Tips, Tricks and Life Hacks

Don’t know how to do something? You can get the answer by using Google, social media, ask friends or ask your mama. Here are some tips you may find helpful.

Baking soda is great at removing odors naturally. To get rid of tough grease or build-up, try Dawn dish detergent and baking soda mixed together. – Diane Blanton

Foaming shaving cream used on bathroom tile floor or toilet base to get the “Oops, I missed” smell from the grout. – Kim Armistead

White vinegar to wipe the inside of furniture and just recently I stared using it in my carpet shampooer. That stuff cleans everything! – Bridget Janiak

White vinegar is the only way to make a black stove streak free. I buy it by the gallon because you can clean so many things but my black stove is where I use it the most. It removes the streaks and any greasy residue. – Yara Roussos

For drawers and closets, I use cedar wood pieces or chips in a small sack and dry lavender in a sachet bag. For cleaning I love plain bleach because it not only cleans, it sanitizes as well.  – Carmela Decker

For antique furniture: Use a scented dryer sheet to line drawers to remove odors. Use a bar of soap to ‘grease’ the ‘runners’ on wooden antique drawers to make them slide in and out easily. You can also use an old candle, but soap smells better.  –Eileen Bach

Sprinkle Epsom salt in your garden for bigger blooms, healthier plants and a larger vegetable yield.  – Aida Guzman

Clean silverware by placing tinfoil in a tin with shiny side up; add warm water and baking soda. Let silverware soak in it.

Necklaces in plastic straws to prevent them from getting tangled during travel. On top of a red suitcase with a clear plastic bag next to the necklaces
When traveling, use plastic straws to keep necklaces from getting tangled. Just string them through the straws. If the necklace is too large, wrap in tissue to keep safe. Photo credit: Lisa Haas Murray

When traveling, use plastic straws to keep necklaces from getting tangled. Just string them through the straws. If the necklace is too large for straw, wrap in tissue paper to keep safe.

To keep whites white (armpit stains), wet material, wring it out, spray with Clorox clean up and let it sit. It may turn yellow but will come out in the wash.

  • Lisa Haas Murray


My tips:

Never underestimate the power of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Besides removing marks on the wall it easily removes soap scum, scuff marks, crayon scribbles and more. Simply wet it, squeeze excess water and wipe. For dirty keyboard: unplug it then wipe to remove fingerprints and smudges.

After painting a room, write the paint color/brand/number down and hide it behind the switch plate of each room.

Best tip I learned from my mother, Vera Tirabasso: While chopping parsley for recipes, do not discard the stems. Wipe off moisture and place in plastic bags in freezer. They stay bright green and you can use it in soup stock. Yummy!


Claudia Jacobs is professional stager, decorator and owner of Claudia Jacobs Designs in Newburgh. Visit or call 294-8993. Send questions and photos to