Save Money in this Sunday's paper

The winner: For years I have been having problems with animals crawling under our shed and dying and carpenter bees drilling holes in the wooden skids that the shed rests on. My solution came when I decided to replace the shutters on our house. When I removed the old ones, instead of just tossing them, I painted them black, put screening on the back side and installed them around the bottom of the shed as a skirt. I used them as is without having to cut them to size. I was lucky! Ken Remley, Charlotte

The winner: Unhappy with the retail jewelry storage available, I made my own using 3M Command hooks, applied to the side of a closet shelf. Now all my long necklaces are kept tidy, tangle-free and hidden away.

The winner: We had a lovely cast iron Christmas tree stand that hadn’t been used in years, so my clever husband added a coat of black paint and our patio umbrella has a new home! Much nicer than the standard umbrella stands and a great repurpose for something that once had held trees from Christmases past, when our children were small.

The winner: To create my own travel-size case for my face powder, I place several spoonfuls into a small, clean plastic spice container. This makes for compact packing! Pamm Cantey, Charlotte

The winner: When my wife and I moved into our new home, we realized we did not have any shower curtain rings. My wife came up with an ingenious idea that held us until we went to the store the next day. Larry and Dixie Airey, Charlotte

Best “I’m So Clever” ideas from readers.

The winner: Tall Christmas trees are also quite wide. And some tree skirts can be quite expensive. I could not find a Christmas tree skirt that was large enough for the base of our tree. So I purchased a pretty red holiday tablecloth that has a design woven in it and is 70 inches round. I made one cut halfway through to the center so that it slides easily under the tree and fully covers the entire base extending below the edge of the tree. It was quite affordable, and as a bonus, launders and stores easily. Trish Schimel, Davidson

The winner: Every year after we bring our Christmas tree home, we saw off a 1-inch or so piece from the bottom of the trunk and set it aside to dry. After Christmas, we drill a small hole on the top and then sand it down and paint a picture on it of the most memorable event of that year. We have accumulated 37 ornaments so far, each bringing us joy of memories in years gone by. Of course, making a separate one every year for each child you have makes it even more special! Arlene Tencza, Waxhaw

The winner: When using latex paint, the brush can be kept soft between coats if it is wrapped tightly in a Charlotte Observer plastic sleeve. It will also last overnight if then placed with a wet cloth wrapped around the sleeve and brush and placed in the refrigerator. No need to clean the brush between coats. Charles R. Kern, Charlotte

The winner: I used to come home from grocery shopping with yet another can of tomato sauce because I thought I was out, but would forget the pinto beans because I thought I already had some. No longer a problem. Now, before I leave to shop I snap a photo of my pantry with my phone. I can zoom in to see labels and can sizes.

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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.