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Super Handyman: Jars keep string under control

String comes in handy for all sorts of projects and crafts. The key to having a good variety of string available is to keep it stored in an organized way. Probably the easiest and least expensive storage system is a collection of plastic jars that will hold a ball of string per container. I like to use peanut butter jars because we usually have them on hand, and they also come in several sizes.

Just drill a hole in the top and feed the end of the string through the jar lid, and then screw it on to keep the rest of the string inside. Pull out what you need and trim it off.

Leave a little bit hanging out so you easily can get what you need the next time.

If you find that the plastic jars tip over too easily, just put a couple of rocks inside to add some weight!


Q: My kitchen has a nice tile backsplash. I keep it pretty clean, but I sure would like to see if there is a way to seal it against grease and stains.

What should I use? – F.R.

A: Use a paint-on grout sealer. It will penetrate the surface and seal it from stains. This process will need to be repeated every year or so in order to keep it sealed.

Tips from readers

When we bought our trampoline, it came with a net and spring covers. Since then, we’ve had to repair and replace several parts of it, which can get a little costly. I did find a better and cheaper way to cover the springs: I used a pool noodle cut to fit the length of the springs. These sections will do a good job of protecting the kids at a fraction of the cost of the other covers. – H.S.


I finally had my first garage sale. Thank goodness that my sister helped me. We got donations from several neighbors, too. To keep everyone’s stuff straight, we used color-coded tags. Each person used a different color, and we collected the tags with amounts written on them at the “checkout.”

At the end of the day, it was much easier to sort through these colored tags to see how much each person was due.

I got rid of so much stuff and made enough money to replace my old patio umbrella! It was well worth it to me. – N.P.


I use mouthwash to wash my hands when I have a bad smell on them that won’t go away. My friend told me about this idea after we had been cleaning his burned-out home a few weeks ago. We just couldn’t get rid of that smoke smell. The mouthwash really worked pretty well.

I have tried it again, and it works on fish smell, too, after a recent fishing trip. – R.G.

A super hint

A wall-mounted coat rack is good for tight entryways. If you don’t want to make a bunch of holes in your wall to hang one piece of wood, mount enough hooks for all of your coats onto one piece and then just use a couple of screws to fasten it.


Painting a deck is something you want to do right the first time so it will last a long time. Behr Premium DeckOver is a good choice for this. It’s designed to add a superstrong surface to a standard wooden or even concrete deck. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and a textured version as well. Use it to conceal splinters and cracks of up to a quarter-inch wide, and create a smooth, slip-resistant finish that resists cracking and peeling. To find out more, go to or look for it at your local home center.