We have been recycling since long before it was “the thing to do,” and we have heard about lots of super ways to recycle plastic jugs. One of the most popular things to make from an empty milk jug is a scooper for dry materials. You’ve probably tried it yourself. But we also have a suggestion for recycling those smaller plastic jugs, like the ones juice comes in. These make a scoop that is just the perfect size for a standard gutter. They usually are strong enough to clean out most of the leaves and acorns once a month. You’ll want to do a more thorough job when you have time, but a small jug will do a good enough job to keep things running smoothly.


Q: I have a spot in my den where the carpeting just keeps pulling up at the wall. I push it back down every time I walk by, but it just comes up again later. What can I do to really stick it back down? Glue? Nails? – B.T.

A: Is there a tack strip under the edge of the carpet? If so, you can press the carpet down and tap it with a hammer to drive the backing into the tack strip points. If there is no tack strip, you can use some double-sided carpet tape or even a small line of adhesive.


Q: I finally pulled some of my parents’ furniture out of storage to use in our home. Some of these pieces have a sort of musty smell to them. What can I do to get rid of this odor? – F.C.

A: Wipe down all the surfaces, inside and out, with mineral-spirits paint thinner. This will get rid of any dust and grease. If the wood has not been sealed, then you can apply a sealer. Clear will work fine and will seal in the smells. That should take care of the problem.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: We cover our pool during the winter months. It cuts way down on the cleaning we would have to do; plus, it’s too cold to get out there much anyway. We do get a lot of leaves on top of the cover but are able to vacuum them off when they pile up too much. I have a long section of PVC pipe that I hook up to my shop vac, and I just push it out onto the cover to pick up the leaves. It’s the only way to reach them since you can’t walk on top of the cover. – J.D.


Dear Al: I have a neat trick to pass along to your readers. We live in a rural area and have mice occasionally. I don’t like traps because I just don’t have time to check them daily. I use poison, but I realize the need to be careful with it. I use coffee cans with lids on them as my “traps.” I cut a small hole on one side and then put some poison blocks inside the can. Then I glue the lid onto the can. This allows the mice to get in but won’t accidentally let a cat or dog in. It works quite well, and I have a steady supply of coffee cans for when it’s time to refill them. – G.T.


Dear Kelly: My husband and I are redoing our old dining-room table. We are stripping it down to the original wood surface. I love the orange strippers because they are safer and smell a lot better, but you still have to get the gooey paint off. We were using small putty knives but switched to my dustpan. It’s a lot wider, so it gets a wide swath off all at one time. Plus, the old paint ends up in the pan, so it’s easy to dump out. – J. and T.S.


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