If your grandmother was anything like mine, it seemed like there was nothing she couldn’t do. She could sew just about everything, grow just about anything, and seemed to know just about everything!
This is because my grandmother raised children during the Great Depression. She learned to make things herself … or do without! She passed some of these skills on to my mother, and I picked up a few myself, but I was thinking the other day about things my grandmother did that she really never talked about.
Looking back, I can see that these little “hacks” of hers were pretty darn useful, yet for some reason, she never felt the need to explain them.
So, in this article, I want to share the top 5 hacks that my grandmother practiced, but never talked about, just in case your grandmother never shared them with you, either!
1. Keep straight pins sharp
My grandmother kept two pin cushions. One was the typical cloth “tomato,” but she also had another one that was simply a bar of soap. I foolishly thought that my grandmother was just too cheap to buy a new pin cushion, but low and behold, I later found one of my friends using a bar of soap as a pin cushion. When I asked him why, he told me that this kept his straight pins sharp and the soap made them glide through the fabric easier.
2. No more lonely socks
When I would lose a sock or if by chance one sock developed holes or the elastic wore out before the other one did, I would give them to my grandmother. This was at her request. I never asked why she wanted them; I assumed she would make sock puppets (which she did on occasion) or use them for some “silly” purpose, but it wasn’t until I saw my mother use an old sock for dusting that the light bulb went off in my head.
I was buying those microfiber towels for dusting, and here the answer to dusting was right under my nose. My old socks work just as well as my microfiber towels — and they don’t cost a dime!
3. Umbrella or sunhat?
My grandmother was fond of saying things that seemed strange as a kid but later made me laugh, such as “if you can see the moon and stars, it won’t rain.” Well, if you can see the moon and stars, that means there are no clouds! She would go stand in the front yard and stare at the clouds for a minute or two, and then come inside and announce whether we should take umbrellas or hats for a sunny day. It was many years before I realized what she was doing; grandma was watching the movements of clouds. Clouds that become bigger as they move toward you (of course) indicate it likely will rain later.
4. No more sticky salt
It wasn’t until I moved to a more humid climate that I realized why my grandmother always filled her salt shakers with a mixture of uncooked rice and salt. The uncooked rice absorbed the moisture in the air, allowing the salt to stay drier and move more freely. I discovered this while Googling how to stop the salt from clumping! My grandmother knew this secret years before Google did!
5. Loose screws
No, I’m not talking about your in-laws; I mean those nail holes or screws with holes that have become enlarged over time. Occasionally, you can simply use a larger screw or nail, but with some items, such as a wooden kitchen cabinet door with a handle that will only take a certain size nail, you need a better hack than super glue! This is a true grandma hack that everyone can appreciate. Simply take a wooden toothpick and insert it into the hole. Break it off and then re-use your nail or screw. If it’s a really big hole, try two toothpicks. If grandma didn’t show you this one, perhaps grandpa did.
If you were lucky enough to come from a family who believed in handing down hacks like these the way some families handed down clothes, consider yourself fortunate!
What are your favorite grandma or grandpa hacks? Share your tips in the section below: