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I’m so clever


Nifty trick for stabilizing that beach umbrella

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.

The winner: I use a garden auger and cordless drill to dig the perfect hole for planting a beach umbrella. My auger cost $45 on Amazon and drills a 2-inch diameter hole up to 24 inches deep. I use my ordinary portable drill and it only takes about 10 seconds and no effort to drill a deep hole. I took a spare battery and the charger to the beach for a week but never needed them. The umbrella has never blown down though cheap ones I bought at beach stores were destroyed standing in high winds. I found a sturdy, fabric model for $50 at an Ace Hardware store that does well

Daniel Caton, Boone

Salad fork as garden tool

The plastic in plant six-packs gets thinner every year, making it harder to get the little plants out. I’ve found if you use a salad fork, they will scoop out easily. Lyn Kopf, Davidson

Tongs to the rescue

I’m in a wheelchair and when I drop something I can’t reach to pick it up off the floor. So now I carry kitchen tongs to pick up stuff. Amelia Wright, Monroe

Win a Clever T-shirt

Send your clever tip, address and phone to or Home Section, Charlotte Observer, P.O Box 30308, Charlotte, NC 28230-0308. Each week the best idea wins an “I’m So Clever” T-shirt.

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