Readers offer their best tips for storing loose batteries, organising unused electronics, and disinfecting sponges in the dishwasher.
About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in — the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at lifehacker.com.au
Test Loose Batteries' Charge for Future Use
David shares an easy way to organise all those loose batteries in your house:
Here is a tip for all those batteries that you have lying around, but don't know if they have any charge left. Test the cells with a cheap multimeter. Any cells that read less than 1.2V discard for recycling. Cells that read between 1.2V and 1.4V stick to a card, using a small piece of double-sided tape, label the card "PART CHARGE." The cells can be used in low power devices like clocks etc. Cells that read above 1.4V stick to a card labelled "FULL CHARGE." These cells can be used as normal. Now put the tested cells where you keep your battery stock. This should mean that you have to buy less cells.
Another thing you can do to lengthen your time between buying batteries is take batteries out of high-power devices and finish off their charge in low-power devices — sometimes, batteries won't have enough charge to power a portable DVD player, but they'll power a small clock for a little while yet.
Keep Cables and Electronics in Bags Together to Avoid Confusion
etaylor3971 sends in a simple tip to keep your electronics organised:
I organize my electronics that I no longer am using but may need in the future by putting the device, any cables and a/c adaptor in a large freezer bag, then label it with a Sharpie with the contents (freezer bags already have a nice white label with which to mark). I throw these in a big storage bin. This way none of the cables or a/c adapters get tangled up with each other and I have everything neatly packaged and labelled to quickly find and use again in the future.
If you have a lot of electronics that can share cables (for example, PS2 and Xbox share the same power cord), you could store the cords separately and label them with all the electronics that work, then put those bags in the same bin. That way, if you lose one, you still have another usable cord labelled for both.
Disinfect Kitchen Sponges in the Dishwasher
Irksome keeps her sponges squeaky clean with minimal effort:
If you have a dishwasher, simply tuck your sponge into the silverware caddy before you do the dishes. This will not only disinfect it, but wash out the goo that bacteria feed and breed in. Bonus: Unlike microwaving a sponge to kill the germs, this method won't funk up the kitchen with steaming hot dirty sponge odor.
Keep Loose Items with Keys When Dining Out
Jason offers more advice on remembering your important items when not at home:
Something that I haven't seen posted, but has saved me countless dollars...Whenever I dine out, I place my keys on the table and my sunglasses right next to my keys (only works if you're driving - otherwise, you might have just forgotten your keys AND sunglasses). I've not forgotten my sunglasses once at a restaurant since I started doing that (after losing countless pairs prior to that). Also handy for cell phones, pens, or other items that won't fit nicely in your pockets.