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Thompson: A big thanks to all who share tips, comments

POSTED: December 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to start this week’s column by saying thanks to all of you who have shared your tips and feedback. Connecting with people is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. I’m blessed to be able to connect with all of you each week. You’ll truly never know how much your e-mails mean to me.


This week I had someone e-mail me and ask what they should do with their leftover cooking oil from their turkey fryer. Good question. If the oil has gone bad — and you can usually tell by the bad smell — DO NOT pour it down your drain or toilet. It’ll clog your lines in a heartbeat. An old tip was to run hot water while pouring your oil down the drain. Don’t do it; it doesn’t work. The official way of disposing of cooking oil is to put it in plastic containers and send it to the landfill. I have a better suggestion. Ask around and see who you know that has converted their diesel engine to run on cooking oil. A lot of people have. In fact I’ve heard that it’s getting harder for these folks to get used cooking oil from fast-food restaurants. (You can always tell if a vehicle has been converted because the exhaust smells like french fries. I’m not kidding). Offer to give these folks your cooking oil. Here’s another suggestion on how to get rid of your cooking oil without sending it to the landfill. Give it to a local business that uses oil for winter heating. The Gainesville Marina Service Department does this and they told me that they would be willing to take any used cooking oil — just make sure that you’ve removed any food debris from it.


Here’s a stocking stuffer suggestion. Everybody needs to have a flashlight in their car. Problem is, when you need to use the flashlight, it’s usually dead. The solution to this problem is the Spotlight Rechargeable Flashlight. It’s only 2 inches long and fits into your cigarette lighter. It may be small but it uses super bright LED technology. It even has a little red light in it that comes on when it’s charging. Its $15 and you can find it at Amazon.com and other on-line retailers. Oh, and it comes in a variety of colors so it can match your interior.


If your car smells bad, I’ve got a tip for that as well. Put a coffee filter pack under one of your car seats. You can buy these filter packs or you can get them for free when you stay in a hotel room. They’re right next to the coffee machine.
Warning: This tip works great, but the coffee smell can be overpowering.


Here’s another stocking stuffer suggestion. The Stuffitts are foot-shaped bags that contain cedar chips. They remove shoe odor and moisture. EVERYBODY can use these ... trust me. They cost $10 and you can find them at www.stuffitts.com. By the way, the old tip about using newspapers in shoes to remove odors? It’s bogus.


Randall Murray, our wine columnist, gave me this great tip: “If you use wet Swiffers to clean your floors, don’t throw out the wet pads when one side gets dirty. Just turn it over, and you can almost double the amount of use you get out of it.”

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.


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