In my never-ending effort to get rid of “stuff,” I decided to recycle Mary Ellen’s Best of Household Helpful Hints. I have no idea how long I’ve owned it, but its cover price of $3.95 and its yellowing pages hint of old age.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to ask the Internet how to prevent drops on your head when you’re painting a ceiling (push the handle of the paintbrush through a paper plate) or prevent peeled bananas from darkening (sprinkle with lemon juice). Why keep the book?
I took a last look before throwing it away. That quick “look” solved a big problem. I had been unable to remove a few dabs of paint left on my just-refinished kitchen floor when I re-painted the baseboards. According to Mary Ellen, nail polish remover would do the trick. I tried it. It removed the spots and not the finish. I was thrilled.
Next I found a list of forty-five things you can do with WD-40 tucked into the back of the book. Among its uses, WD-40 keeps glass shower doors free of spots. Even more important, it keeps flies off cows.