A compendium of Recomendo




Jewelry cleaning hacks

I once overheard a Tiffany’s salesman whispering to his customers that the store used only Windex to keep their diamonds shiny, and since then that’s all I use. HuffPost has a great article on other jewelry cleaning hacks. I have yet to try ketchup on silver, but it’s definitely on my list. — CD 

Folding hack

I thought I was a pro at folding clothes (thanks to my college days spent working at Gap), but recently came across this hack for folding North Face jackets in an Amazon review and was amazed at how compact this technique made my hoodie sweater. I rolled it into the size of softball and was able to carry it in my small crossbody bag. — CD

DIY Cleaner Spray

We’ve been making our own cleaner spray for years. It’s mainly water with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and corn starch. It cuts right through grease, smells much better than commercial cleaners, and costs less than 50 cents a gallon. The recipe is called the “Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner” and is posted here. — MF

Laundry organizer

My husband and I bought these mesh bags to organize our laundry. We use black sharpie to write washing instructions on them like “no fabric softener, dryer ok” or “cold wash, hang dry.” This has cleared up a lot of confusion. — CD 

Eternal clocks

It’s that time of year. The strange American habit of switching hours twice a year for Daylight Savings is a real bummer if you have wall clocks. Glancing at a clock, BTW, is a lot more handy than pulling out a phone. The solution to Daylight Savings hassle is to get a “atomic radio” wall clock which uses radio signals from government atomic clocks to keep perfect time and update themselves during seasonal changes. They come in analog or digital varieties. For several decades we’ve used La Crosse analog atomic clocks (about $25) in our kitchen and office for constant precise time and never need to think about them. — KK

Best Christmas trees

For the past decade I’ve found the place to get least expensive decent-sized real Christmas trees is at the local Home Depot. The trees are wrapped up commodities. I don’t even bother unwrapping them to inspect them before I toss one into the car; the trees are all extremely uniform. I haven’t been disappointed. — KK

Happy hangers

Following the advice of Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo, I’ve gone through my closet and kept only those clothes that “bring me joy.” Second step was to extend the joy by arranging the dress clothes on uniform decent wooden hangers, recycling the mess of wire misfits I had accumulated. I got 30 wooden hangers cheaply from Amazon Basics for $18. Happy clothes!. — KK

Smudge-free surfaces

My husband bought a bunch of these extra large microfiber cloths and now we keep them everywhere — home drawers, office, car, purse. I spend at least 10 hours a day staring at a screen and/or wearing glasses. I never knew I needed something so much in my life. — CD

Stiff-bristled scrubbing brush

The Bürstenhaus Redecker ($10) is made from beechwood and has incredibly stiff palm leaf fiber bristles. It removes burnt eggs from cast-iron pans with ease. I was a die-hard fan of the OXO scrubbing brush, but this is better. — MF

Handy hooks

My husband put these plastic hooks up all the around the house (bedroom/pantry/kitchen/shower) and no hook goes unused. You’ll be surprised what you can find to hang when the hook is there. Another plus is that they’re white like most of our walls, so they’re barely noticeable when not being used. — CD

Organizational Tip

Keeping my makeup, charger and other loose belongings in zippered pouches makes it easy to move from purse to purse without misplacing or leaving something behind. These black mesh bags work well, because you can see what’s inside. — CD 

Silverfish solution

For years we’ve had silverfish darting around our guest bathroom. I bought some silverfish traps (little cardboard boxes with sticky goo to ensnare them) and they helped, but didn’t stop them. A few weeks ago I read that lavender oil is a good silverfish repellent. It’s only $7 for a small bottle on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try. I wetted the end of a Q-Tip with the oil and ran it around the perimeter of the bathroom floor, adding a little extra to a seam between the floor and the wall. It smelled nice and we did not see a single silverfish for two weeks. I finally saw one, reapplied lavender oil on the perimeter of the floor, and haven’t seen any since. — MF

Home safety

I just purchased our fourth Nest smoke and carbon monoxide alarm for our home. As our old Home Depot smoke alarms go kaput one by one, I have replaced them with the more expensive, but superior, Nest. They seem to last longer, are smarter, less annoying, and are networked via wifi. In theory (no actual disasters yet), each Nest will broadcast a concern it detects to all the others, so a fire in my downstairs home office would be announced in a message by the Nest in our living room. It also sends alerts to my phone if I am away. — KK

HomeClaudia Dawson