Reader's Digest

How to Hang a Picture, and More

9 Tricks to Improve Your Life*


1 Hang a Picture with a Fork

Having trouble getting your picture-frame wire to catch on the nail in the wall? Use a fork. Place it facing out with the handle sticking skyward and the nail or screw wedged between the middle tines. The fork’s natural contours will cause it to stick out from the wall at a slight angle. Slide the picture wire behind the fork until it reaches the nail, then remove the fork.

2 Reduce Wrinkles Without an Iron

travel If your hotel room doesn’t have an iron, try this trick to get the worst of the wrinkles out: On a flat surface, place a damp towel over the wrinkled clothing and press down to smooth out deep creases. Then hang to air-dry. You can also use the hotel teakettle. When the water is boiling, hold your clothing item about a foot away from the steam.

3 Don’t Leave Your Car On While You Fill Up

According to the Petroleum Equipment Institute, static electricit­y can ignite vapors from the gas station pump, starting a fire. This is more likely in colder months, when the air is dry. Make sure your engine is off before you reach for the nozzle, and avoid getting back into the car—which creates static when your clothing rubs against the seat—until you’ve finished refueling.

4 Protect Your Skin from Your Phone

Electronic­s that contain metals such as nickel and cobalt (as some cell phones do) can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you have red, dry, or itchy patches of skin on your ear, hand, or cheek, pick up a home kit to test for the suspect metals (they’re also used in jewelry and belt buckles). You can protect yourself by setting your phone to speaker, using an earpiece, or putting a cover and clear film screen on your phone.

5 Get Urine Out of the Carpet

Club soda works wonders on pet urine and other tough stains. Blot up the offending liquid, then soak the spot with club soda. Blot again and scrub with diluted carpet shampoo if needed.

6 Water Hanging Plants

If you can’t quite reach a hanging plant with a watering can, ice cubes might help. Just toss several cubes into the pot. Bonus: The slow-melting ice won’t cause a sudden downpour from the drain hole.

7 Take Your Router Out of the Closet

“Having open space for its signal can make a remarkable improvemen­t on your Wi-fi speed,” explains Ryan Hansen, a Verizon Business Internet specialist. Hansen also notes that if you have a big home, the distance from the router to your devices might create connectivi­ty issues. To create a seamless network, it might be worth investing in Wi-fi extenders. They start at about $30.

8 Rinse Whole Grains

Even though grains such as rice, barley, and quinoa are boiled in water or broth until tender, they require an earlier round of rinsing to remove excess starches, dirt, and germs. Plus, quinoa has a natural coating of saponin, a substance that gives it a bitter taste.

9 Save on Prescripti­ons

Even if you have insurance, ask whether your prescripti­on will cost less if you pay for the drug directly. Sometimes that price is less than your insurance co-pay. If the drug is covered by your insurance plan and your pharmacy participat­es in your plan, most insurers will count a purchase such as this toward your out-ofpocket expenses, so it will still help you fulfill your deductible. Just be sure to complete any necessary paperwork.

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