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Weighted tarp keeps the pine straw dry

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: Keeping a stack of pine straw dry before you spread it is easier when you weight the tarp. This idea is wind-proof: Use the orange loops of cord off the first few bales of pine needles to attach bricks to the grommet-holes in the tarp. Using bricks with holes makes it extra easy. And stacking the bales on another tarp makes it easy to drag the bales across the yard.

Julie Benda, Kannapolis

No more rusty can rings

When you leave a can of air freshener on a counter, sometimes the can will rust. I use two strips of clear packing tape to make a + crossing on the bottom of the can and up the side a few inches. The tape doesn't really show, and it keeps me from having rusty rings to clean off the counter.

Joyce Holden, Summerville, S.C.

Use toothbrush as bulb duster

I have read that light bulbs give more brightness if they are free of dust. The CFL bulbs can be difficult to clean. I found that a toothbrush does a great job of getting in between the coils. Regina Bruns, Taylorsville

Win a Clever T-shirt

Send your clever tip, address and phone to clever@charlotteobserver.com 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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