Things Your Grandmother Knew: A Blog of Household Hints

Things Your Grandmother Knew: A Blog of Household Hints

Abby Stone
May 5, 2009

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Knowing how much I love this kind of stuff, my brother scored this collection of household tips (actually inserts from old cigarette packs) on EBay

The other day a friend stopped by while we were cleaning up our home. We offered them a drink and they followed us around while we put the finishing touches on our home. We swiped a used dryer sheet over our coffee table, we shined our windows with crumpled newspaper and Windex, we slipped a pillowcase over our ceiling fan's blades to catch the dust. Our friend was amused by our methods. It's a madness we've accumulated over the years: from friends, from family, from Apartment Therapy, and from various magazines and blogs...

Lately one of our favorite go to spots for the kind of information that doesn't turn out to be so useless after all is Things Your Grandmother Knew, a resource for the kind of tips that seem like crazy quirks but actually make life and home keeping a lot easier. Many of these tips are acquired from magazines, product inserts and cookbooks from the 30s and 40s, the places you looked before Martha and before the internet. Some of our recent favorites tips include:


  • To prevent plaster chipping when driving in a nail, heat the nail first. It will go in smoothly and a chunk of plaster won't fall out
  • Dip the bottoms of plant pots and trays in melted paraffin. The wax will seep into the clay, making them waterproof and preventing those annoying rings on furniture, windowsills and floors.
  • Lay a damp cloth or sheet over dusty furniture and beat it. The damp fabric will absorb the dust.


What are some of your tried and true cleaning tips that you learned from your mother, father or grandparents?

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