The Best Time to Book a Cruise, and More
9 ways to Improve Your Life*
1 Book a Cruise ASAP
travel March is the last month of what the industry calls “wave season.” Cruise lines want to sell as many cabins as possible, so they often throw in upgrades and amenities such as free excursions.
2 Remove Water Stains from Wood
cleaning Did your most recent party leave you with rings on your wood furniture? To make them disappear, apply petroleum jelly and let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe the marks away with the jelly.
3 Get Rid of Drain Flies
home “Unused drains create a slimy film that creates an ideal breeding spot for drain flies,” says Brad Smith, president of Preferred Pest Control. Also sometimes called sink moths, drain flies are harmless to humans, but they are unsightly and can multiply quickly. To get rid of them, boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain, then scrub it with a metal pipe brush. Follow up with more boiling water one or two times a day for a week.
4 Don’t Let Your Leather Weather
organizing Extreme temperatures will cause leather jackets and shoes to lose moisture and crack. When putting away your seasonal belongings, keep them in your climate-controlled home or storage unit rather than in the garage or basement.
5 Sit Comfortably in Any Chair
health The problem with most chairs is that they’re too soft or too deep. That forces your lower back into a slouched, C-shaped position, which can lead to pain. Jean Couch, founder of Spinefulness and the Balance Center, has a trick to help your posture: Roll a sweater, blanket, pillow, or towel into a makeshift wedge and place it in the middle of your chair. Then sit on the front part of the wedge with your legs at a 120-degree angle (not 90 degrees). This will help tip your pelvis forward and let your knees sit comfortably below your thighs.
6 Preserve Your Laptop’s Battery technology It sounds counterintuitive, but unplugging your laptop can help save its battery. The capacity of the lithium ion batteries most laptops use diminishes slightly with each charging cycle, so keeping it plugged in when you don’t need to degrades its capacity more quickly. Aim to keep the charge between 50 and 80 percent. A good strategy? Plug your laptop in first thing in the morning, recommends Tim Katsch, former vice president of idropped. Once it’s charged, unplug it for the rest of the day. The same applies to your smartphone battery. 7 Teach the Leash pets Think you have a headstrong dog when you’re out for a walk? Most dogs are like that. “Dogs have an opposition reflex. You pull back; they pull forward,” says Russell Hartstein, a certified dog behaviorist and trainer. The way to train your pet to go with your flow is to start by taking him or her on a distraction-free walk. The best place to do that: inside your house. “After your dog has successfully walked next to you on the leash in your home, advance to the backyard, then a few houses down, and so on,” Hartstein says. 8 Get a Key Chain Remote for Your Garage auto A thief who breaks into your car can grab the remote for easy access to your garage. This isn’t a problem only when you’re parked in the driveway; the registration card in your glove box gives away your address. So get rid of the remote on your visor and buy a key chain remote, which you can easily take with you every time you leave the car. You’ll find universal remotes online from about $20.
9 Get a Tax Break When You Volunteer
money Volunteering is its own reward, of course, but it can also help on your tax returns. The cost of transportation to your volunteer location is tax deductible—you can use the standard 14 cents per mile. Out-of-pocket costs are deductible too. Just be sure to keep accurate records.