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HOME&GARDEN HINTS

TRANSFERRING POTS: When transplanting a plant from a smaller container to a larger one, cut three sections of the roots from around the plant, then loosen the dirt around the plant. Place pieces of Styrofoam in the bottom of the new pot and then place a piece of filter fabric on top of the Styrofoam.

Next, place soil in the pot, then the plant, then surround the plant with more soil. Finally, water the plant thoroughly.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Before you try to sell your home, clean up your outdoor atmosphere. Remove dead plants from the front porch, gather up any toys and bikes left by the kids, wash the windows, place fresh mulch in flower beds and add a special touch or two to your outside by placing a welcome mat or new potted plants near the door. Buyers see the outside first, which will make a lasting impression!

CHANGE THE BATTERIES: The good news is that most homes in the United States now have smoke detectors. The bad news is that a third of them will not work because the batteries are dead or missing.

Check your smoke detectors monthly by either pushing the test button with the end of a broomstick or by using an aerosol test can that simulates actual fire conditions.

MAGNETS MADE EASY: When you're starting screws in a tight spot, it's helpful to use a magnetic-tipped screwdriver, which will hold the screw in place instead of using a hand. If you don't have a magnetic-tipped screwdriver, make your own by dragging the blade over a magnet several times in the same direction. (To demagnetize the tip, drag it in the other direction). The magnet tip will also be useful in picking up nails and screws from your toolbox.

OUT, SPOT: To clean a grease spot on a concrete or asphalt surface, apply cat litter and allow it to set overnight. Take up the cat litter and apply a layer of a carbonated beverage, such as Coke. Mix a small amount of detergent into the Coke and then scrub the spot. Finally, wipe the Coke and detergent up.

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