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Thompson: Vinegar is magical solvent for pet stains

POSTED: January 11, 2009 1:00 a.m.

When a new puppy or kitten "marks a spot" in your house, it's important to get the smell out. One of the best ways to do this is to apply vinegar. Just make sure to test the vinegar on a small, hidden area first to make sure that it won't harm your carpet or wood finish.

The next time you finish reading a paperback novel, don't throw it away. Instead, check out BookCrossing. This cool site allows you to share your books with the world. You just leave your books somewhere like at a gym or a coffeehouse and then you notify the Web site. The site has more than 700,000 members worldwide who constantly share books. In fact, you can actually track where your books go. Some of the books on the site have actually circled the globe. Pretty cool!

There are a number of tips on how to remove grease spots from your garage floor. This is one of the better ones: For fresh stains, just pour cat litter on it. If the stain is old, put paint thinner on the stain first and then add the cat litter.

Speaking of cat litter, you can also use it to remove shoe odors. Simply put some cat litter in some old socks and tie them shut. Leave the socks in the offending shoes overnight. Repeat as necessary.

With the holidays over, most people are carrying some credit card debt. Check out DebtSmart for some great tips on how to manage the debt and ensure that the credit card companies aren't ripping you off.

If you have a young child coming to visit, buy a cheap shower curtain. Put it under their high chair and save yourself some clean-up time. Just throw the curtain into your washing machine when done. (You can also use shower curtains as paint drop cloths!)

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to remember everybody's birthday, I can help. Sign up for the Hallmark Reminder Service and get their free "perpetual birthday reminder calendar." The Web site will send you a reminder e-mail a couple of weeks before every birthday. (Guys, this Web site will also send you an anniversary reminder as well).

This is a clever tip. Keep a bunch of rubber bands in your workshop. When you've finished using a can of paint or stain, put a rubber band around the can indicating how much of the paint or stain is left.

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



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