Kirsty's Handy Household Hints, Part 1 of 1

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Imagine you reach into your fridge for the milk bottle at a critical moment (say, there's a cup of hangover tea brewing in your mug, or the half-made bechamel for your we-might-not-have-a-flat-but-we'll-always-have-cheese macaroni is busy congealing in a pan) only to find that the milk is past its use-by date. What do you do? Give the bottle a cursory sniff, recoil in horror and chuck it in the recycling? No! No you do not! Here's how to tell if your milk is still drinkable.

They key thing is not to sniff the bottle. Those crusty dried bits of milk at the neck of the bottle will always smell gross, and you could end up throwing away perfectly good milk, and tea, and macaroni cheese. Instead, get a clean glass and pour a couple of inches of milk into it, step away from the crusty bottle-top, and stick your nose right in there.

If it smells fresh (or doesn't really smell of anything), you may proceed to step two: have a sip. Admittedly, this part can be hit or miss. If it tastes fresh or just the right side of creamy, it's good to go. If it's sour or cheesy, well, oops. Sorry about that. Hope you had your toothbrush handy. But hey, better to realise now than when your cup of tea tastes like you stirred the milk in with your big toe after walking all day in ballet pumps, right?

I think the fact that I've used this glass trick more than once in the past two weeks probably tells you everything you need to know about what I've been up to. Comfort food intake is at an all-time high, while shopping for food at normal human intervals has taken something of a back seat. Flat-hunting can really sap the soul.

But it's all okay now because we have finally found a flat! With walls and everything! Just don't mention the dog. (Or the garden or the dishwasher that we do not have. Especially the dishwasher. I'm still in mourning.)

Okay. This post has literally exhausted my supply of handy household hints, unless you count sweeping up dust bunnies from the bathroom floor while sitting on the toilet (multi-tasking!). Anyone got any good ones for me? Tips on staying sane - and married - without the benefit of a dishwasher would be especially welcome...

Polkadot milk bottle and cow milk bottle both by Hanne Rysgaard

22 boats moored

  1. The tip that seems to impress the most people involves creative use of ice cube trays:

    - freeze leftover red wine (although from the sounds of your life lately, who says there will be any leftover?) into cubes, then store in a ziplock and use to cook with.

    - freeze fresh herbs in water into cubes, repeat, etc.

    Round 2: If you lose an earring or hard contact lense, stick a pair of tights over the nozzle of the vaccuum and you'll pick things up without losing them into the dusty void.

    Round 3: Eating cream of tomato soup out of mugs helps get rid of tea/coffee staining. No word of a lie.

    Round 4: Yoghurt and charcoal biscuits helps with stinky greyhounds (ie: putting it on their food)and that liquid toothpaste stuff really works! And will be invaluable in a couple of years time because greyhounds have terribly porous enamel, poor dears. Try giving her some of that homeopathic dog calming stuff 48 hours before you move to a week or so after - it really helps with mitigating the anxiety of a big change like that...

    That's all I've got off the top of my head. I'm so excited for your new flat and good luck with moving - when's the big day?


    1. That hoover trick is GENIUS!!!

    2. Wow, these are some genuinely helpful tips! Thanks Molly!

    3. Oh, and we move out of our current flat in a couple of weeks and into the new one at the end of the month. The in-between bit is still up for discussion...

    4. These tips are amazing - we already freeze herbs but it never occurred to me to do the same with wine... Are you ever tempted to eat them as wine Popsicles? Cos I won't lie, that was like the second thing I thought of.

  2. Woop on the flat! I have a dishwasher, he's called Tom!

    Thank you, I'm here all week.

  3. We didn't have a dishwasher until we moved to Aberdeen and even then I wouldn't let Aidan use it because I felt it was a waste of power and water until the very end of our stay there when I stopped doing all house work. Our rule was always if one person cooks, the other does dishes, and it worked out fine. I find that doing dishes isn't so bad- it's jut the idea of doing dishes that sucks.

    Yay new flat!

    1. This is our rule too. Don't you find with 2 people it takes ages to fill the dishwasher? I had one in a rented flat once but we didn't use it that much.
      I am chief milk taster in my flat, Ross claims he can't tell if it's off or not! But I hate when it tastes like it's just on the right side of ok then you put it in tea and it starts to separate out - makes me sad :(

  4. I have been house hunting lately. House hunting as in Rightmove stalking. Anyway, found a house, it's perfect. Has luxuries I would never have dreamed of (downstairs loo! Whatever next?!) but then *duh duh duuuuuuuuuh* no dishwasher.

  5. The fact that the house was about £50k over budget is irrelevant.

  6. Get the Boon Lawn Drying Rack. Happiness.

    Yes. It is for babies. Whatever.

    1. Buy it!
      We have and I love it - its so cheery, though it doesn't hold as many dishes as we use.

      (it really is one of my better 'let's use a baby as an excuse to buy random expensive stuff online at 2am' purchases)

  7. Ha very handy tips! I don't really like the taste (or smell) of milk very much so when I smell it I never know when it's off.

    Lovely blog, a friend just pointed me in your direction!

    Hannah x

    1. Thanks Hannah, and welcome! Your friend clearly has excellent taste.

  8. Our dishwasher is broken and as we are trying to move, we're not replacing it. It's horrible. And so far, in 2 weeks, James hasn't washed up once. He's working from home today and if I get home and find dishes you're going to hear me scream all the way from bonny Scotland! You have my sympathy.

  9. Congrats on the flat!
    House hunting is a misery - only fun for that first bit of rightmove browsing when you don't really think you'll have to move and let your upper limit creep up and up 'just to see what's out there'. We do the cook // dishwasher division of labour too (I am designated washer for the most part)

    As for household tips:
    - olive oil to clean sticky stuff off glass jars;
    - newspaper to clean windows / mirrors; and
    - keep stale bread in a jar until you've got a decent amount, then stick in the blender to make breadcrumbs and store in ziplock bags to use in cooking.
    That's all I've got.

    Dust bunnies on the toilet might be a gamechanger

  10. MAN, except for one year at university I haven't lived in a place with a dishwasher in almost 15 years. Our thing is that I do daytime dishes and he does night dishes (he cooks, too, so this seems a bit lopsided). Either way you cut it it's a lot of washing. I'm a fierce advocate of washing immediately after every meal or snack, because otherwise it stacks up and is horrifically daunting. My mother has this system where she likes to save all dishes until the end of the day, and when I was visiting them last month I wanted to curl into a ball on the floor at the sheer volume piled up by nightfall.

    That's about 100 more words on dishwashing than anyone cared to read.

    Congrats on the new flat! I will eat some mac&cheese in celebration of you.

  11. we've been dishwasher-less for the entirety of our cohabitation and it has been okayyyy. our rule seems to be whoever is the most annoyed by the dishes had better just roll his* sleeves up and do them

    (*it's always HIM)

  12. Congratulations on the flat! I hope things settle into a new routine soon.

  13. He he, I'm all for chucking out dubious milk – I'm decadent like that!

    On the dishwasher... all you have to do is badly cut yourself and then the mister won't let you do the dishes any more! (Or at least that's how it worked out with me and N's first place... honest I didn't do it deliberately!)