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13 Tips and Tricks All Parents Need to Know

Parenting is hard work. These tips and tricks will help make raising your little ones a bit easier.

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DIY Baseball Organizer parenting tipFamily Handyman

Build a Baseball Organizer

If you have baseball and/or softball enthusiasts in your family, build this bat and ball holder with four-inch PVC pipe and caps to keep their equipment organized. — Randy A. Michel.

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anonymous woman using a Tennis Ball to erase Scuff Marks from the floorFamily Handyman

Easy Scuff Mark Eraser

Remove shoe scuff marks from vinyl flooring with a clean, dry tennis ball. A light rub and heel marks are “erased.”

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anonymous person Cleaning Permanent Marker drawing off a cabinet door With Vegetable OilFamily Handyman

Marker Cleanup

When the permanent marker ends up in the wrong hands, vegetable oil can clean it off lots of surfaces — even skin. Then just wipe up with a damp cloth and you’re done.

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hands placing mesh bag of legos in the top rack of the dishwasher to disinfect themFamily Handyman

Easy Way to Disinfect Legos

Children’s toys are a breeding ground for germs. A dishwasher makes quick work of disinfecting washable toys like Legos. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drop the Legos in a laundry bag to keep them contained.
  2. Run your dishwasher as usual.
  3. Remove the Legos before the drying cycle. Let them air dry on a towel.

This method also works well for seashells, dish brushes, rags and sponges.

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one hand pointing a hair dryer at stickers on a wall while the other hands uses a putty knife to scrape them offFamily Handyman

Get Stickers Off

My son plastered all the furniture in his room with stickers from skate shops, arenas and gumball machines. Once he moved out, I wanted to use his furniture in the new guest room — without the stickers.

I peeled off the stickers with a putty knife in combination with hair dryer, to soften the adhesive. Some are harder to remove than others, but I had them all off in a couple of hours. — Steve Winter.

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Double Your Resealable Bags Parent TipFamily Handyman

Double Your Resealable Bags

This might be the coolest way to turn sandwich-size bags into snack-size bags! Here’s how to do it:

Heat up an old butter knife with a lighter and slice the bag in half. The hot knife cauterizes the edges of the two new bags. The cauterized edges are as strong as the factory-sealed edges! — Julia Trenton.

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Remove Gum From Carpet With Ice Parent TipFamily Handyman

Remove Gum from Carpet

When gum freezes, it turns brittle and easily breaks apart. So if you have gum stuck in your carpet, freeze it to remove it quickly and neatly.

  1. Place a sandwich bag filled with ice cubes on top of the gum and wait about a half hour.
  2. When the gum is frozen, break it apart and pull it out of the carpet. No trace left behind.
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pool noodle handy hint door dingFamily Handyman

Protect Car Doors From Door Dings

I noticed several dings on my car door from opening and banging it against the garage wall. My grandkids had outgrown their pool noodles and I was about to throw them away, but then I thought, “Whoa, this could be the solution!”

I cut the pool noodle in half, the long way, with a utility knife and fit it onto the studs in my garage. The pool noodle should stay put on its own. For a more permanent solution, adhere the pool noodle to the studs with construction cement or a couple of nails. — John Greene.

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No Pinch Trampoline Springs parent tipFamily Handyman

No-Pinch Trampoline Springs

Here’s a simple way to cover trampoline springs to guard against pinched fingers. Cut a pool noodle into short sections, slice lengthwise and slide them over the springs.

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Corral Sports GearFamily Handyman

Corral Sports Gear

Bikes aren’t the only garage items that should be stored properly. This sturdy ball corral holds a herd of balls and lets kids easily grab one at the bottom without removing all the ones on top. It’s built from 3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made our ball corral 24-in. wide x 33-in. high x 12-in. deep.

The hooks on Bungee cords can be a safety hazard for kids and adults alike. So cut the hooks off the cords (or use elastic cord available at camping, sporting goods and hardware stores). Thread the cord through predrilled holes and secure with knots. Drill the holes slightly larger than the cords to make threading them easier.

We added plumbing hooks and short gutter troughs on the outside of the corral to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets and mitts.

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foam pipe insulation to babyproof a tableFamily Handyman

Pipe Insulation for Baby-Proofing

My granddaughter is at the age where babyproofing the home is important for her safety. To avoid injuries when she visits our house, I added some foam pipe insulation around my kitchen countertop and along dangerous edges and corners on furniture pieces in the living room.

The pressure created by the curve of the insulation holds it in place without using the adhesive strip that comes with it. It also makes the babyproofing solution temporary, so I can remove it when my granddaughter isn’t at our house. The adhesive strip does, however, allow you to stick the insulation to edges and corners if it tends to slip off, or if the child tries to remove it. — Joe Zayac

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Remove Crayon From Walls Parent TipFamily Handyman

Remove Crayon Marks From Wall

Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They’ll come off with minimal effort and give your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas.

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hands cleaning white sneakers with a toothbrush and toothpasteFamily Handyman

Use Toothpaste to Clean Sneakers

All you need is an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to get your kid’s sneakers (or yours) looking like new! Non-gel white toothpaste works great for cleaning white-soled sneakers. Avoid colored toothpaste, which may stain.

Apply toothpaste to an old toothbrush, then work it into the dirty spots. Leave the toothpaste on the shoes for about ten minutes, and then wipe it off with a damp towel. Repeat the process if necessary.

Note: The ingredients in toothpaste may vary from brand to brand, so try this method on a small, unnoticeable spot on your sneakers before applying it to the rest of the shoe.