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I’m so clever


Nail apron is a perfect surgery drain holder

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: Recently, I had some back surgery, which required I wear two drains for a week (a common situation after surgery). Rather than pin them to my clothing, I stopped at a home improvement store and purchased a nail apron for a few dollars. The apron is designed to tie around your waist and has three pockets. I put a drain in each pocket, and it was much easier to carry them around. Now that the drains are removed, I still wear the apron and keep my cellphone, glasses and other “losable” items in it! My doctor’s office loved the idea when I shared it. Margaret Railey, Harrisburg

Greeting cards make great note paper

I receive so many cards during the year that I can’t stand to throw them away. I tear off the front when the reverse side is blank and write my grocery lists, to-do lists, etc. on them. It recycles and saves money. Kitten Moser, Monroe

Tape trick protects stylish fingernails in dishwater

Are the pull-down spouts on your dishwasher detergent boxes doing a number on your manicure? Here’s a solution: When you first open the box, wipe off the spout and then apply a 3-inch piece of tape, with about a half-inch attached to the inside, then fold most the remaining tape together to create a tab, leaving a half-inch to tape to the outside of the spout. Lynn Kopf, Davidson

New Prize:

‘I’m So Clever’ book

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” book. You can order a copy at for just $5.99, plus shipping. Also available at Park Road Books, Blackhawk Hardware, and the General Store in Belmont.

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