Life Hacks: Helpful Hints for the Kitchen

I’m always looking for ways to make kitchen chores faster and easier, because let’s face it—there are lots of other places I’d rather be! Here are a few helpful hints I’ve learned over the years. You may already know them, but just in case, I thought I’d share them here today.

Those Unruly Boxes of Foil and Plastic Wrap

Box of FoilHow many times have you tried to pull out a sheet of foil or plastic wrap, only to have the entire roll pop out of the box? Did you know that on most all the brands there is a little place on the ends of the box that are perforated, so that you can punch in the circle – which creates a tab that holds the roll in place? Yep. I guess they’ve been making the boxes this way for years, but I certainly didn’t realize it for a long time!


Ice Cube Trays to the Rescue

Tomato Juice in Ice Cube TraysOn occasion I need a quick meal and reach for a can of organic soup to heat up. But I like to add a little tomato juice to some varieties, such as the store-bought veggie soup. It makes it taste richer and more homemade, to my mind. Those little individual cans of V-8 Juice would be perfect, but they are not organic. So far I have only been able to find organic juice in big quart size bottles. Once I’ve opened it, I doubt I’ll be able to finish it before it gets old and I don’t want to waste the rest. So I pour the extra juice into ice cube trays and freeze them.

Tomato Juice Cubes
Once they’ve set up, I just pop them out into a large bowl and then transfer them into a zip-lock plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Make sure you squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can, so they don’t get freezer burn. They even stay loose as individual cubes and don’t freeze together. Now whenever I need a little extra tomato juice for something I’m cooking, I just pull out a couple of cubes and add them to my dish. How easy is that?!

What’s that Smell?

Cleaning Supplies of Baking Soda and VinegarEver notice how the kitchen sink garbage disposal sometimes takes on a nasty smell? In the past I’ve put citrus fruit down the disposal to freshen it. But this is only a temporary respite, because the problem is the disposal sides and blades need to be thoroughly cleaned. Over the years I’ve collected some sage advice. (I’m so sorry I don’t remember where I found these tips to give proper credit). Here are three steps that do a thorough job of cleaning and freshening the disposal. All you need is Baking Soda, Vinegar, Lemons, Salt and Ice Cubes. Let me know how it works for you!

 Cleaning the Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal

  1. Sprinkle a half-cup of Baking Soda down the sink disposal. Measure and add one cup of White Vinegar. This mixture will fizz for a while. Let it work while you boil a kettle of hot water. Then pour the boiling water down the drain.
  2. Now fill the disposal with approximately two cups of Ice. Pour in a cup of Salt (if you don’t have rock salt, course sea salt will work) over the ice cubes. Turn on the cold water and leave running while you run the disposal until the ice is gone. This ice/salt mixture helps to loosen the grime and debris from the blades and grinding elements.
  3. Cut a Lemon (or Lime) in half. I sometimes cut the halves into wedges. With the cold water on and the disposal running, add in the citrus fruit pieces one at a time. This will help clean and deodorize the disposal.

Even just doing one of these steps will help clean up your disposal, but doing all three will have it clean and smelling great for some time to come!


Do you have any Kitchen Hints to share?


  1. Mike Sirota

    Sorry, Indy, but as one (two, actually) who avoids the kitchen, I don’t have any helpful hints. For dinner we make reservations. 🙂 (Actually, to eat at our favorite places–Applebee’s, El Pollo Loco, and Chili’s–you don’t need reservations.) 🙂 🙂

    • indy

      Actually, Mike, you may have the best solution of all! :0)

  2. Leslie

    Once again, valuable information. I had no idea about the aluminum foil perforated holes at the end. You would think the company would have done a commercial where they at least showed that cool tip. And the V-8 ice cubes are brilliant. Thanks again for such amazing tips!

    • indy

      You are very welcome, Leslie! Yeah, even some of the plastic wrap boxes have this feature. You’d think someone would mention it in a commercial! Ha!


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