Save Money in this Sunday's paper

The winner: I like my closet to be neat and organized, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on fancy decorative boxes. Instead I purchased storage file boxes and created cute labels for them on my computer. Voila! Cute storage at a reasonable price! When we moved cross-country, I just sealed up the boxes, and they went into the truck already labeled and ready to put on the shelf in my new closet. Karen Poppen, Huntersville

The winner: We are seniors living alone with two bathrooms. One has a walk-in shower which we use exclusively. We needed storage space in the other and I suggested the idea of installing a vanity over the unused bathtub. We bought a door the same width as the bathtub and cut the length to fit and four legs to the desired height and – voila. We bought some cloth at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia to cover the door and drape over the tub. I now have a very nice vanity where I keep a basket of towels, candles, etc. Everything can be easily removed if we need the bathtub again. Anne Warlick, Cherryville

The winner: Chains on swings can pinch fingers and pull hair. Use foam pipe insulation to cover the chain. It’s split up the side to go on pipe and slides onto the chain perfectly.

The winner: My washer and dryer are in a hall closet and I have nowhere to hang our clothes as I take them out of the dryer. We purchased an extendable closet rod and put it in a hallway door whenever we do the laundry. It gives us an instant place to hang the clothes and it stores easily next to the washer and dryer. Problem solved. Joyce Christian, Mount Gilead

The winner: Many spices in the “International” or “Hispanic” sections of some grocery stores are considerably lower than the same spices sold in the cooking/baking aisle. Not all spices are represented in the international sections, but those that are generally offer a sizable savings.

The winner: To add more space for clothes hanging in a crowded closet, buy plastic chain at a home improvement store and have it cut into 2-foot lengths. You can create a hook by cutting a 1/2-inch piece out of the side of an end link or buy an S hook to attach the chain to the clothes rod. The chain will hang down and you can hook clothes hangers in the chain links.

The winner: Cat scratchboards are not cheap. My 19-pound cat, Franky, has two of them. But he only uses the ends, not the middle. So after shredding the ends, I cut the scratchboards in half, reverse the pieces, and glue them back together. Presto! New ends for the busy kitty.

The winner: My favorite old broach had tarnished, but I wasn't ready to toss it. So I decided to put a fresh coat of nail polish on it, just to see what it would look like. I chose an amber. To my surprise, it looked new. It gave it a copper patina, which I loved.

The winner: The leftover lids from Duke’s mayo jars fit Mason or Ball jars perfectly. It’s great for when you don’t want to use up your canning lids to store perishables or dry goods, and it’s one less item to trash or recycle.

The winner: Whenever I need to refill or exchange the propane tank from my grill, I place it in a milk crate for transport. The crate keeps it upright and prevents the tank from tipping or rolling around. The crate is easy to maneuver and keeps my car cleaner, as my tank is sometimes grimy. And, it also works for transporting my gas can when I need to refill it as well.

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I'm So Clever
What a smart stocking stuffer! More than 450 thrifty tips from readers are compiled in our 'I'm So Clever' book that is on sale now.

I'm So Clever
I'm So Clever is compiled by Observer assistant features editor Roland Wilkerson. Send your tip, name, address and phone by email or mail to Home Section, Charlotte Observer, P.O Box 30308, Charlotte, N.C. 28230.
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