ONE HOT DATE. Our village does not offer garbage pickup as a municipal service, so residents can contract with whomever they desire. For years we paid about $25 per month for weekly pickup. Then a friend told us about a landfill 12 miles from our town that accepts bagged garbage for $1 per bag or just 50 cents for seniors. Because we recycle so much, we have very little true garbage. We drive to the landfill once every other week with our one bag and make it part of a day out doing errands and going out to lunch. After almost 30 years of marriage, we laughingly refer to this as a “hot date.” We kick ourselves when we think of how many years we paid so much for garbage pickup. — Carole C., New York
TIEBACK HOOKS. I was revamping my children’s bedroom. I made curtains, and really liked the simplicity and look of “tiebacks,” decorative hardware that holds the curtain to one side. But I was shocked when the least expensive set I could find was $12 a pair, and I needed two. No way was I going to spend $24. I found, instead, that bike screw hooks used to hang a bicycle up out of the way ($5 for a package of two) were just the right size. These steel hooks are plastic-coated and come in a variety of bright colors — the perfect custom tiebacks that match my children’s room perfectly. — Karin G., Texas
EARRING ORGANIZER. I am always rummaging through my jewelry box in the morning to find a matching pair of earrings, so I purchased a 28-day pill organizer for $1 from the Dollar Store to store them. The box is clear plastic so I can easily see all of my earrings at a glance. When I cleaned out my jewelry box, I found earrings I didn’t know I had. Now they’re all organized. No more rummaging! — Judy R., Illinois
CANDLEHOLDER CLEANER. I discovered an easy way to remove all of the wax and black residue left in candleholders once the candle has burned down. Turn them upside down in a vegetable steamer. Put water in the bottom as you would to steam vegetables, cover and allow to steam for 10 or 15 minutes. The candleholders will be clean and once the water cools, you can simply skim off the hardened wax, making it easy to clean the pot. — Phyllis J., California
REMOVE STAINS FROM CONCRETE. Recently you published a tip from a reader for spot removal from concrete. I found that bleach (preferably Clorox) sprayed on the spots works great. Let it work for about five minutes and then rinse. I have a stone retaining wall in front of my place and this makes it look like new. — Carl H., Pennsylvania (Please exercise extreme caution when handling liquid chlorine bleach. Do not mix it with anything but water to avoid mixing up a batch of deadly chlorine gas. —M.H.)
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