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Thompson: Tired of crooked picture frames? This tip will fix that
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Here’s a great tip on how to keep pictures on your walls level. On the back side of the picture, insert straight pins into the four corners. Clip off the heads of the pins leaving about a quarter inch sticking out. Put the picture on the wall and position it. When the picture is level, push the pins into the drywall. No more re-leveling the picture!

Contech is a neat company that makes some pretty useful tools. Their most famous one is called the Scarecrow. This device has a motion sensor on it and is hooked up to a hose. When an unwanted animal enters your yard, it automatically squirts them. They have two other products that I like just as much. The first is called StayAway. This device also scares away pets but it uses a warning sound and a brief, harmless spray of compressed air. It works great on cats. Use it to teach them to stay off counters, away from potted plants, etc. The second product is called SquirrelStop. As the name implies, it keeps squirrels away from bird feeders. You attach the device to your bird feeder and whenever a squirrel jumps onto it, the device spins the feeder, tossing the squirrel into the air. You can find all of these products at Contech's Web site.

If you’re like my wife, you drive up to your mailbox when you get home in the evening and pull your mail out. If the postman has thrown the mail too far back into the mailbox, my wife has to get out of the car to retrieve it. There’s a cool new product I just got that helps with this problem. It’s called the "Mailbox Extender Tray." It’s basically a piece of plastic that acts like a drawer in your mailbox. You open the mailbox, pull the extender tray forward and get all of your mail. It costs less than $10 and you can find it at

This is an invaluable organizing tip. When you clean out and reorganize your closets, drawers, cupboards, etc., remember the 70/30 rule. You only want to use 70 percent of the available space. Leave the remaining 30 percent vacant. By doing this you’ll make it easier to find things and you’ll give yourself room to expand.

If you ever have a flooding accident in your house, get a professional to remove the water. Why? Odds are that you won’t be able to remove it all yourself. The water that you don’t remove will contribute to mold. Most insurance companies don’t cover mold damage. This happened to my sister, Rachel. She went through a lot of headaches and spent a lot of money to get the mold removed.

And finally, call someone and tell them that you appreciate them. We all need a pat on the back from time to time.

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

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