This week, instead of sharing tips you've sent to me, I'm going to hog the entire column to share some of my own. Several of these are oldies but goodies, while some I have just discovered in the past few weeks:
Cellphone alarm volume booster: If you're a heavy sleeper and have trouble hearing your mobile phone's alarm, you can boost the alarm's volume by setting it in a drinking glass. This works because the sound reverberates and intensifies inside the glass. It may not be the world's most pleasant amplification technique, but it works great for an alarm.
As an added benefit, to turn the alarm off, you have to pull the phone out of the drinking glass. This makes it a bit tougher but more likely that you'll get up and not roll over to fall back asleep.
Use a rice cooker as a substitute humidifier: Instead of buying a humidifier, use your rice cooker. Simply fill the pot with water. If you want to create a specific fragrance in the house, add your choice of herbs, then leave it open while it cooks and steams away. The idea is that since most rice cookers automatically turn off, you can fill it with water, set it and forget it. Filled, you should get around 30 minutes from this makeshift humidifier with no risk of a fire.
Never lose the remote again: The reason most of us lose remote controls is because they don't have a specific place to go. They might end up on a coffee table, an end table, slide behind the couch or, as I have experienced,
One person whose handiwork I find so clever stuck his remote controls to a coffee table with Velcro. Any fabric or craft store sells this stuff by the inch or in packages with both the hook and loop sides of the Velcro outfitted with self-stick tape.
My choice is black sticky-back Velcro. I cut off the amount I need, remove the protective paper covering the sticky sides and affix one side to the remote and the other to the table. When a remote-control device has a home, you're more likely to see that it ends up there.
Bacon smart: Here is an easy way to separate strips of bacon stuck together in a shrink-wrapped package: Roll the package lengthwise into a cylinder, then flatten it again. Open the package and remove the desired number of strips, which will now be less tightly packed and more willing to peel off neatly and easily.
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? Email her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.