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Super Handyman: A new use for lidless plastic storage bins

Large plastic storage bins are a super way to store away all sorts of your precious possessions. But when the lids break or become lost, they can no longer be sealed up. One super thing that can be done with these less-than-perfect storage boxes is to mount them directly on your shop or garage wall. You can use screws or nails to attach them to the wall. Fill them with lightweight sporting equipment, garden tools or pool toys. It will leave your floor clear for other stuff!

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Q: Help me, please. I have dark-stained grout in my shower, and I can’t get it clean. I’ve tried most of the standard bathroom cleaners, but nothing removes all of the dark stains. Please give me another option or two. – H.T.

A: I really swear by bleach. However, you’ll need to make sure you have adequate ventilation because of the serious fumes. Mix bleach and baking soda into a paste, and leave it on top of the stains for several hours and see if that takes care of the problem. If that doesn’t do it, then you need to remove the bad grout and replace it. If it does come clean, then use a paint-on grout sealer to protect it from future mold and mildew.

Tips from readers

I use dryer sheets. I have for years and probably always will. I hear that some people think it’s wasteful, but they are so easy to use, and even the kids will add them when they help with the laundry. I do recycle them, though, by using some of them to wipe our TV and monitor screens. These cloths are lint-free and clean these screens really well. You also can use them on oven and microwave doors. – P.S.

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I have to get my husband to empty them, but I use mouse traps in my house. They are the only way I really know that I am getting rid of these mice. I bait my traps with bacon, but I’ve tried other baits like peanut butter and the ever popular cheese. The thing that I like most about the bacon is that it’s “stretchy,” so they have to pull at the bacon to get a bite of it. It works almost every time! – H.M.

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We have an Irish Setter, and she just had puppies! We’ve been keeping them in a downstairs sunroom. It’s a good-size room, and we wanted to try to keep the puppies in one general area for their own safety. We bought a small kids’ swimming pool and put a blanket inside, and they all stay in there. Mom can get out when she wants to, but the puppies are right there when she gets back in. I’m sure they will outgrow it in a couple of weeks, but for now, it’s so nice for her. It’s easy to keep the room clean, too! – T.H.

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We are trying to upgrade our house on a budget. We have a lot of brass in the doorknobs, lamps and hardware. After shopping, I discovered that replacing all of these would cost me a fortune. I decided to paint them instead. Rust-Oleum makes a variety of metal finishes, including a brushed nickel. I chose this and painted everything with it. I can’t believe the transformation, and it all happened within my budget! – S.W.

A super hint

Can’t remember which way to turn a screw? Just remember this little saying “Clockwise is lockwise.” It has never let me down!

Shoptalk

Goop Hand Cleaner is a staple in my workshop, but recently I’ve discovered Mom’s Goop. Mom’s Goop is for stains on fabric and other washable surfaces. It makes a great pretreatment and spot remover for clothes, upholstery and carpets. It’s easy to use, works great and is widely available at discount stores and grocery stores. If you want to find out more, just go to goophandcleaner.com.