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Thompson: Welders gloves stand up to serious oven heat
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If you do a lot of cooking in the kitchen, you need this: A pair of welder's gloves. I'm serious. Don't waste your time with the low-quality pot holders and oven mitts. Welder's gloves are designed for extreme heat and are seriously durable. You can find them at any of the home improvement stores and they're cheap.

Do you have a cat that loves to hang out on your bed? If so, here's a cheap solution. Buy a clear shower curtain and lay it over the bed while you're away. The cat hair and any other surprises will be easy to clean up.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a tip from a reader who used hanging shoe bags to store her kid's clothes for the week. Well, it was pointed out to me that hanging shoe bags are also great for storing cleaning supplies in a kitchen closet. They can also be used to store kids toys. (I'm starting to like hanging shoe bags almost as much as I like duct tape!)

Do you know what's the easiest way is to save for retirement? Every time you get a raise, put at least half of it into a 401K or 403B. My wife and I started doing this years ago until we got up to the contribution level we felt comfortable with. Remember, if you've never had it to spend, you'll never miss it.

OK kids, its duct tape tip time! (Sorry, I can't help myself). Have you ever opened a 12-ounce can of soda and only drank half of it? Rather than throwing the rest of it away, cover the hole of the can with duct tape. It will keep the carbonation in and the bugs and dust out. By the way, did you know that duct tape was used extensively in the first Gulf War? It was used on the edges of helicopter blades to keep the sand from wearing the blades down and causing them to be replaced prematurely. It was also used to hang up pictures of loved ones.

There's a cool new Web site where you can do a criminal history search on anybody for free. The site is CriminalSearches. Dads, this is a great way to check on your daughters' boyfriends!

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