lighttreeSmarties are little tips and helpful hints that are useful, but not necessarily worth an entire blog post. Beginning 3/27/09, check back each weekend when I’ll add a new Smarty to the list!

9. Today’s tip comes from Family Hack. If you drop a piece of jewelry or a small toy down a sink drain, try this before you dismantle the pipes: use a wet/dry vac with a piece of women’s hosiery over the end and place it over the sink drain. Family Hack has a great video showing you exactly how it’s done.

8. Old pillowcases and sheets (cut and stitched around the edges) make great reusable napkins when they can no longer be used for their original purpose.

7. To get rid of slugs in the garden, fill a shallow dish with beer and leave out over night.

6. Mosquitoes don’t like basil. Consider planting some in pots around your patio to naturally deter them.

5. When halving medication, be sure to divide only those pills that are scored. These are the only types safe for dividing, with equal amounts of medicine on each side of the score line.

4. Use vinegar to remove wallpaper backing from walls. It’s as effective as expensive removers and costs pennies per ounce. Also try using a windshield ice scraper instead of a metal scraper to get the paper bits off. It’s sturdy and does less gouging to the walls.

3. Use Cream of Tartar to remove ink stains from clothing. Put Cream of Tartar over ink stain. Moisten with lemon juice. Rub it into the stain and let sit. Once dry, scrape off the excess powder and wash and usual. I’ve tried this and it really works. . . amazing.

2. Use coffee filters to prevent splatter in the microwave. A glass lid or a plate is the best option for covering food in the microwave, but in a pinch, a coffee filter works great. They’re much safer than plastic and are more economical and eco-friendly than paper towels.

1. Vinegar is great for cleaning the coffee pot, but it also works as a fabric softener. Try some in the final rinse. There’s no vinegar smell on your clothes. Really.