Household hints (and life advice) with Kate!

  1. You can put your sponge in the dishwasher if it starts getting gross. Also, Dawn dish washing liquid rots sponges much faster than anything else I’ve used, which is sad because it really does a great job at cutting grease. I tend to use eco-friendly stuff because I’m a fantastic person.
  2. If your cast iron has been used but isn’t super dirty and doesn’t have anything majorly stuck to it, you can clean it with vegetable oil instead of water. I know that people say it’s ok to use (gentle) soap on your cast iron, but I never do. Hot water if necessary, steel wool, a tablespoon of oil, and putting it back on the hot burner to make sure the oil soaks in while you rub it in really well. No oil should remain sitting on the surface. Think of it as polishing, not lubricating. Excess oil will bead up and leave brown stains on the your pan.
  3. NEVER SOAK A CAST IRON PAN. Dry it as soon as it’s clean and rub it down with oil while heating it up.
  4. If you have particularly stubborn crap stuck on a stainless steel pan, pretend you’re going to a science fair and mix up some household vinegar and baking soda in the pan. Heat it (medium low) on the stove if you want it to work faster to get the crap off. This also works on cast iron, but you want to be careful to not eat away all your seasoning, so only do it in an emergency.
  5. Cast iron is the only way to really cook a steak on the stove, and I am willing to die on this hill.
  6. For sticker residue, alcohol and a good scrub tends to work pretty well to get it up. Hand sanitizer works too! For something harder to remove, like bumper sticker adhesive, WD-40 is a very good thing to have around.
  7. The same goes for permanent marker. Rubbing alcohol and/or WD-40 work very well. You can also use a normal pencil eraser to get most of it off something non-porous.
  8. Dry erase marker cleans up permanent marker or stuck-on dry erase marker on a whiteboard. So does alcohol. It will mess up colored markers if you use them to clean up black ink, though, so be careful.
  9. 70% isopropyl alcohol is better for cleaning wounds than higher strengths. I’m not sure why this is, but I know that it is science.
  10. Wayfair is cheap for a reason. That reason is that their stuff is cheaply made. However, their refund policy is pretty great.
  11. Gatorade powder is available in stores and much cheaper (and better for the planet) than buying it one bottle at a time.
  12. If you sew, you should have at least one pair of scissors that aren’t used for ANYTHING other than sewing. I have two pairs, one large and one small. If your (now former) sister-in-law uses your sewing scissors for something else even after you repeatedly told her not to, tell her that she sucks and go out and buy new scissors. Move out and take the good sewing machine since they’re both yours anyway.
  13. Buy a decent sewing machine if you can afford it. Cheap ones break down really easily and do sloppy work.
  14. Same with vacuum cleaners.
  15. Dryer balls really do help make sure all your towels and other absorbent/thick items all get dry. Do not overstuff your washer or dryer. It’s better to do a second load than have a bunch of wet towels you have to hang up.
  16. If your clothes are particularly smelly (socks, anything mildewed,) putting a cup of white vinegar in the washer with your detergent will usually take care of it.
  17. Buy a waterproof, washable mattress cover. You might think “this is not necessary,” and I would tell you that you are a fool. Especially if you drink liquids in bed, or you’re planning to get e-coli.
  18. Do not get e-coli. Maybe make sure there are no produce recalls or advisories before buying a salad from Dominos? Otherwise, when you wake up at 1:43 a.m. with the worst stomach cramps of your life and spend most of the rest of the night in the bathroom, you might end up stumbling on the article about tainted lettuce several hours too late.
  19. If your shoes are not comfortable, do not wear those shoes. I buy used and discounted clothing all the time, in fact, I rarely buy anything else. But I do not do this with shoes. Shoes are vitally important because your foot bones connect to all your other bones eventually, and shitty shoes can hurt your knees, hips, and back.
  20. If you are blessed with breasts, find a bra that fits and is comfortable to wear all day. If you still love it after a month, buy several more of them.
  21. You can buy cheap beauty and skincare stuff and get by just fine, but the expensive stuff is often worth a splurge.
  22. Take care of your skin so you don’t turn into a wrinkled old hag. Start doing this before you think it’s actually necessary. Otherwise you’ll have to invest a lot more into reversing the effects of sun damage, smoking, and general carelessness.
  23. The Dollar Tree medicine aisle often has the stuff you need, and everything’s a dollar. Pregnancy tests, ibuprofen, generic Benadryl, wound care stuff… I even got retinol cream there that I use on my eyes at night (see previous part about skincare.)
  24. That being said, name-brand Band-Aids are worth buying. Other brands (Curel!) make good stuff as well, but generic brands almost universally suck. Also, if you’re allergic to plastic bandaids, you might not be allergic to the fabric ones.
  25. If you need stuff like fitness equipment, a curling iron, socks or new tights, etc.,) check Marshalls or Ross to see if they have it before splurging somewhere else.
  26. If you have a milk sensitivity (not necessarily lactose intolerance; for me it isn’t the lactose) heavy cream might not set it off as much as milk does. Non-dairy creamer also seems to work for a lot of people and I can’t taste the difference in coffee and tea. Instead of using milk and butter in boxed mac n’ cheese (don’t you dare judge me) I often use heavy cream and maybe a little salt.
  27. Poshmark, Mercari, and eBay are great for when you want vintage or designer shit but you aren’t rolling in money, god damn it.
  28. https://www.remove.bg/ is a great way to remove the backgrounds from photos for free. See below.
Also, if you have a tiny purse like this one, which is frickin Kate Spade and cost $60, people wont ask you to carry their shit around all the time.

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