We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home, thank you, COVID-19. With that, I’ve realized that I have a quite a collection of home tips that I use on a daily basis that, I’ve been told, aren’t common knowledge. I’ve passed them on to friends and family, but heck, my sisters keep telling me, “You should write a blog about those!”
They may not be exactly pinterest-worthy, but they are super useful. So, without further ado, here are my top Tamara Tips:
This is something I’ve been doing for years, and still enjoy its simplicity. Use one of those stand-up decorative plate holders to wrangle cutting boards. No matter how many are being used, they’re always safely stashed, not sliding around or falling over, with the help of a sturdy iron plate holder.
Use a wine bottle carrier to corral your reusable grocery bags! I started doing this years ago, and was very surprised when the bagger at the grocery store marveled at the ingenuity. I thought everyone did it!
Here’s a quick and easy fridge pencil holder made from an empty spice can. Using the end of a spoon, pop out the plastic top (they’re not glued, just takes a little leverage), wash out the empty spice can, grab one or two of those super-strong magnets, and you have an instant, fridge-mounted pencil holder. Fast, easy, versatile!
Use two corks to make that old pot lid heat-safe! It’s so annoying to have to go grab a pot holder just to lift a lid. And worse when you forget and burn your fingers. No more! Some handles require 3 corks, but you have them sitting around anyway, dontcha?
Lots of kitchen places sell a special “device” for removing the garlic smell from your hands. They look like a metal bar of soap, and apparently you use them with water to remove the odor. Spoiler Alert: They’re just lumps of stainless steel. Further Spoiler: you have LOTS of things already in your kitchen that will do the trick!
I just use a stainless steel spoon, run it under water and “wash” my hands with it — running the edge under fingernails, where the garlic aroma sticks — and odors are neutralized! Yay!
Lemon peels do the same thing — remove embedded odors from your fingers — but I sometimes forget to use them to wash up. But I do always have Lemon Oil in my fridge. Dab a little in your palms, rub on your hands, and you’ll smell fresh as a lemon grove!
I have a lot of spices. My Mom taught me that the best way to keep them visible and to save space, is to put them in the cabinet on a lazy susan. I alphabetize them, for further ease. See? Simple!
Spices arranged alphabetically on a lazy susan makes access super easy!
I’m Scandinavian, and one of my favorite tools from the homeland is the ostehøvel. In English it’s a cheese knife, or cheese plane. It’s really great for slicing all different types of cheese, and often sits on the table during meals so it can be used on-demand. One of the best uses of the ostehøvel is cutting refrigerated butter for toast! It works by shaving off the top layer, in a perfect, thin slice. It’s simple to use, delivers just the right amount, and spreads easily as it melts. If you buy one of these super handy tools, make sure the blade is stamped “made in Norway.” I’ve tried ones that are made elsewhere, and they just aren’t as good. Also, it only works with refrigerated butter. Then again, soft butter is already easy to spread.
Okay. You want to make banana bread, but your bananas aren’t yet ripe enough. Here’s the fix: Microwave them!
Yep. Peel first, then pop those babies in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, and they soften right up. (Let them cool before you mix into batter.) Perfection! And while we’re on the subject of bananas, if yours are over-ripe for eating and you aren’t prepared to bake, just peel bananas, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the freezer. They’ll keep for weeks… whenever you’re ready to make bread, pancakes or even a tasty shake!
Kitchen tongs can be super annoying in the drawer, always popping open, catching on things. Use the heavy-duty rubber band from fresh broccoli to close up tongs while in the drawer. It really helps keeping things neat and organized.
You know how HARD it is to get produce bags open without licking your fingertips? The fury in the vegetable department is palpable! Bonus tip: Dab a little hand sanitizer on your fingers, and it makes opening the bags much easier!
There are my top tips. How many did you know about already? What are your favorite home hacks? Leave a comment below!