water in a dixie cup. Once frozen put a coin on top. Back in the freezer. If freezer not working properly, and the water melts, the coin will either sink to the bottom showing that the water has completely defrosted or will be embedded in the ice, showing that the water partially defrosted. Takes up a lot less space than a soda bottle

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