Lots of tools, hardware and other accessories easily hang on a pegboard wall. As for the other things that you want to keep handy, you can create simple “pockets” to hold them. We took a couple of plastic bottles from the recycling bin out in the garage. Then we cut off the tops of the bottles and punched a hole into the side so it would hang on a pegboard hook. Depending on what size bottle you use, it could hold tools, hardware or other items. One of our bottles now holds safety glasses and another holds a tape measure.


Q: My kitchen stove is great and has two metal filters inside the vent-hood. I need to find out how to get the grease off of them. What would you suggest? – R.T.

A: Lay them in a shallow pan and cover them with mineral spirits paint thinner. This will loosen the grease. You can use a steel wool pad to get the heavy grease off. An old toothbrush also will work to remove the heavier areas of grease. After they are clean, wash them with soap and water to remove any paint thinner. Let them dry and re-install them.

Tips from readers

Dear Al: I was watching the news and they reminded everyone to test their smoke detectors after a local fire. Well, I did it and was shocked to find that a couple of them didn’t work because the batteries were dead. I went ahead and changed all of the batteries, and now I know that they all work! – G.S.


Dear Kelly: I found some white vinyl lattice panels. They look just like the ones made of wood, but they’re vinyl, so they won’t deteriorate in the weather. I used them to support my tomatoes and some other climbing vegetables in the garden this summer. I just washed them with a hose and they are good to go for next year. The old wooden panels probably wouldn’t have made it through a single season, but these are just great. – P.D.


Dear Al: We have a closet in our garage that is great for storage but was always a hassle to get in and out of because of the doors. I took the doors off and converted them to sliding doors. Now I can get into the closet more easily and we don’t have to back the cars out to do it. These “pocket doors” really are neat. I may have to add some indoors, too. – T.L.


Dear Carrells: We have a few outlets in our garage, and we have a refrigerator in there as well. Occasionally we trip the GFCI on the circuit on the outlet outside the garage, which trips all of the circuits in the garage. The reset button is behind the fridge, which is super hard to reach. We finally figured out that outlet is on a separate circuit and doesn’t trip as often. We finally plugged the fridge into this outlet so we wouldn’t have an accidental meltdown. – A.R.

A Super hint

Plastic grocery bags make great emergency gloves for answering the door or phone when your hands are messy. Slip on one of these bags when it’s time to empty the cat box, clean up a doggie boo-boo or any, and all, messes in and around your home.


We recommend using a primer and sealer for so many paint projects. BIN Advanced from Rust-Oleum has created a synthetic shellac that will block water stains, rust, crayon, lipstick, grease, intense paint colors, graffiti and even bad odors. It even can be used to cover smoke stains after a fire. The bright-white finish gives you the perfect surface to make a clean start with. It can be used indoors and out, and dries quickly to save you time. Go to